Enter the J-trix: Goth Trad and the Terrifying Depths of the Rabbit Hole

(Photo by super-tite Aussie,  Megan Cullen)

I don’t know many people as into The Matrix as I am, though I know they are out there. In the depth of my obsession, I bought the soundtracks to all the Matrix movies – a gesture that would immerse me deep into a world of rugged electronica and weirdo industrial rock. It was great while it lasted and though I occasinally pop the Animatrix CD into my “Discman”, I don’t return to it often.

While arguing with a stranger on the Internet who was making the point that “dubstep” was “bastardized” by new acts like “Skrillex” in the same way that Mass Effect’s aesthetic was influenced/diluted by a Jersey Shore sense of aesthetic, I was eventually led to Goth Trad.

The above track stands out as an interesting melding of dub with traditional Japanese sounds, ostensibly highlighting Trad’s heritage and profession simultaneously. The video underlines J-ness, telling the story of burly J-sailors set upon by a mythic sea-beast who is probably a symbolic manifestation of Amaterasu or something. Functionally, it works as an appropriate lead-up to that Wrath of the Titans movie, an unsolicited sequel that looks cool anyway. 5-minutes not enough? Check the 58-minute mix he put together below:

Goth Trad is Takeaki Maruyama, a dude specializing in “abstract dance music”. According to my faceless debater, this music represents “real dubstep”, which is  more nuanced and respectable than the more brash, gaudy version popular in American rave bars and clubs to “teens on ecstasy”. The above mix comes from the latest (one year ago, yesterday) in Goth Trad’s annual-ish live series called Back to Chill.

He has authored two CDs that I’ve never heard of. The third one, titled New Epoch, will release on February 6, a day we all know and love as Super Bowl Hangover Day.  Also celebrated by some as the day God rested after conjuring human life into existence with the mighty swish His voodoo stick.

New Epoch. As a title, it is mysterious, lofty; will Goth Trad indeed deliver on its promise of ferrying listeners across the murk, from one stage of their lives to a new, fresh world of ideas and philosophy? Or is this album a more personal work signaling Goth Trad’s own movement through the eras of his life/music? All these questions and more will (presumably) be answered in three days. While most of the world will still be reeling from the Super Bowl, pale, gawking Dragon-Tattoo types will wake up early on Monday to download the album.

You can preview New Epoch on Amazon, but it’s such a niche release that you may not have much hope of listening to the whole thing before you buy. In that case, you’ll have to rely on currently released material. Most of dude’s catalogue is available on iTunes for mp3-retail prices: a dollar to a buck thirty per track. He also has a Myspace that hearkens back to the days when people used Myspace for all their band stuff; he’s got all types of info on single releases, remixes, videos of Dutch fools at shows dancing weirdly. This has become surprisingly promotional.

Additionally, you can listen to no less than 17 episodes of Back To Chill Radio on the BTC site, which is more electric dub than there’s burgers at McDonalds. Currently 22 minutes into the latest installment and it is transcendent/good.

Tokyo readers! Don’t forget to check out the album release party at Club Asia on 2/18 and report back to me with photos, videos, live recordings and man-on-the-street interviews! JSR-regulars Dry & Heavy will be there long with J-dub legend Killer Bong. I have no basis for saying it will be tight, but I’m doing it anyway!


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