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93 Million Miles

Africa Hitech

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Album Review

Mark Pritchard (Global Communication, Harmonic 33) and Steve Smith (aka Steve Spacek, Blackpocket) first collaborated on a 12” for Sonar Kollektiv that, with its stutter-shuffle breakbeat and deep bass probes, fused broken beat and dubstep. After taking the name Africa Hitech and linking with Warp, their releases — the Blen 12” and the Hitecherous double pack — became trickier to pin down while making it known that the producers were also up on ragga, dancehall, grime, U.K garage, funky, and even Chicago juke. Unsurprisingly, Smith and Pritchard’s voracious listening habits foster a very physical dance music fusion, one that batters, smacks, and rattles with a significant amount of tension. Smith is known for his whispery vocals, but he taps into that only for “Spirit,” a track that’s little more than his ghostly voice and rolling hand percussion. While he is heard in different, misshapen forms on a couple other tracks, sampled voices are more prominent. A line from Ini Kamoze's “World a Reggae” is treated into an urgent, echoed declaration for one of the album’s several frantic bashers. On “Light the Way,” John Gilmore’s vocal from Sun Ra's “When There Is No Sun” is hypnotically layered over an emotive and ultimately uplifting production. For all its startling whip-crack percussion, zaps, and restless rhythms, the album’s most effective cut just might be “Our Luv,” a nine-minute piece of swishing electro that recalls Computer World-era Kraftwerk and Strafe’s “Set It Off,” with sweet nothings from the android Midnight Marauders tour guide, and a hail of Technicolor pellets.

Biography

Formed: Australia

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '10s

In 2007, during their stint as lecturers at the Red Bull Music Academy (a series of workshops offered by the soft drink company, coupling seminars on dance music with club events), Australia natives and music industry veterans Steve Spacek (Spacek, Black Pocket) and Mark Pritchard (Global Communication, Troubleman, Harmonic 33) teamed up to form a new ragga-influenced electronic project called Africa Hitech. Their debut EP, Hitecherous,...
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93 Million Miles, Africa Hitech
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