- When his Palms Trax alias launched the Lobster Theremin label in 2013, Jay Donaldson was still working out the sound of his new project. It was clear from the start, however, that the foundation would be bassline-fueled house fashioned with hardware (or samples of hardware). From there, Donaldson dug deeper into a vintage Chicago aesthetic, looping in traces of electro and acid to great effect. High Point On Low Ground, his second 12-inch for Dekmantel, is another step forward, even as it finds the Berlin-based producer making the most of a luxurious comfort zone.
You get three shades of Palms Trax's sumptuous house music here: bubbly funk ("High Point On Low Ground"), driving Italo ("Cloud City") and hot-footed Balearic ("Paws"). They might bring to mind Call Super's latest records for Houndstooth and Nous—Donaldson equally does damage with Larry Heard-style basslines, glowing pad melodies and rich atmospheres. But High Point On Low Ground is more tuneful, and each track goes down its own path. The piano-house motif that jumps onto the "I Feel Love" bass sequence in "Cloud City" is a complete surprise, and the title track's wide array of synths is only rivaled by the number toplines Donaldson writes with them. That's not to slight the lone B-side, though; "Paws" is the secret star of this record, a full realization of the warm and brilliantly classic sound Donaldson has spent three years making his own.
A1 High Point On Low Ground
A2 Cloud City