Initially, things seem very simple: mid-tempo house grooves, dashes of disco dust here or there and the odd feel good future-retro roller. Second time through, though, and a slightly obsessive production finesse reveals itself—musical-as-you-like piano melodies, barely audible synth tweaks and smatterings of hats, claps and hits which act like diacritic markers adding subtle intonation to the main themes of each track. Nothing is out of place.
Sometimes the grooves endlessly re-start and churn up and down, sometimes they sulk in a more emotionally vulnerable corner and sometimes they roll out, edgelessly, into the deep recesses of space, but they always hit the mark and avoid loopy ennui. When vocals make an appearance (variously from Crosstown's Glimpse and 2020 newbie Debucas) they act as jigsaw pieces, rather than hooks, which only serve to further humanise an album already alive with rich, warm blood.
Traces manages to reference a whole library of house history past without kowtowing to any of it (or anything more au moment for that matter) in particular. More than one effort dabbles in that revered quality of timelessness, in fact, and helps to mark out an accomplished production advancement from Baker's more clinical and reductive dance-floor tracks of yore on Cocoon and Playhouse. The tracks here are more mature, more developed and imbued with a sense of loving musicianship which makes the album as a whole more than engaging enough to keep your attention from start to finish.