Within a couple tasty releases for Vancouver-based imprints Collect-Call and 1080p, Soundcloud-era child Mall Grab has steadily grown into a surefire purveyor of leg-stretching, dusty house material. Capable of radical rhythmic shifts and bends throughout the same side of an EP, the Australian producer alternates no-nonsense floor pragmatism and deliberately lazed-out structures. Slowly but surely, his sound seems to find its own cruising speed, in and out of the very en-vogue lo-fi family.
Revealing a will to diversify, his new twelve for emerging Bristolian label Shall Not Fade pays a nice tribute to the UK scene’s strike-force with its slapping title track. ‘Alone‘ sounds like the static-filled equivalent of a David Kennedy instrumental, giving prominence to an addictive bassy brunt of percussions and sharpened hats slivers. Still, the rest of the EP ploughs the same furrow Mall Grab’s been working in recent times with further skills, deploying his ever-inspired touch for vocal samples and mellow themes with conviction.
If a track particularly stands out in here though, it’s ‘Happiness‘. The first pad notes may not be innovative and its overall pattern everything but groundbreaking, when the vocals come in… it’s a vibe deluge. Rolling up around these straight bouncy motifs and dust-drowned hat rides, the pads suddenly gain a physical impact that opens the whole thing to a new dimension. That’s also Mall Grab’s main quality – the sincerity felt behind each track is echoing in its danceability: square-shooting and aimed at waking up house music’s elementary ‘let-go’ nature.
Closer to Jack J’s recent solo marvels, ‘Orange County‘ makes for another nice example of MG’s wide-sourced confluence of sound: a mix of pop-inflected chorus and mind-intrusive piano melody over a forward-moving groove, all interwoven in velveteen delicacy and lighting up the way to the closest dancefloor in the smoothest disco manner. Basement jam ‘Real (Dawn)‘ closes the EP on a more discreet and murkier note with a solid bass lead and hypnotic speech sliced in bits as its main punctuation element. Mall Grab hammers it home with freshness and style.
Alone is out now via Shall Not Fade, order a vinyl copy from Juno.
2. Orange County
4. Real (Dawn Mix)