Manchester UK’s Space Afrika make music of what they term “overlapping moments” – oblique mosaics of dialogue, rhythm, texture, and shadow, half-heard through a bus window on a rainy night.
Their releases Above The Concrete/Below The Concrete (2014) and Somewhere Decent To Live (2018) were sparse, spacious yet intimate electronic abstractions, partly inspired by their observations of industrial landscapes and experiences of life in the North of England.
In 2020, Space Afrika released their most emotionally charged project to date, hybtwibt? (have you been through what i’ve been through?). First recorded for broadcast on NTS Radio before being edited down to a half-hour collage and released a few days later in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. As Black Lives Matter protests were gathering momentum across the U.S. and UK, the Manchester duo’s self-released mixtape captures the unrest with intercutting fragments of their own unreleased work. Described as a “dreamlike tapestry”, and hailed by Pitchfork and Bandcamp as one of the best ambient albums of 2020, sales of the mixtape continue to raise funds for Black Minds Matter UK and the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust in support of the fight for racial equality.
The duo went on to release in the spring of 2021, Untitled (To Describe You), a collaboration with photographer, filmmaker and poet Tibyan Mahawah Sanoh, generating a living, breathing study of the duo’s Northern working-class Black British reality.
In January 2021, they announced their signing to Dais Records. Honest Labour, the duo’s first full-length since 2020’s landmark « hybtwibt? » mixtape (have you been through what I’ve been through?) expands the project’s palette with classical strings, shimmering guitar, and visionary vocal cameos, leaning further into their enigmatic fusion of ambient unrest and cosmic downtempo. It’s a sound both fogged and fragmented, at the axis of songcraft and sound design, born from and for the yearning solitudes of life under lockdown.