What is Dub?
Born in small recording studios in Kingston, Jamaica, reggae dub or `version’ was the offspring of a few electronic wizard reggae producers. Dub is what would have happened when these producers took pre-existing reggae tracks, edit out the vocals as well as most accompanying instruments (except the rhythm section) and drop them in and out of the mix. Echoes and reverbs and rebounds and swells and stretches were added – generally creating a fully mind-and-body bending, primitive yet sophisticated, techno-atavistic, root futurist kind of minimal hypno-trance music. By pulling the instrument and vocal tracks in and out, the producers formed an exciting rhythmic tease, a sort of musical fan dance in which one part of the piece was revealed, then covered, only to showcase yet another element. From the moment this new sound was unveiled in the dance halls, dub fever raged throughout Jamaica. Traveling sound systems provided the vibe – created by two turntables, a few huge amplifiers, and a bunch of outrageous characters – the DJ’s or toasters. (Early rap!)
The technology may have changed from the two-track recordings of the sixites to today’s computer modifications and drum machines, but the rhythm remains the same – hard yet leisurely, funky yet scary, avant-garde yet sexy as hell. Dub goes on into the next century – from the Jamaican dub masters to the UK, with London produced dubs from Paul Smykle, Adrian Sherwood, Mikey Cambel and Aswad,Jah Shaka, Mad Professor and Denis Bovell.
Throughout the eighties various dub tracks and dub albums dominated the reggae charts. A New Chapter of dub, Commandments of dub, Dub you crazy, Beyond the realms of dub, with the legendary Kunte Kinte, immortalised by the Uk soundsysten culture led by Jah Shaka and Abashanti
The nineties were responsible for one of the biggest dub albums ever! No Protection by Massive Attack / Mad Professor saw dub going mainstream with the Bristol Triphop band
Dub continued to have an active underground market with collaborations from the Jungle/Drum and bass crowd, as well as from the emerging Dubstep scene!!