Africa Hitech Africa Hitech93 Million Miles
“93 Million Miles”. The distance between earth and the sun according to Nasa. And now the title for one of this year’s freshest and most awaited electronic albums, the long player debut of Mark Pritchard and Steve ‘Spacek’ White, aka Africa Hitech.
The duo, both originally from England but relocated to the sunny shores of Melbourne for the last few years, first started collaborating together on what would eventually become Africa Hitech five years ago. A few songs first emerged following the Australian edition of the Red Bull Music Academy in 2008 but it wasn’t until Pritchard returned to Warp for his Harmonic 313 album in 2009 that the project officially became announced with dubplates circulating throughout the year in sets by the likes of Kode 9 and Benji B. This led to the release of the “Blen’” 12” and its follow up the “Hitecherous EP” in 2010, both of which hinted at the project’s exciting sonic scope – taking in everything from dub to techno, hip hop to bashment – and raised anticipation for the debut album.
The biggest surprise upon first listening to “93 Million Miles” is just how much of an instrumental album it is. With the first two releases showcasing Steve Spacek’s vocal talents, most notably on “Blen’” and “One Two”, I was expecting the album to further showcase the combination of Pritchard’s production and Spacek’s vocals. However it is their combined production skills that take precedence on the album, resulting in an immersive listening experience that gets better with every repeat.
Alternating between a variety of style and genre conventions across its 11 tracks, “93 Million Miles” offers an exciting take on a wide sonic palette: from the juke inspired rhythmic syncopation and sample repetition of “Out In The Street” and “Foot Step” to the pure eyes down, hypnotic vibes of opener “93 Million Miles” and “Light The Way”. Elements of techno, house, grime and dubstep can all be heard at times with the duo managing to never fully swing their productions firmly into one camp, instead taking key elements and flipping them in an original manner. If there is one common element in what is a varied album it’s a constant dancefloor vibe which makes it a perfect fit for clubs yet also a pleasant personal/home experience, thanks in no small part to the quality of the productions.
Fans of Pritchard’s varied output and the project’s previous releases will need little convincing to jump on board with this album. It’s more powerful appeal may well lie in showing what is possible today to people looking for exciting modern dance and electronic music. An electronic tour de force if I ever heard one.
Africa HiTech - Out In The Streets