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21.05.2016 | Words by: Alex Rigby.

In light of a multitude of DJing successes of late, and in anticipation of his debut appearance behind the decks at De School, don’t forget to flip over and consider the other side of the flourishing Palms Trax project. In case you didn’t know, as well as his first-rate spinning of other people’s tunes, the past few years have seen Jay Donaldson grow masterful at making his own.

When you begin to lay some of these creations out, it is pretty astonishing to see just how commanding the young UK producer’s discography is looking. From day one he’s displayed a flair and consistency for a craft that few can take hold of and find a truly unique perspective. Now, 3 years later, he finds himself at the top of the heap. His sure-footed stance to get there: constructions of breezy, retro-sounding house that are likably dusty and at the same time reassuringly fresh. 

In 2013 the Equation debut EP from Palms kicked off London’s Lobster Theremin label. It is a record most remembered for its deep, synthy title-track that bounced him into the spotlight. However, the B-side Houses in Motion is an overlooked, tropical gem. It’s a piece of music that would sound best with sand beneath your toes on a beach somewhere, as it is soft, chime-laden, and wonderfully breezy (yes, the word ‘breezy’ pops up a lot when describing Palms Trax for some reason). 

The second EP from Palms - once again on Lobster Theremin - is equally as good. If the Houses in Motion track was Jay Donaldson walking on tropical sands, Forever is him going to chill beneath a big-ass parasol. It makes for a much shadier listen but it’s still unmistakably our guy. Pleasant acid sounds flutter over the top of the tune whilst the retro-house feel again manifests as the now trademark Palms Trax enigma: fresh-sounding nostalgia. 

Last year saw the first Palms Trax release on Dekmantel. In Gold is a lush debut. Melodic and hazy, the driving synths on the title-track transport you on a kind of psychedelic road trip along a sunset coast. It also becomes extremely danceable when it begins to pop and bang. 

From the same debut Dekmantel EP, Sumo Acid Crew is warm, spacious and hits very hard when it wants to. Again, the Palms Trax knack for making something sound both old and new is found here, as well as the uncanny ability to craft a piece of electronic music that is satisfyingly synthetic without sounding overproduced and soulless. 

This year’s Dekmantel EP from Palms sees another endlessly playable and expansive listen. It also houses the first real bit of melancholy in a track titled Paws. There’s something a little sad and yearning about this one. For me it’s his most sophisticated piece of work to date, and tell-tale of a guy whose sound is most definitely beginning to mature.

Whether it’s in the studio or at the decks, Palms Trax looks set to keep on delivering some very special goods. He shouldn’t be missed.

Palms Trax will accompany Tom Trago and Carlos Valdes at De School on Saturday 21st of May.
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