Almost six months passed since the last time we checked what’s up in Japan’s deep dubstep scene, so it is time to look around again… especially as there were several great releases from the usual gang and an additional compilation where more than 60 acts from the bass music scenes of Japan and UK paid tribute to the great Naoki E-jima.

Let’s start with a highly anticipated upcoming release dropping later this week: the joint album of Karnage and UK MC Rider Shafique. Out on the 19th of June and years in the making Facing Inner Struggle will drop on Vomitspit and will feature seven tracks, two of them made together with label co-owner Dayzero. Besides the usual digital version, this will be out on CD and vinyl as well, making it the label’s second CD and very first vinyl release. Karnage and Rider Shafique already worked together in the past on two EPs (one in 2017 and another last year) and this one’s a perfect follow-up to those: there is one track up on Bandcamp as a preview, but I got the chance to listen to the whole album and it’s gonna be massive, with tracks ranging from more laid-back tunes to extremely heavy bangers. Facing Inner Struggle is already up for pre-order at the Vomitspit bandcamp, but the vinyl EP, that comes with four of the seven tunes is also available from UK’s White Peach.

Karnage & Rider Shafique: Facing Inner Struggle
2020.06.19 / CD, vinyl, digital
01.Facing Inner Struggle
02.Bad Energy feat. Dayzero
04.No Saints
05.Voice of Thunder
06.Over Soul feat. Dayzero
07.Hardened Hearts

A2.Hardened Hearts
B1.Over Soul feat. Dayzero
B2.Bad Energy feat. Dayzero

Besides working on the album Karnage also did a remix for the year’s first Vomitspit release, an EP by Canadian producer SBK.:

While the next two Vomitspit releases were two EPs by Dayzero: King of Ghost out late March, containing two new tunes plus two remixes for a track by the mighty Zen Rydaz and a special treat, VSX0001, released early May as a freebie in the middle of the pandemic.

King of Ghost
2020.03.27 / digital
01.King of Ghost
02.UCH Blood
03.Zen Rydaz: Rumble feat. RHYDA (Dayzero Remix)
04.Zen Rydaz: Rumble feat. RHYDA (Dayzero Remix Instrumental)

2020.05.01 / digital
01.Saruin Stage VIP
02.Borders in Action

However before these Dayzero actually started 2020 with a somewhat unusual release, his first ever 7″, out on ZamZam Sounds, a US based label known for their limited 7″ dub records. And while the two featured tunes Orbit Dub and Theory Dub were clearly more dub influenced than his usual output, he also managed to maintain his trademark atmospheric dubstep sound.

Besides these he also returned to the US label Deep, Dark & Dangerous and submitted a new track for the last part of their ambitious Deep, Dark & Dangeorus Trilogy series (@bandcamp).

However the same compilation also featured a new tune by another familiar face, BTC mate City1, making this his first release on DDD.

And in just a few days, City1 will also drop a new EP! Last year was pretty busy for him with three vinyl EPs out on three different well-known dubstep labels and while those were also excellent, based on the samples Kiswahili EP might just be his best one so far. The three tracks with an additional digital bonus will be out on a new UK label, DNO Records on the 19th of June and pre-orders are already open on Bandcamp.

Kiswahili EP
2020.06.19 / vinyl, digital
Cheka (digital bonus)

And while Ish10 Yow1r0 also has some new stuff out, this time these are not really dubstep, more like… somewhat dubstep-influenced future garage tunes: a one track single called out on DarkPlay (bandcamp) and a four track EP called Getsuei out on Planet Eden (bandcamp) done with Nézumi.

Scars Are Proof That I Lived
2020.02.20 / digital
01.Scars Are Proof That I Lived

Nézumi & ish10 yow1r0 – Getsuei EP
01.ish10 yow1r0: My Living Testimony Scatters Like a Flower
02.Nézumi: My Love
03.Nézumi & ish10 yow1r0: Steal My Heart
04.Nézumi & ish10 yow1r0: 月影 – Getsuei

And there is one more release… and an extremely important one. Late February I also wrote about the passing of Naoki E-jima, the owner of Tokyo’s Disc Shop Zero, which was not just an excellent record store, but also the home and beating heart of Japan’s bass music culture. Zero – Bristol x Tokyo a compilation album featuring acts mostly from Japan and Bristol (a city that was Naoki’s main inspiration and his second home of sorts) was already in the works as a hospital bills support album before his passing, but became a tribute album by the time it was released on the 11th of March.

The album is massive in every sense of the word, featuring 64 tracks from acts that had some connection to Naoki, spanning many bass music genres, including trip hop, dub, hip-hop, grime, reggae, jungle… and of course dubstep which played an important role during the last several few years of the shop’s long history. The line-up includes some familiar faces (Karnage, Dayzero and City1), many other greats from Japan, including Ryoichi Ueno, ENA, Part2Style, Double Clapperz, Bim One Production, G.Rina and Antennasia and such UK legends as V.I.V.E.K., Mungo’s Hi FiDubkasm, Smith & Mighty, Pinch and BunZer0. Besides all the amazing tracks, the release also comes with a pdf with a collection of 61 photos.

Give it a listen below and keep in mind that by buying the album, you support Naoki’s family, as all proceedings go directly to them.