Not unlike the phrase “jump the shark,” the genre title formerly known as “dubstep” has, for many, taken a leap over a threatening aquatic creature to the point where it’s sort of embarrassing to admit that you enjoy something that can be filed under “dubstep”. I sometimes find myself stuttering over the word in conversation; I try to describe some artist to someone unfamiliar, and while dubstep would be the easiest term to use, I can no longer bring myself to say it. It’s lost its cache of cool and instead become something that is both oversimplified and stigmatized, which is what tends to happen when some small subset of something becomes popular, is picked up by a ton of mainstream media outlets drooling voraciously over the SEO benefits, and everyone forgets where it actually came from.
I still can’t think of a better term for Japan’s Goth-Trad than “dubstep” — even “garage” and “grime” don’t quite serve the scolding-glance-dodging purposes they usually would. However, if you’ve been turned off of “dubstep” by MDMA-guzzling, neon-clad show-goers, rest assured that Goth-Trad will have you eager to don your most stylish black and behave a bit more introspectively, while still administering a hearty dose of heavy bass.
His latest LP release, New Epoch, out February 6 on Deep Medi Musik, is the sort of dubstep that feels wildly inappropriate during the daytime and disturbingly perfect when it’s dark. Layered on top of bass that will make even the most bro-ed out dubstepper drool are sounds that might remind some of us of artists who fall more squarely into the ambient/noise/drone category. For those who’ve followed Goth-Trad for a while, it’s the first LP that truly feels like a cohesive, polished piece of work, and for those who haven’t really dabbled or only sampled a few bites, it’s a great way to be introduced.
Tracks range from laid-back and subtle to heavier punctuations like “Airbreaker”. I had written a longer summary of the tracks as I listened to the album, but WordPress decided it wanted that part of the review all for itself, so you’ll just have to listen to the album and make your own judgments. We <3 independent thinkers.