Developed as a conversationalist piece through instrumentation, Antiphon is the 2017 release from U.K. jazz outlet Alfa Mist. With an arsenal of musicians and producers resting under the moniker, the eight-track record is a push into relaxed, but complicated methods where Alfa Mist controls through a Van Gogh styled painting of rhythm.
Through the instrumental opening track “Keep On,” Antiphon begins to grasp this concept of timelessness where the percussion and bass work in tandem. As they rotate a back and forth following of each other, horns of warmth start to cascade themselves into the frame as one overarching piece. Even with the 88-keys that wrap around the listener on “Keep On” begin to fade in and out of consciousness, the band stays strong as a foundation that works to incorporate a pillar for each sound.
Even as the performance moves into something more upbeat like “Errors” where Alfa Mist instead opts to use these staccato methods of playing, these short stabs are direct and separated as their own style. Less of a melancholy display, the alternative hip-hop undertones are a direct love for an audience who thrives off of producers that build sound around horns, friendly keys, and a percussive set that is not so demanding as it is inviting. With each second on Antiphon, Alfa Mist continues to stand as a floating figure that is almost weightless between instrumental sections. Where “Errors” and “Keep On” can thrive is in its length over a 10-minute slot that directs all attention to the front without ever losing focus.
Most of the tracks flood into each other as similar pieces that can be intertwined with little to no differentiating ways of separation. If the silence between each track was not present, the entire record would act as one single mix. Stemming to a total of 52-minutes, the eight-tracks react as a jazz dream that balances and manages perfectly a set of power on the backfoot.
When Antiphon finally reaches the end, the small amount of dust settles neatly back into place as if it was never moved. Alfa Mist holds a standard even on their second record to a golden and circulative position. Without ever stopping completely, Antiphon is a blessing that slides back to the crate after a world of digging.