I heard plenty of stories from the last time Mall Grab came to Edinburgh. It was the Scottish debut for a fast-rising DJ who combined the whimsical sensibilities of disco, hip-hop, and a Simpsonsian sense of irony with the introspective seriousness of lo-fi tech house. People laughed, people cried. Some jotted down every single track ID, then went home to download their way into a paradigm shifting Youtube Hole of comforting tape hiss and buoyant bass lines. Some didn’t remember a single thing. One clubgoer, transfixed by the light and sound, suddenly noticed a flying saucer land at his feet: after playing a track off his latest EP, Mall Grab chucked the marbled vinyl frisbee-style, into the crowd, a small gift to the grateful audience.
Needless to say, Mall Grab’s reputation precedes him on his return to the Mash House. The club was overflowing with positivity; anticipation was high. Before midnight, small vesicles of people milled about the bar as Kendrick Lamar rattled loose glassware. Soon James Wright of Overground took to the decks, and the room quickly swelled to capacity. It was hard to move, but there was plenty of space to dance. Every new track was received with whoops and hollers. By the time Mall Grab took the stage, a thick haze of humid human heat and dry ice had reduced visibility to the sweaty, writhing shirt of the person in front of you. The man himself wasn’t even visible from the decks, but you could hear his arrival. Mall Grab specializes in obscure disco and hip hop samples, and his set contrasted nicely with the intense jams provided beforehand. Keen to blur the lines between producer and selector, plenty of Mall Grab’s own remixes were deployed, to the delight of the crowd. His choice of sound is decidedly unique – not many DJs display as much versatility in their remixes, or zeal for cheesy hits by 50 Cent and TLC. Additionally, not many DJs are as experimental as Mall Grab, willing to warp their tracks and flip the mix on a jagged edge in order to create a new sort of synergy on the dance floor. Like last time, the experimenting paid off.