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Africa Hitech – 93 Million Miles review

There has, naturally, been a certain amount of hype surrounding Africa Hitech – and with good reason. For starters, it seems a partnership capable of great things. Individually, Australian dwelling Englishmen Mark Pritchard and Steve Spacek have achieved much in electronic music; the former as Harmonic 313, and as part of such seminal acts as Global Communications, and the latter as the creative force behind tech-soul legends Spacek. They’ve got the skills, the ideas and the track records to collaboratively produce something very special indeed.

Then there’s the Africa Hitech concept itself. Based primarily on offering a hard-edged, futurist take on what is sometimes glibly called bass music, it offers almost endless possibilities for two of electronic music’s most inventive producers. Thankfully, 93 Million Miles is largely worthy of the hype. It feels like an “event” album – one of those occasional punctuation marks in the underground music timeline that captures the zeitgeist perfectly. As such, it should be essential listening not just for oversized cap wearing bassheads, but anyone with a passing interest in the continued development of electronic music.

With its warped fusion of percussive sounds and styles (digital dancehall, footwork, house, dubstep, techno, grime, jazz etc), rough analogue electronics and, most importantly, seriously heavyweight basslines, it’s simultaneously outrageously far-sighted and comfortingly retrospective. Along the way, there are anthemic moments (the already huge “Out In The Streets”, the Chicago Juke-inspired “Foot Step”), forays into wonky tech-soul (“Our Luv”, “Spirit”,  “Don’t Fight It”), sweet space-jazz jams (“Cyclic Sun”) and bassbin-busting speaker assaults (“Gangslap”) – all wrapped up in Pritchard and Spacek’s immaculate space-age production. For a fleeting moment, the future has arrived. Plug yourself in and enjoy the ride.

Matt Anniss