First teaching himself to produce beats as a schoolkid in East Ham, London, Alfa then went on to discover jazz through the sampling of hip-hop of producers like Hi-tek, Madlib and J Dilla. Delving deeper, he taught himself the piano by ear as a means to dissect these formative records’ harmonic intricacies, gradually forming his own production style of head-nodding rhythms combined with the immediacy of jazz improvisation, all tied together with a pervasive sense of melody.
His latest endeavour, 2021’s Bring Backs, sees Alfa Mist taking on new challenges. The record marks his first release for the label ANTI and is also the most detailed exploration of his upbringing in musical form. The album’s nine tracks of groove-based intricacies, lyrical solipsism and meandering fragmentations are tied together by a remarkable poem written by Hilary Thomas expressing the sensuous realities of building community in a new country.
“I live in this perpetual ‘bring back’ state where I can never really be sure that I’m doing as well as I am,” he says. “When you grow up where I did, you live in a sense of instability – you can be on doing ok for a while but that can change, you know that's always a possibility.”
It might be a state of mind that could change, but until it does it only serves to motivate Alfa’s constantly searching musical mind, one that will no doubt continue to surprise and astonish.