Album of the Week: Alfa Mist - Variables | 2023 Week 16

Album of the Week: Alfa Mist - Variables | 2023 Week 16

Hip hop beats meet live jazz on British musician, producer, songwriter and MC’s stunning fifth album + new records from Enter Shikari, Everything But The Girl, Ital Tek, The Mars Volta and more

For the last decade (give or take), London’s Alfa Mist has been part of the city and county’s thriving, boundary-pushing “nu jazz” scene alongside Yussef Dayes, Kamaal Williams, Nubya Garcia, Ezra Collective and many more, who fuse elements from soul, funk and hip hop with some of the best contemporary jazz playing you’ll hear.

Mist falls very much into the last of those three genre-fusing categories - while funk and soul are undoubtedly part of his musical DNA, the intersection of jazz and hip hop is where his music lives. This is by no means a new intersection, with hip hop beats sampling jazz records since the dawn of time, but what separates Mist is a few things - obviously the virtuosic, live playing adds dynamics and creative choices outside the realms of sampling, while his compositions show a true love and knowledge of all of these genres and styles.

Across 10 tracks, Mist alternates between instrumentals and songs with vocals from both himself spitting bars and singing as well as guests Kaya Thomas-Dyke on Aged Eyes and Bongeziew Mabandla on Apho. Compositionally, the music ranges from contemporary avant garde jazz to broken beat and lush, live boom bap style beats, with the results always greater than the sum of their parts.

"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?"

With the answers resulting in an album like this, we’re very glad he asked that question indeed.

Buy Alfa Mist - Variables (Vinyl)

All products featured on Pilerats are independently selected by our editors, however as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

The best of the rest of this week's records:

Enter Shikari – A Kiss For The Whole World [ADA] ENG

Hardcore / Alternative

Buy Enter Shikari – A Kiss For The Whole World (Vinyl)

Esther Rose - Safe to Run [New West Records] USA


Buy Esther Rose - Safe to Run (Vinyl)

Everything But The Girl - Fuse [Virgin] ENG


Buy Everything But The Girl - Fuse (Vinyl)

Floodlights - Painting of My Time [Floodlights] AUS

Rock / Alternative

Buy Floodlights - Painting of My Time (Vinyl)

Ital Tek - Timeproof [Planet Mu] ENG


Lael Neale - Star Eaters Delight [Sub Pop] USA

Alternative / Pop

Buy Lael Neale - Star Eaters Delight (Vinyl)

superviolet - Infinite Spring [Lame-O Records] USA


The Mars Volta - Qué Dios Te Maldiga Mí Corazón [Clouds Hill Clouds Hill] USA

Alternative / Acoustic

Buy The Mars Volta - Qué Dios Te Maldiga Mí Corazón (Vinyl)

Greatness, Goldlink & Good Lords: Inside Billy Davis' Headspace

When he's not working with some of rap's biggest names, Billy Davis is positioning himself as one of Melbourne's essentials.

4 years ago

Disrupted Festival of Ideas 2022

Check out some of the highlights you can expect at the State Library of Western Australia’s 8th annual festival that seeks to open minds

12 months ago

Methyl Ethel are haunted: “That is what excites me - really messing with things and making something that could just fall apart”

Jake Webb talks fourth studio album Are You Haunted?, collaborations, making “spooky” music, upcoming tour and his current “relationship with time”

1 year ago

FINNEAS, Billie Eilish’s left-hand man, steps into the spotlight

Recently in the country with his chart-dominating sister, we talk to Finneas about being thrown into fame, songwriting and industry pressures.

4 years ago