Before I knew Vincent Floyd – before I met him or interviewed him – I knew of the legend. It’s been hard to avoid: people drop the name often enough that you have no choice but to nod like an idiot and sneak home to do your research on discogs, youtube and a series of Facebook posts consisting mostly of a bunch of guys in hoodies mumbling “got that” “don’t got that” “had that” or “want that.”

Whether a strange record sealed in plastic or an orphaned reel-to-reel spool that we’re still not sure about, Floyd left small artifacts of his presence behind. But those bootlegs and white labels didn’t scratch the surface of the material still out there, if Vault 1: Love’s Pain is an indicator. Made up of four tracks recorded in the late 1990s, Vault 1 is a miraculous treasure.

The title track sounds like you’re turning on radio, to hear songs they never played on the radio. It’s beautiful, in the way that usually only really good Soulful House or highly experimental Techno can be beautiful. With muted kicks and probably the most inventive use of an acoustic guitar on any Chicago House record, it is haunting, begging for use in a cinematic scene with enough passion and longing to do the music justice.

“Joyful Gain” reminds me of some of the music that was finding a friendly home in the rave scene at the time. “Authentic Self” and “Curves for Corners” on the B-Side are the experimental divergences, and it’s interesting to think how much further Floyd would have gone had he continued making music in the late 1990s. No one was making records like this in familiar circles at the time. Don’t believe me? List here the number of people who placed a slow, synthesized cello over a walloping track like “Curves for Corners”:

1. Vincent Floyd
2.
3.

Thankfully, we still do have time to see what Vincent Floyd does next. I don’t know if he’s moved on from creating electronic music but I sure hope not. As much as one man can lord over another man’s talent, I can tell him (if I haven’t before) that there are few who have ever done it better.

 

Originally published in 5 Magazine Issue #136 featuring DJ Spen, Phil Kieran, Mateo & Matos, a DJ’s guide to music streaming and more. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full access to everything House Music for just $1 an issue!