Alfa Mist
Variables


4.0
excellent

Review

by Miloslaw Archibald Rugallini STAFF
May 2nd, 2023 | 65 replies


Release Date: 04/21/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Steezy-listening newjazz

Of the many notable names clogging up the nu nu jazz scene currently percolating in ye olde seat of empire, Alfa Mist lays claim to the steeziest sobriquet of the bunch. This is his main appeal, and anybody who tells you otherwise is foolish. Of course it helps that the flesh that gives this pseudonym life was a beatmaking wunderkind who, upon deciding he wanted to play some jazz piano samples for real, began a steady transformation from pupil of the esteemed Youtube School of Music to composer for the London Contemporary Orchestra, but it was mostly the name that carried him through. With this affirmed by the snappiest moniker on sputnik (suck it), we can move on to the fact that this rather talented musician has released a new album named Variables.

The contents of Variables are, uh, multifarious. It contains:
  • one bebop-adjacent opener featuring a slippery leading melody laid down by vivacious horns followed by a mandatory onslaught of agile soloing
  • two tracks where Mister Mist channels his inner beatmaker of yesteryear to provide pithy and smoov backings for his own concise multisyllabic bars, accentuating such grim truth-seekers as “Three options: music, sport, or crime
  • three elegant nu-fusion odysseys bristling with suave musicality
  • three chunes with actual vocalists at the helm
  • a couple of ephemeral stocking fillers in rather dire need of engorgement (whoops!)
If this all signposts incongruity to your sensitive sensibilities, worry ye not — Variables makes for delightful company, and my weeklong dalliance with its contours have filled my hollow heart with love.

You'll hear it as 2023's most tasteful guitar solo unfolds across the delicate title track, as gentle distortion pushes extended chord shapes into the foreground with remarkable restraint. You'll hear it in the mysterious outros that bend themselves into question marks at the end of winding harmonic journeys. You'll hear it in the customarily ebullient drum performances that pepper the ceaseless driving energy of the longer tracks with deft and dextrous flutters. You'll hear it in the pivoting chord progression of “Cycles”, as it feints its rhythms with enough panache to make Avishai Cohen start slapping the body of the nearest double bass to hand - even if the track is cut drastically short. Mostly, you'll hear it in the brilliant closer, “BC”, an uptempo blitz of serenity in seven, bringing closure with bombastic charisma, and breeding contempt from many a brooding composer who would sacrifice their reproductive capabilities just to birth one chune this bloody choice.

It's about now that I'd expect an unwashed jumble of tobacco-smoking denigrators of easy-listening music to pipe up, slurring out sermons about the vapidity that emanates from those who inhale their nicotine all-too-cleanly via doucheflute, and perhaps suggesting that certain branches of the new London jazz scene are overly indebted to the algorithmically-assisted lo-fi leg-up that the likes of Antiphon so blessedly received. My first rebuttal to these scarecrows is that your opposition here are either extremely studious or vicious procrastinators, so I would choose my next words very carefully. My second rebuttal is that Variables is not only much more ambitious than its predecessor (sorry Bring Backs), but also the most forward-thinking album Alfa Mist has put to wax thus far, and an experience far more suited to ruminative cigarettes by candlelight than vape-assisted marathon study sessions.



Recent reviews by this author
gyrofield A Faint Glow of BraveryYussef Dayes Black Classical Music
Swans The BeggarBilly Woods and Kenny Segal Maps
JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown Scaring the HoesGorillaz Cracker Island
user ratings (39)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2023


3048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is a live document and may undergo some changes. this entire review is a front for me to be able to post this video again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwVtIPeYIeQ

Purpl3Spartan
May 2nd 2023


8697 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

noice review friendo

PotsyTater
May 2nd 2023


10100 Comments


Nice bro forgot to peep this on release date but hopefully it will cleanse the disappointing ware and jfdr albums from my palate

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2023


3048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cheers purp, nice and correct rating!

damn pots, i'm looking forward to hearing that ware, will have to temper expectations. hopefully this does it for you

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2023


5508 Comments


damn i love that album art & this review, will give this a listen!

parksungjoon
May 2nd 2023


47235 Comments


is it really nuge azz

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2023


3048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

churr jesp get in there

uhm park it depends on whose definitions you're running on (and which tracks you peep)

rabidfish
May 2nd 2023


8724 Comments


Very cool. Another lovely album from the London jazz scene.

BitterJalapenoJr
Contributing Reviewer
May 2nd 2023


1044 Comments


sounds sweet - checking shortly. Top write up too.

ChaoticVortex
May 2nd 2023


1601 Comments


Antiphon was a regular spin at my previous job a few years ago, so I might as well check this one out.

PotsyTater
May 2nd 2023


10100 Comments


The groove on fourth feb is DISGOSTANG

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2023


3048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

tyty ye spicy wee pepper

Antiphon still a pretty regular spin, great album

ohhh ye pots, i love those little runs on the keys and the vocals too, super moody track

Manatea
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2023


1956 Comments


This sounds right up my alley gonna check it out. Most excellent review good sir.

pizzamachine
May 3rd 2023


27350 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice album. The Gist is a highlight for me.

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2023


5975 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Probably my second-favorite Alfa Mist after Antiphon, but gonna have to cycle back through the discography.

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2023


3048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers manatea, let us know what you think!

The Gist is indeed good (the longer tracks are the best, but I'm glad we don't have a full album of them)

This really grew on me sunny, but antiphon is a different vibe for sure

BitterJalapenoJr
Contributing Reviewer
May 3rd 2023


1044 Comments


Looking like a 4 at this point. Rap is one of the few facets of music I really struggle with but for some reason, I enjoy the sections featuring it here and overall, it's passing with flying colours.

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2023


3048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Astonishing news brethren

(Hip-hop has a very wide scope and is amazing and you should dig into this list: https://www.sputnikmusic.com/list.php?memberid=1064844&listid=202559 )

Manatea
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2023


1956 Comments


Yeah this slaps mega hard. Enjoying the heck out of this. Is it just me or are there definite Corea vibes on that opener?

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2023


3048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've only heard My Spanish Heart and it doesn't sound like that to me but please point me at another album of his because I want more but he has as many albums as I have regrets (big drunk sentence sorry)



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2023 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy