Discogs is a dangerous place for the unchaperoned record obsessive, no matter what their poison. Its bland, functional front end is nothing but a doorway to a realm of scarcely imagined temptation and once you’re in there is no real escape. Sure, you can avoid it, sometimes for weeks, sometimes for months, but sooner or later the hunger will reawaken inside you and you’d better get your wallet ready, and your prayers, because your on your way to a poorhouse made of wax.
I’ve been good around Discogs, allowing myself only scant purchases over the years. But the pull is always there – that junky feeling, and the whispers…oh Lord, the aching seductive tones….
Like most people, I try to use it as an online archive of what I own and what I would like to own. Discogs is great for that. That and checking prices. I came across this EP, On The North Star by Chicago legend Gemini in my stack at home a few weeks ago. I hadn’t listened to it in years. It’s in not bad condition and I went onto Discogs to stick it in my archive. As I did so I checked the price – £100.
Is it that good? No idea. I used to love it, though. across its four tracks it builds on what would probably now – wrongly – be called Deep House. Blue Night, for example, is pure Detroit Techno pushed and pulled by Chicago nous. Day Dreaming is a glorious, Bass led mind rush of spiralling and effervescent tweets and chirps and Snow Drop a gorgeous, dreamy trip through the latest of late night moments.
X was always my favourite, though. Opening with a simple beat courtesy of some of the finest overdriven and crunching kicks you will ever hear, it builds so subtly over its 9 minute length that it comes at you like a soft padded mugger. It exists at the interchange between House and Funk. The grimy, sampled bass fluctuating in harshness as Gemini works the filters over and over, constantly bringing to boiling point before he brings in another Wonderful element. And when the snares come to life a couple of minutes in the whole thing transforms in a loose limbed jacking monster. Even in its more tender moments it never quite leaves you: a snarling guitar snaps out at you, demanding you keep your eyes and ears focussed.
Gemini -AKA Spencer Kincy – all but disappeared before the high tide of the nineties crashed against the new millennium. But he left one hell of a body of work in the few years he was active. I don’t know why he chose to vanish – I’ve heard rumours and stories – but it remains a shame. He was one of the originators, one of that second generation of Chi-town producers alongside the likes of Cajmere, Paul Johnson and Boo Williams who had such a profound effect on the direction of House. Kincy’s influence is still strong today whether or not that truth is conceded – listen to X and tell me you can’t here a generation of modern House and Techno in its sounds and grooves, tell me you don’t hear this record when you listen to Kyle Hall or Jay Daniels.
Some of his work has been re-released in recent years on a couple of different labels, all of it more reasonably priced than this one is on Discogs. Would I sell it? Nope. Some things are more precious than money no matter what the profiteers of the internet might think. This one is a keeper.