- Japan might seem an odd place to look for what might now be considered "purist" dubstep, but look no further than Goth-Trad for your 2006-style fix. Indeed, Takeaki Maruyama was one of the genre's earliest outside adopters, even releasing an entire album full of mostly breaks-driven dubstep in 2005. Perhaps as a result of his explicit jungle roots, his tracks have a fluid energy and attention to detail to them that turns early dubstep's deliberate and careful stomp on its head. Obscured by paranoia and all kinds of percussive flourishes, his latest twelve for Mala's Deep Medi label sounds right out of 2007 or so: and considering the admittedly sluggish pace of the label's release timetable, maybe that's not so far off from the truth.
However old they are, there's no denying their effectiveness. "Sunbeam" is ultra-classic: shattering kicks, grinding synths, guttural bass. But Maruyama's signature is quite different than Digital Mystikz-style minimalism. Instead, it swings flowing bongos on top of the beat, lending it a pseudo-tribal feeling that's as suffocating as it is menacing. Dialing up the dub with plucked strings and a heavily staggered progression is "Two Faced," which sounds slightly dated with its loud and dissonant wobble. Even when his tracks are at their most regressive, however, they always sound full: it's hard not to get steamrolled by Maruyama's sheer heft, a thickset weight that sounds almost inaudible (but certainly physically tangible) amidst all the fastidious detail present even in a fairly obvious track like "Two Faced." Goth-Trad's an implacable figure all around, and his tunes are never quite what they seem. As a result, even his most derivative moments can sound fresh.
A Two Face