After his 2016 album, Psionics, Goth-Trad, the godfather of Japanese dubstep have not released any new dubstep material for a long while. He kept doing live acts, organized his monthly dubstep event Back To Chill, formed the experimental doom band Eartaker and did a split with JK Flesh (where he was going for a more industrial sound). But even though he recorded new dubstep tunes and played those in his sets, he did not publish any of it… until this year, when he decided to catch up and dropped a series of new releases: this included a 12″ on Deep Medi (Airbreaker VIP), the remastered versions of his first three, long out of print albums and his classic Back To Chill EP, finally a widely available edition of Psionics (which was originally only issued as a pendrive / vinyl bundle limited to a mere 100 copies) and three collections with unreleased material: The Beginning with early experimental stuff recorded in 1999 / 2000, Mutations with dubstep dubplates from between 2006 and 2011 and Survival Research, a follow-up to the latter with material from between 2011 and 2020. And with the obvious exception of the Deep Medi EP, all of these were digital only releases out on G-T’s own label, Back To Chill, available from Bandcamp.

Even though all of these were out in 2021, as Survival Research collects the most recent material, I decided to include that one in the review series… especially as it is a very solid release. It starts out with the title track which is pure, essential Goth-Trad and one of the absolute standouts: the bass line is extremely deep and heavy, but the rest is very melodic with a somewhat melancholic vibe. A truly beautiful tune, followed by Be Free, a love letter to old-school dub (that Goth-Trd is known to be obsessed with) and then by Tied Up which recalls the very cold and mechanical sound of his 2012 album, New Epoch, even incorporating some industrial influences. So even the beginning is very diverse and he keeps going that way, displaying the full spectrum of his unique dubstep sound throughout the album, with a special emphasis on those more mechanical tunes, that include Metropolis and the outstanding Calculator. Spiral City and the heavy-hitting Rain Man goes for a more traditional deep dubstep sound, just like Sinker VIP, an alternate take on a track that was originally out in a Deep Medi EP in 2015. On the other hand, the closing Printed Mental Remix is something completely different: it is a remix of a track by Dubtro off 2014’s Back To Chill compilation “Mugen” and while the original was a typical deep dubstep tune G-T turned it into a fast, jungle and rave inspired monster and it serves as a totally unexpected yet excellent ending to the album.

Overall Survival Research is an outstanding collection of tracks by Goth-Trad and him making all these unreleased tunes available at last was one of the nicest surprises of 2021. Now let’s just hope we won’t have to wait five years or more again to get some more of his deliciously bass heavy music!

Survival Research
2021.05.07 / digital
01.Survival Research
02.Be Free
03.Tied Up
04.Spiral City
07.Rain Man
08.Sinker VIP
09.Printed Mental Remix (Original by Dubtro)


A year in reviews: in 2021 I was somewhat neglecting the site due to the lack of free time, but now I try to make up for it as much as possible, reviewing several important / good / interesting albums that were released this year. One for each day throughout December, from a very wide spectrum of genres. #2021reviews