“IT’S STRANGE,” MARC KINCHEN says. “A lot of people have been asking me about this lately.”
Marc Kinchen of course is MK, and what people have been asking him about is a song you were never meant to hear, called “Strider.”
It’s a track he wrote more than two decades ago. Given that “Strider” was never officially released, he could have been forgiven for thinking that no one would ever ask about – or even listen to – this track again.
“STRIDER” WAS ORIGINALLY A B SIDE TRACK, slated for release on an EP called Get It Right. Based upon the title track alone, Get It Right is justifiably regarded as one of MK’s best records ever.
But sometime between when the acetate and white labels were sent back from mastering and Get It Right was released, MK dropped “Strider” from the EP. In its place he inserted “Divisions” and a couple of extra remixes.
Twenty-four years later, “Strider” is regarded as one of the true “lost” records of the early 1990s, and has become a genuine phenomenon. It’s easy to understand why. People are suckers for the great unfinished novel, or the film that collapsed under the weight of its director’s ambitions. Here we have one of MK’s earliest records, completed but never released. You can’t get more “lost” than that.
It’s one of those records that becomes weirdly mythical, especially because the origins are so obscure. Why did MK drop it from the release? How did it never resurface? Why was it never booted?
Today, one of the rare white label copies of Get It Right containing “Strider” fetches somewhere north of $100. Rarer still are the acetates (or “acetate,” for it may be a one-of-a-kind item). The acetate is a record for which the venerable site Discogs had no sales history – no copies have ever bought & sold in the site’s history.
But after I first wrote about “Strider” last November, I learned that one acetate containing “Strider” was up for sale – for 1000 pounds, or about $1500.
I’ve written quite a lot in the last couple of years about “rare” records and curios that command premium prices. To be honest, I don’t entirely understand the phenomenon of the “ultra rare record” myself. It straddles a world between art and memorabilia, between a signed Picasso and a signed Willie Mays jersey. And people often confuse worth with value: it’s valuable not because the track (or any track) is worth $1500 a copy, but because there are a finite number of them, and it seems unlikely collectors will ever find more.
It’s funny to think that at the time records like Get It Right, or James “Jack Rabbit” Martin’s rare acid EP There Are Dreams And There Is Escape (Discogs price: $921) were released, Dance Music was still judged as something totally disposable. Everyone’s seen the headlines that vinyl records are “making a comeback.” But aside from their use in the distribution of music, items like the $1500 Get It Now acetate are indistinguishable from any other form of collectable art.
Despite much hand-wringing by collectors, reissues don’t seem to devalue these rare, exorbitantly priced records at all. Jack Rabbit’s material has been reissued twice and the price of the originals hasn’t budged. “Strider” was reissued by Mojuba in late 2014 and it hasn’t dampened the market for it at all. If anything, it’s sparked even more interest in the strange story of the one thousand pound acetate that was somehow left out of MK’s official history.
“I WAS LIVING IN DETROIT, still in my teens,” MK told me about the time when he made Get It Right, “although I always told people I was older so I could get into clubs and bars.”
Get It Right wasn’t the first record MK released on his own. “Get It Right came out in 1991,” he remembers, “but the first record I ever released was First Bass by Separate Minds (which was me). And then Somebody New came on out KMS, Kevin Saunderson’s label.”
Get It Right for its part was released on Masahiro Records under the name “Area 10 featuring MK.” The Area 10 alias would be appropriated by Area 10 Records, MK’s label best known for his releases from 1992 to 1995 under the “4th Measure Men” alias.
The name “Area 10” actually comes from where he worked during this period in his life. “I was working at Area 10 in the parking garage of the Henry Ford Hospital and making music after work,” he says. Music infiltrated his day job while his day job infiltrated his music.
As if this all wasn’t confusing enough, even the “official” release of Get It Right has a rather convoluted release history, with several mutations of the same record. The official 12″ on Masahiro features a track called “Divisions” – a driving techno mix which seems to go with the other tracks on Get It Right even less than “Strider” – along with “Feel The Fire,” “Get Up Early” and a couple of extra remixes of “Get It Right.” It’s a masterpiece on its own and one of MK’s finest recordings.
Network Records in the UK licensed Get It Right but their version had a dramatically different track listing. This one featured “Get Up Early” and the “Ooh Mix” of the title track, backed with “Feel The Fire.” The additional mixes and “Divisions” were struck, replaced by another MK classic, “Decay” which never appeared on the Masahiro release at all. And the Mojuba reissue from 2014 only features “Strider” and a new remix.
MK is rather casual about the decision to drop “Strider” from Get It Right – probably because it was a rather casual decision, and not the sort of thing that makes for a romantic story 24 years later. “I do remember that at the last minute I just didn’t think [the tracks] were the right fit for each other,” he says. And “Strider” was dropped. It’s as simple as that.
“I only ever made one acetate,” MK says, “and I’m pretty certain it was stolen.” He’s actually never seen $1500 acetate himself, or doesn’t remember doing so, but he’s been in contact with the seller, who, he hastens to add, seems like a pretty nice guy.
I FEEL THE SAME WAY about Paul. Paul Baines is his name, of Edge of Infinity and known as “ne-plus-ultra,” his screen name on Discogs. Paul is the man who now owns the acetate Get It Right and has it up for sale for one thousand pounds.
“I have only ever seen the acetate of Get It Right that I own,” Paul told me. “I bought it along with an Eddie Fowlkes promo, I would say, around 2007 off eBay from a seller based in Detroit.”
He’s had a couple of offers for the acetate over the years, but has held on to it. “The funny thing is that I just sold the majority of my vinyl collection on Sunday,” Paul told me. He saved just a handful of early Detroit records – among them, the Get It Right acetate. “So it still remains with me in Sheffield, England.”
It felt strange asking MK what he thinks of the track. It usually does feel strange when I ask artists to evaluate their own work, but in this case it was especially so. MK, as everyone knows, has reinvented his career multiple times. “Strider” is one (very good) track among a dozen from a period of unbelievable creativity, but it’s a phase that he passed beyond a long time ago.
And when commerce is the dominant narrative – as it is with “Strider” and many other rare dance records – the story tends to drown out the music anyway. “It never even crossed my mind that it would be of interest,” he says of the track’s notoriety. “The only part of it that irritates me is that most of my records and DATs went up in a house fire years ago. So I won’t get to sell or even play any of it.
“But I’m flattered – it really is flattering.”
Thanks to MK and Paul Baines for their time. MK will be playing in Chicago at Spring Awakening this June 12, 13 and 14 at Soldier Field. visit for more info. MK’s latest release is a remix of Andhim’s “Boy Boy Boy.” You can reach him via Facebook, Twitter,Soundcloud &Instagram.