Spencer Kincy and JT Donaldson: Duality

Rediscovering JT Donaldson and Spencer Kincy's strange and beautiful Duality, recently reissued by Cyclo.

If these records have to be re-issued again, I’d prefer that Cyclo did it. I have no idea about the business end, and having once inserted myself into the world of Spencer Kincy and saw this grow into something grotesque and really pretty disgusting, I don’t want to know. The world of record collectors is second in inanity to only to the underground market that services rare Beanie Babies and twice as pointlessly vicious when you get down to it. I can’t imagine getting pissed off that a record I own will be owned by many other people – I mean I know DJs and collectors (who are more “collectors” than actual working “DJs”) who act like this. I just can’t imagine feeling that way, ever, about anything that I didn’t make with my own two hands. Nor could I imagine being someone that pumps up myths and fairy tales to sell a couple hundred units and make a couple hundred bucks off of it.

But we all go to the devil in our own way, don’t we? And of all of the overhyped records that show up with “one per customer only please” warning tags, this one probably deserves more than it gets. It’s well-known that Spencer Kincy spent some time in Dallas (where Deep In The Flowers was recorded), and this EP rightfully became a touchstone for each of JT and Spencer’s careers.

“Soho” and “Wanna Push You” belong to Spencer. “Soho” is quite unlike most of the material he was working on at this time – the drums are muted, and the song evolves slowly (compare both of these elements to, say, “Stand Up”). It’s Spencer Kincy at his meditative best.

From a distance of nearly 20 years, it’s actually JT Donaldson’s “Changing Times” that stands out the most to me. That dissonance between jacking percussion and Chris Penny’s gentle, almost Moby-esque keys is mindblowing. It would be so easy to fuck up this track – I hear about 20 fucked up attempts to do precisely this every month – but he stays right in the pocket. It’s right there – deep, controlled, gentle and fierce at the same time, in this and many other aspects presaging some Deep House currents by more than a decade.

Side B is an interesting contrast for both producers, with JT’s alien boogie “First Things First” paired with Spencer’s stripped down groover “Wanna Push You” (which appeared on Robsoul’s Gemini Tribute Vol 2 some years back.) Interestingly, these songs both sound almost disconnected from the time they were made in – I mean that you could play them in a set in pretty much any year from when they were made to the present and they’d fit like jigsaw pieces.

There are very few dance tracks that just seem to be “perfect,” in the way that some pop songs sound “perfect.” “Forever Monna” is one, and “Changing Times” by JT Donaldson is another.


Originally published in 5 Magazine Issue #135 featuring Kon, Stephanie Cooke, Gareth Whitehead, Video Clash, 3YB Music Fest and more. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full access to everything House Music for just $1 an issue!