Majid Jordan – The Space Between

A refinement of individuality; the culmination of lustful R&B and dance-fuelled scene-setters – Majid Jordan’s sophomoric album, The Space Between. An atmospheric record that encapsulates what Majid Jordan truly is.

Since their introduction into the mainstream psyche on Drake’s 2013 Just Hold on, We’re Going Home, the Toronto duo has assumed an ever-evolving monopoly of production. In 2014, we were pleasured with their five-piece EP, A Place Like This – a sullen delve into modern R&B, followed by their self-titled, debut album in 2016. A permutation of paining love and vivid beats, the debut piece paved a path into their own niche in the already over-saturated R&B market. Fast-forward twenty months, on the second LP, the balance is executed with great precision – a piece of art that takes the listener on a sunset journey, fit for any time.

In a recent interview, Ullman stated his intention for this album; “This whole thing [album] is seamless. I did all the transitions. It flows, you’re not supposed to know when track 3 ends and when track 4 finishes,”. The unbroken nature of the album underpins what Majid Jordan’s instinctive talent and outlook encompass – passion for the music and what it does for both them and their listeners. The addictive nature of the pop-R&B beats and sinuous melodies allow you to drift off into the depths of their work, this isn’t an album to be defined by its singles, but for the final product. Jordan capitalises on the balance of retro-modern in Not Ashamed, commencing the song with Daft Punk-esque warped and twisted vocals, later falling amongst a layering of snare pads and soul-shaking bass.

Jordan Ullman’s adaption of retro 80s and 90s beats in a contemporary form with a dream state core, transition eloquently from track to track. His ability to push the boundaries on what modern R&B constitutes, flows seamlessly through The Space Between, only elevated by Majid Al Maskati’s vocals. Majid relishes in the atmospheres Jordan sets, his soft-spoken melodies whisper through the mic in Gave Your Love Away, a single you wouldn’t be surprised to hear on the soundtrack to Nicholas Winding Refn’s, Drive. Yet, the layered, piercing highs of his falsetto on Asleep, united with the vivacious beat make for a standout favourite.

Majid and Jordan have managed to distance The Space Between and their debut just enough to keep a firm hold of what is theirs, but also enough to drift away from the, occasionally, melancholic aesthetics. Their latest work sets a mood, a time and a place – it does not wash over you or file itself into the conventional.

Both features on the record come courtesy of OVO label partners; dvsn and PARTYNEXTDOOR. Majid’s smooth melodies subtly define himself from others, although not boasting the same roar as Daniel Daley (dvsn vocalist), he adjusts as he blissfully assists Daley in their collaboration, My Imagination. Commercially viable, yet generally lacklustre – One I Want filters through to the ‘one that’s needed but not wanted’ category. It completes the spectrum of these modern pop R&B features, the latter of which unfortunately being the weaker of the two offerings. It does, however, expand Majid Jordan’s outreach to the deserved commercial success.

The Space Between, Majid Jordan’s title track, epitomises their motives behind this work. “I can feel the mood shift, so why don’t we take the leap?” Majid croons over a jittery clap and heavy bass sequence. The Space Between is a metaphorical nod to the mainstream, taunting it with what they can achieve in their own terms. It is difficult to judge whether Majid Jordan will continue to be overlooked by the masses, but with this record, they are certainly making a statement.

An imperative partnership that grounds them on the same level, neither receiving greater or fewer plaudits, something that was often overlooked in their past. A collective of expressions, settings and moods – The Space Between is an atmospheric backing track to life.

4/5 Bytes

James Donaldson

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