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Harmonic 313When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence
By Laurent Fintoni
Taking its cue from the sounds of Detroit (313 being Detroit’s dialing code), Mark Pritchard uses the Harmonic 313 moniker to release his own blend of futuristic hip hop, weaving the Motor City’s techno heritage with its hip hop present while splicing in dub elements and science fiction samples. This mix worked a treat for the debut EP in 2008, yet on the album it seems to take a few listens before it all gels and ticks the right boxes in your mind. It could be because the EP, and the single that followed it, already did well what most of the album does (some of the stand-out tracks are collected here on the CD version). At first the album comes across as a bit cold and overkill, though on further listens some very worthy additions to what Pritchard hinted at in the EPs shine through — mainly the vocal collaborations Battlestar, a stomping dancefloor monster featuring Phat Kat and Elzhi, and Falling Away featuring Steve Spacek, a dreamy track that blends Spacek’s warm voice with the colder electronics of the looped melody. For those already fans of the 313 extension, expectations might well dim down the final product, however there’s no doubt that Pritchard is a masterful producer and that this is the kind of open-minded and forward-looking approach to hip hop we need more of.