Jump to content

Africa Hitech - Go Wild


Recommended Posts



Album Review




Africa Hitech

93 Million Miles


[Warp; 2011]



Find it at: Insound Vinyl | eMusic | Amazon MP3 & CD



The title of Africa Hitech's debut album, 93 Million Miles, refers to the distance between the Earth and the Sun, but it could just as well allude to the stylistic lengths spanned by the record itself, which dips its toes in everything from grime and juke to ambient field recordings and jazz. There's a danger when taking on a wealth of different, very clearly defined sounds that the result could sound like casual genre-hopping, or a lack of focus, but instead is extremely well paced and well crafted.

It's no wonder: Africa Hitech are longtime electronic fixtures Mark Pritchard (

, Harmonic 313) and
, two guys with the experience between them to make these sound clashes seem more fresh and edgy than merely reverent and knowing. That could come across as academic or chin-scratching, but thankfully above all there's an energy and vibrancy at the heart of 93 Million Miles that evokes the feeling of two guys having a lot of fun exchanging ideas in the studio.

Some of the most viscerally enjoyable moments come when the duo uses Chicago juke music as its platform. "Out in the Streets" uses a well-worn sample from Ini Kamoze's "World-A-Music", and bends it in and out of shape, chopping up the vocal and matching it to propulsive beats and pitched bass. Both the repetitive treatment of the hypnotic vocal and the 160 BPM beats are right in step with juke, but the sample choice and use of fifths lend it a dancehall feel.

If the album title 93 Million Miles were to be taken as a sort of conceptual journey toward the sun, then "Spirit" ushers in its final descent. The track is bathed in warmth, as gentle vocals and harmonies guide the song above the subtle ebb and flow of the rhythm-- a staple of UK funky music. It's one of the clearest indications of how the duo's technical expertise ensured that its conceptual approach turned out to be a conversation between styles rather than something more ungainly and forced.

The final stretch of the album is also its strongest, taking in late-album highlights "Light the Way" and "Cyclic Sun"-- a pair of spectral tracks indebted to exploratory jazz; each also projects the same inviting warmth felt on "Spirit". "Light the Way" uses forceful, live-sounding drums and pitched bass to wrap around a Sun Ra sample while "Cyclic Sun" jumps off from its title with revolving samples that weave around each other similarly to the way they tended to on


Perhaps most impressive, considering the ground Africa Hitech cover on 93 Million Miles, is how together the record sounds. An album taking in so many far-flung sounds could be forgiven for sounding disjointed-- and although the leaps are sometimes wild, it hangs together beautifully, sounding like a fully realized work with tracks that build on one another rather than rub against each other. It's no small feat to craft something this adventurous and eclectic and still have it turn out to share the cohesion of a DJ mix, but Africa Hitech manage just that-- and despite all the left turns, you want to stick by their side every step of the way.

Hari Ashurst, May 16, 2011



africahitech.jpgAfrica Hitech


93 Million Miles




Separately, bass music knob-twiddlers Mark Pritchard and Steve Spacek take to different styles of production-- Pritchard prefers dense and disorienting beats, while Spacek favors a light, woozy, soul-inflected style. On the pairing's debut LP as Africa Hitech, 93 Million Miles, Pritchard and Spacek come together to create music that sounds removed from what folks might expect from their solo careers. The album title refers to the distance between the Earth and the Sun, but it could just as well allude to the breadth of styles covered by the record itself-- from the aggressiveness of grime and Chicago juke, to ambient field recordings and astral jazz blowouts. There's a lot to take in here, and the album's eclectic nature takes a few listens to click, but as our own Hari Ashurst pointed out, 93 Million Miles rarely sounds overstuffed, hanging together beautifully and sharing "the cohesion of a DJ mix". --Larry Fitzmaurice

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest sirch

^ thanks for that dude... not got round to listening to anything by them yet... been meaning to check them out cos i like the sound of the name.

that track above is tasty!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.