The Albums of 2011 – #5 – Africa Hi Tec – 93 Million Miles
The further we get from the mid-1990’s Global Communication and Jedi Knights aliases, the more apparent it seems to be that Mark Pritchard had always been the duo’s Lennon to Tom Middleton’s McCartney. Whilst Middleton has become synonymous with The Big Chill, all things ambient, and the crowd-friendly Crazy Covers compilations, Pritch seems to go darker and darker with heavy basslines and future-looking electronic experiments. Anyone who has had the pleasure of hearing his Elephant Dub in an appropriate venue will testify to the synapse-shattering power of his music.
Criticised by some for being perhaps overly serious, Africa Hi Tec is the ongoing musical partnership between Pritchard and Steve Spacek – the two of them have worked together on tunes for some time, but 93 Million Miles seems to be quite a radical departure for both. Co-opting the 160bpm template of Chicago juke or footwork music and Detroit techno’s sci-fi seriousness, 93 Million Miles is a heads down album that does exactly what it wants without pandering to vogues or trends. Shuddering dubstep-influenced basslines boom away whilst angular stabbing melodies naggingly demand your attention. Album centrepiece Out In The Streets uses THAT old sample and builds a jittering syncopated relentless rhythm around it that sounds like a storming old 90s techno tune you’d forgotten about – not for nothing was the VIP remix so easily translated into a dancefloor smashing jungle track – one that has unquestionably gone on to be one of the biggest tunes of the year. Indeed the emergent juke/jungle sound owes one hell of a debt to that track – timeless status as a bass-head’s anthem await.
93 Million Miles is a consistent, whole listening experience that feels like it is taking you on a journey, not just shoving the next single or banger in your face. It never lets up its pace once over the course of its running time, and without a doubt deserves your attention. Come on, you’ll know this one:
Please come back at the same time tomorrow to see my pick for Album #4 of 2011. Watch your bassbins.
The Clockwork Shorts 2011 retrospective can be browsed for your pleasure right HERE