Category Archives: Dub

“Meaning of Dub”

dub
Dub Club
Meaning of Dub, 2014

Modern-day dub is something of an anachronism. As the earliest form of remix music, many popular dub techniques originated with the live-mixed studio technology of the day (reverb, echo, delay), effects that sound clumsy and dated today. In 2015, when any laptop comes preloaded with more sophisticated recording technology than the Kingston studios of the 1960s, cleanliness and precision — two characteristics not traditionally associated with the genre — are pretty much foundational. This yields modern-day compositions that mimic early dub soundscapes in practice but actually have more in common with hip-hop production. Witness Meaning of Dub — a collection of 10 modern “versions” built around the same instrumental track, spearheaded by DJ/producer Tom Chasteen, who also hosts a weekly Dub Club night at L.A.’s Echoplex. Nothing about the instrumental feels rough or handmade. Rather, this is music made by modern studio heads who’ve clearly internalized the lessons of the genre while updating the technique. The end experience is as absorbing as all the best original dub, just not in the same way.

[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14312140/10%20Instrumental.mp3]

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“Bongo Man Dub”

king tubby
King Tubby
The Late Great King Tubby, 2011

I once read an interview with House of Pain’s Everlast (of all people) where he used the phrase “music as pure energy” to describe a Pink Floyd record. Though in 2014 I can’t remember a single line from “What It’s Like,” that expression pops into my head every time I hear a King Tubby dub. Arguably the forefather of modern remix culture, Tubby’s real-time reggae inversions also singlehandedly stirred a genre into existence. Dub normally dwells in the low end, but I picked “Bongo Man Dub” because it does the exact opposite – the bassline is watery, submerged, nearly hidden beneath a lyrical sax melody that comes on like captured sunlight. It wasn’t often that Tubby favored brass over bass like this, but when he did he made it count.

[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14312140/Bongo%20Man%20Dub.m4a]

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