There was a time – I’m sure of it – when DJs would spend the vast majority of their lives hunting down new and unknown records, often by new and unknown artists. “Secret weapons,” they were called, and still are, but the term had a decidedly different meaning when 95% of the DJs in the world, from Berlin to Baltimore, didn’t shop out of the same digital store and effectively share the same crate.
It’s those 5%ers of DJs that keep hustling in an age when the bare minimum is often seen as good enough that keeps this thing interesting, that keep me inspired, that continually reinvents old movements with new influences.
It isn’t always fun. There’s nothing more infuriating than bad music, which has all of the qualities of smack except the euphoria. And you come across a lot of it. After an hour looking through the new releases which allegedly Sound Like Kerri Chandler, Only Better, or new genres that feature mathematically precise beats and voices autotuned like screaming, horny chipmunks, I’m looking for any damn thing that feels authentic, that feels like a machine guided by human hands rather than the reverse, that remembers that while machines may make the music, dance is still done (to the extent that it’s still done) by human beings.
So we come to this: a new record, a couple of new guys that seem like they were probably raised on the real shit rather than getting it second hand. Gemil and LCS are the guys in question, the label is Washerman’s Deep Down Slam and the EP is exquisitely sweaty, palpably grimy and decidedly human.
The fat elephant foot of the Jackmaster (no, the real one) shakes “Together,” with a thousand little beats and notes tingling like a rash. Track two is a remix by Dima Studitsky. I first had this down as something from House Music’s pre-fragmentation era, when genres were all kind of mixed up and with the edges bleeding into each other. I listened to it again and heard an echo of Lil Louis and Larry Heard. I’m not sure which is more accurate but it’s worthwhile endeavor to listen and have a take.
Side B is where shit gets real. I could have passed if not for two gorgeous Garage-influenced tracks that spill into one another and run down the side of the plate like hot syrup. Who else makes tracks like these in 2015? Alex Agore does, and a few more but not too many to make it fade.
There was a time when a record wasn’t enough to make a career or a tour but just represented the start of one. Gemil and LCS appear to be at the launch of a solid one.