Music preview: Africa Hitech, Rudi Zygadlo @ the Arches, Glasgow

Published by METRO

The people. The parks. The subway. The rain. They’re all cornerstones of life in Glasgow, for unique reasons. I’m going to add electronic music to that list. After all, this place loves its tunes – in a fanatical way. It’s something of a wonder that there isn’t a statue of Richard D. James towering over Buchanan Street, casting a long shadow over a city that truly thrives on its nightlife.

But sticking on anything with a 4/4 rhythm simply won’t do here. Let’s be honest, Glasgow folk want to be where the momentum’s at. They hanker after the new kid on the block, the next big sound, the current buzz, and the Arches has remained equal to this demand with extraordinary success. The decibels of IDM, dub-step, Italo disco, glitch and a dozen more sub-genres of movements past have echoed around its vast, tunnelled interior since 1991, and the venue has become the city’s favourite big club in the process.

Keeping with such traditions in the year of its 20th anniversary, it invites on to the stage an act called Africa Hitech – a name that probably doesn’t ring any bells. Rest assured, however, they’re signed to Warp and their album 93 Million Miles has earned the plaudits of many an underground publication – such being the criteria necessary to attract clubbers thirsty for a musical experience of quality over one determined purely by the size of an artist’s profile.

Africa Hitech is spearheaded by Mark Pritchard and Steve Spacek – whose various projects span everything from breakbeat to soul music – and as suggested on the tin, produces a sound with a distinctly worldly feel.

Heavily influenced by techno and grime, the duo indulge on some intriguing acoustic embellishments and robust basslines here, yet what’s currently pricking up ears on the circuit is their winning cocktail of foot-tapping percussion, hip-shaking grooves and dizzying vocal loops that achieves a fine balance between African and electronic music.

And step forward, Rudi Zygadlo, the main supporting act. Since his move to Berlin last year, Glasgow’s own innovator has been busy taking his own brand of progressive dubstep further into unchartered waters, drawing upon an ever-growing index of musical influences with an endearing originality and a precision that beggars belief. Zygadlo’s brief return to native shores heralds his new EP, which is released on Pictures later this month.

Some of you are nodding your heads, while I can see a few who are scratching them. Fret not, for all you need know is that an evening of electronic music at its current cutting edge will be taking place, and I expect to see to see you there.