Posted on May 23rd, 2011 (4:34 pm) by Bradley Hartsell

Electronic outfit Africa Hitech uses one simple formula in 93 Million Miles, and repeats it over and over until you’ve sat through fifty-eight minutes worth of an album. Every song is given a robotic electro rhythm--which is not even danceable. Then, the band comes in with two melody lines of bleeps and glitches and all sorts of electronic hijinks. The higher-end melodic bleeps often sound like they were composed in iPhone’s BeatWave app...which is not a compliment. The rhythm is succinct and repetitive and again, not fucking danceable, so the repetition can be endlessly annoying in some songs, while the robotic voices occasionally appearing throughout the album don’t add much in the realm of quality.

“Out in the Streets” uses the same sample as Juelz Santana’s better, more cohesive, “Murda Murda.” The sample does nothing for Africa Hitech and they don’t allow the sample to survive in any real context. In other words, the music doesn’t sell the sample, at all. At this point, I’m shaking my head—fervently. It's hard to believe producers Mark Pritchard and Steve Spacek are behind it. It’s not beyond me to give proper credit, though, to what upgrades this album from terrible to frustrating. “Our Luv” uses the robot narration to its most dissonant capacities, with light wooshes of synth to solidify the disconnect. While other songs here might last five minutes and feel like an eternity, “Our Luv” seems almost short at eight and half minutes. It’s a terrific song, no doubt. “Spirit” follows; it is tribal with light, simple electronics and a couple of monotone, kinda-creepy verses. These two songs in a row point me to where these guys need to be staking their claim—the dissonant, “it’s 2056 and everything is automated and controlled by a single omnipotent microchip” sector of dubstep that I don’t feel has been tapped into properly. “Light the Way” follows “Spirit,” which means somehow, Africa Hitech find their groove inexplicably in the middle of an album. “Light the Way” is kind of weird; the music is the same as the formula described above in the critical first paragraph, but the music meshes well with the sampled voice who joyfully says in a Southern Baptist way, “light the way.” I literally don’t get it--the first half had me convinced this album was the work of haphazard hacks. And then from OUT OF FUCKING NOWHERE, they put together three of the better electronic songs I’ve heard in awhile, with “Our Luv” leading the pack. Then, “Foot Step” gets back to the initial mess, where it sounds too directionless and thin.

“Cyclic Sun” seems to be the bridge between the two worlds of Africa Hitech. On one hand, there’s a nice one-second piano riff that’s on loop for the duration of the song, coupled with a pretty string arrangement that feels like something fresh. On the other hand, it feels like something is missing—as if we’re missing the climax of the story. I’m not a DJ, I don’t know what should have filled the void, but I do know that I listened to it hoping there would be an “ah ha!” moment to cash in on the baroque arrangement, and it never happened.

I wish I could shake Pritchard and Spacek and say, “I want more ‘Our Luv!’ Less cliché dubstep!” Somewhere in this mess of these sounds of wires and scrap metal, Pritchard and Spacek have a fingerprint or two on these sounds. Other times, though, it seems any DJ with decent software could have made these songs. I’ll say this though: I’m a stubborn guy, and five songs in my notes thus far had jotted down things like, “things I’ve heard before,” and “fucking terrible.” “Our Luv” made me soften my blows a little. “Spirit” and “Light the Way” happened and I couldn’t hit backspace fast enough. I don’t know what to make of 93 Million Miles. I would just recommend listening to the three songs of praise and ignoring the rest, because the frustration might consume your soul, and I can’t have that on my conscience again.

Track List:

1. 93 Million Miles
2. Do U Wanna Fight
3. Out in the Streets
4. Future Moves
5. Gangslap
6. Our Luv
7. Spirit
8. Light the Way
9. Foot Step
10. Cyclic Step
11. Don’t Fight It

Africa Hitech: 93 Million Miles
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

52 / 100
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