Local hip hop artist Alfa’s latest, Harmattan is a solid, bob-your-head slice of funk, totally free of DJ work and samples we’ve come to expect from decades of hip hop. The sound is lush and layered, orchestrated beautifully by producer Michael P Falk (Hearing Trees).

Alfa’s vocal and lyrical talents are strong, lending a fresh, unique voice to what could be described as hip hop lite. Alfa’s band is stellar, which features producer Falk, New York-based drummer Curtis Nowosad and bassist Julian Bradford. The album’s replay value is immediate. You’ll quickly find yourself humming “Faux-Real” as you feed your cat. “Eyes On Fire” is soulful and endearingly catchy. The greatness of “Skinny Liz” doubles when that saxophone hits. It’s not a perfect album, but it’s enormously spinnable.

Published in Volume 69, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 14, 2015)

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