Africa Hitech Africa HitechHitecherous
WARP (WAP298, 2x12” + digital)
“Hitecherous” isn’t the album that Africa HiTech promised after premiering the 12” “Blen” (although it will eventually be released in 2011, according to Warp), and it’s not a completely testimonial piece of work, although it does present credentials with clout and have underpinnings of a fusion sound made up of American, British and tropical influences that don’t leave you wondering. It’s somewhere between post-dubstep and neo-soul, as expected, but it’s definitely on the right path. Steve Spacek offers his whispered vocals, as he’s done in the past, with his sweet modulation and adult-like presence, and Mark Pritchard manages to create interesting shifts between genres and tones. Pressed on double vinyl with a total of six original tracks (the record is complete with an instrumental version of “One Two”; the download version with the track “Too Late”, the most soul oriented of the lot, and a handful of bonus tracks and instrumental versions), “Hitecherous” shows us, above all, that these ideas from different sources continue to flow from Pritchard, and that he has his hands firmly on the wheel to drive down the right path.
For example, “How Does It Make U Feel” is a surprising start, with its deep broken house, afro vibe and acid base line which bring us back to the Chicago sound infested with reggae influence (Mr. Fingers + King Tubby in the 21st century). Africa HiTech is rewriting the rules of the game, track by track and from side to side of the vinyl, shifting the standard. “Said Speed” is a slow, textbook dubstep, up until the Detroit-sounding pads surface; “Lash Out” is a poisonous bite of wobblestep; “Boingy” is a variation on the Angolan kuduro sound; and “One Two” finds the balance between reggae and hip-hop that Roots Manuva has been in search of for years . And all of this without mussing his hair, full of a confidence that lets you know that there are still many ideas yet to be explored. This is one of the most awaited albums of 2011, simmering there in secret. Javier Blánquez
Africa Hitech - Lash Out