Whenever the wider dubstep community encounters news about a forthcoming Goth-Trad release, the thrilled global response ripples across our shared networks. On a personal note, I’ve woken up to Cut End every day for the last three years (a gentle reminder of the superb experience I had when visiting Lithuania to see Goth-Trad perform with the Vilnius-based Soundboys) – so to learn of new material from the producer is an absolute pleasure.
The ‘Far East Assassin’ is somewhat of a rarity these days; a producer who’s carving out a global following in nearly every facet of electronic music he focuses on. And if you’ve ever witnessed a Goth-Trad live set, you’ll know what a truly special experience that is. The past two years have been a great period of time for the musician. His way of illuminating sound system culture – in both the Land of the Rising Sun (with his Back To Chill initiative that have launched many a homegrown career and cemented Japan’s love for the music) and further afield with his tunes and performances.
The last time we had new material from the producer was on his collaborative 12” release back in July 2013 with Londoner Ruckspin on the Born To Know EP (MEDi070). Since then, Goth-Trad has been experimenting with various sounds and tempos while still cutting his famous dubplates. The producer has always seemed to revel in the true progression of sound, while maintaining the fundamentals of his well-loved old-school dubstep material. And this process has (thankfully) been faithfully catalogued with releases on Mala’s DEEP MEDi flagship imprint.
With MEDi’s near-monthly release schedule this year, we’ve been pleasantly (un)surprised by the label’s sense of progression, dedication to the sound, and of course the near-constant level of hype that surrounds every release. With this said, the excitement generated from the tease of the test press photo (and subsequent release of Goth-Trad’s MEDi089 artwork) was no surprise.
We were fortunate enough to sit down and listen to Sinker and Sunbeam VIP a few weeks ago. Having fallen in love with both tracks in mixes and in the dance, it was a pleasure to put pen to paper to try and describe hearing the release in its uninterrupted entirety…
The FKOF review
“Industrialised percussion fuels the sharp edges of Goth-Trad’s Sinker; an A-side that launches the producer’s latest release. This is a track that feels like a nod to the DEEP MEDi sound of old with its simple yet effective message. Beats, bass and space. It’s a recipe for guaranteed success and Sinker highlights just how effective this approach still is. The track contains a rumbling bassline that’ll drive any dancefloor to distraction, combined with aforementioned drumwork, and delightful melodies. Its wobbling gut finds itself immersed in waves of low-end frequencies, while following the rooted half-step sound we’ve come to love from the MEDi musician. The bad habits that surface from listening to such skanker prove, once again, that Goth-Trad is still all about his mechanical melodica, devastating bassweight and driving you to feel both the lowest and highest levels at the same damn time. Experiencing Sinker is like any fine experience; one you want to repeat as soon as it’s finished.”
“The MEDi089 flipside sees the release of another unique, much sought-after, groove from Goth-Trad. The original elements from Sunbeam are reworked into a state-of-the-art production only this Japanese pioneer can create. Volume alterations in the lead enlighten the loose presence of wobbles, sensational atmospherics that bitcrush to infinity and of course the slow build-down that makes this VIP such an astonishing piece of material. He has crafted a more percussion-based stepper that gives voice to that one, mind-expanding melody. The original melody returns without too much surprise – sounding as comfortable in the mix as it did with its first appearance. Sunbeam VIP is a more complex adventure than the A-side – one that digs deep into the mind of the listener. It builds an even stronger love for material from this musician. This track doesn’t hold back on its celestial message, driving you to press repeat so hard that you soon lose focus on anything else. And that’s a trait not many producers seem to have nowadays…”
From his excursion through his now renowned dark, industrialised 85-90BPM material to his finest dubstep pieces, the producer’s back catalogue seems to point to one thing we can all agree on. And that’s Goth-Trad’s incomparable bass-led craftsmanship. There are few musicians in bass music able to match what this man builds – and I think that’s probably a good thing. It’s a great thing, in fact.
With his huge amount of unreleased material still to surface, the immeasurable number of dubplates cut (shouts to Wax Alchemy for those), an army of Japanese producers he’s carefully supporting with his local community efforts – not to mention a more than well-deserved spot at the MEDi table – the producer remains the man of the hour. His upcoming American tour and his 8th MEDi plate will no doubt reaffirm that fact.
Peace, love and respect.