'I’ve been focused on who I am in my music, but now I’m exploring where I am,' Alfa
Mist says. 'I’m asking: how did I get here?'
This is the journeying question that underpins Alfa’s fifth album, Variables. Travers-
ing luscious, big band swing, head-nodding boom-bap rhythms and yearning vocal
melodies, the record is expansive, soulful and moving, in both body and spirit. On
Variables, his second release for ANTI-, Alfa achieves his most fully-realised, expres-
sive musical work to date, coupling his keen ear for looping, memorably emotive
piano melodies with intuitive grooves and a free-flowing jazz improvisation.
Since the release of his first full-length project Nocturne in 2015, Alfa has estab-
lished himself as one of the UK’s most focused, in-demand and distinct musical
voices. He has worked with the likes of Jordan Rakei and Tom Misch. Artists look to
him for his unique blend of intimate bedroom production and expansive jazz group
orchestration, since Alfa is yet to be boxed into a specific genre. His music spans
everything from hip-hop beat-making to producing for artists such as rapper Loyle
Carner, composing neo-classical works for the London Contemporary Orchestra,
and reworking tracks from composer Ólafur Arnalds and pioneering jazz label Blue
Note. The return to live shows has been a welcome one for Alfa and his fans, re-
sulting in an instantly sold-out run of debut US shows in 2022, as well as a headline
gig at London’s Barbican in 2021, and an expanded run of US shows slated for 2023.
It is a balance between feeling and perfectionism that ultimately gives Alfa’s music
its depth and capacity for repeated listening. It is also an ethos that has enabled his
remarkable work-ethic to date. 'I’ve never been a ‘one album every four years’ artist
– I want to put out new projects every year,' he says. 'Music is an extension of my
life; it is the practice of creating.'