Jordon Alexander aka Mall Grab releases surprise album ‘Ohana’
If you kept your eyes on socials over the past couple of days, you might have noticed Mall Grab posting an elusive album across his stories. Titled ‘Ohana’, Jordon Alexander has opened up and delivered one of his longest projects yet, under his real name. Not one to worry about creating a new alias, the Newcastle-born, London-based DJ has released music under Mall Grab, Jordon Alexander and a rumoured popular side project too. He’s one of Australia’s biggest underground dance exports having hosted four Boiler Rooms, headlined the biggest festivals globally and locally, started prestigious imprints Steel City Dance Discs and Looking For Trouble and has now given us an intimate walk through some of his most personal creations.
The Jordon Alexander project is one that often toes the line between ambient, breaks and the lighter side of electronic music, juxtaposing the gargantuan rave focus of the Mall Grab project over the last couple of years. ‘Ohana’ explores this side of his taste in it’s deepest way yet. Opening with the sombre ‘Doze on the Bullet Train’, the lush synths on ‘Feeling This’, ‘Sitting on the Grass (In Mushroom Kingdom)’ tell this narrative in nuanced form. Glossy synth lines melt perfectly with looped drum patters to create a heavenly, sunset tone. ‘A Girl in Casey Casey’ feels like a walk through an Australian rainforest, potentially inspired by the ever bubbling underground nature-fuelled Australian electronic genre. Soft pads and delicate percussion dominate the project, creating an enveloping sense of calmness, a vibe often not explored in depth by Mall Grab.
‘E36’ and ‘Watch The Flowers’ are the two most ambitious tracks on the project. Using his own vocals, Alexander creates guitar-inspired indie pop tracks. They’re mellowed out and lo-fi in nature, laying the perfect bed for this heaving techno DJ to wear his heart on his sleeve emotionally.
The second half also introduces some harder tracks to the project. ‘Take Your Time’ is a breakbeat, wobbly festival-ready hit, that builds into a euphoria of synthesisers, drums and panning vocal sample. ‘Inside and Out’ is probably the closest thing to something that would be on a Mall Grab project. A 4/4 drum line rattles, carrying the track into the rave centred techno worlds we’ve come to know this producer in. Even here though, there is a sense of delicacy and care in the way the track moves, with a clear focus on structure, energy and rhythm.
This is an exciting new lane from an already extremely established artist. Do not go into this thinking it’s a Mall Grab project: it’s not. Jordon Alexander is its own entity and demands its own respect. While the Mall Grab influences lean in and out across the tracklist, there’s a delicate care across these tracks that suggest Alexander doesn’t just want to be known as a hedonistic DJ, but a genuinely compelling complete artist.
Words by Parry Tritsiniotis
Image via Looking for Trouble Bandcamp