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Dub music

Music Sound

Dub music

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Dub is a form of Jamaican music, which evolved out of ska and reggae in 1970s Jamaica. The dub reggae sound includes adding extensive echo and reverb effects to an existing music piece, sometimes accompanied by snatches of the lyrics from the original version.

Dub is characterized as a "version" of an existing song, typically emphasizing the drums and bass for a sound popular in local Sound Systems. The instrumental tracks are typically drenched in sound processing effects such as echo, reverb, part vocal and extra percussion, with most of the lead instruments and vocals dropping in and out of the mix. Another hallmark of the dub sound is the massive low bass. The music sometimes features processed sound effects and other noises, such as birds singing, thunder and lightning, water flowing, and producers shouting instructions at the musicians. It can be further augmented by live DJs.

These versions are mostly instrumental, sometimes including snippets of the original vocal version. Often these tracks are used for "Toasters" rapping heavily-rhymed and alliterative lyrics. These are called "DeeJay Versions". As opposed to hip hop terminology, in reggae music the person with the microphone is called the "DJ" (elsewhere called the "MC", for 'Microphone Controller' or less commonly 'master of ceremonies'), while the person choosing the music and operating the turntables is the "Selector" (elsewhere called the DJ).

A major reason for producing multiple versions was economic: A record producer could use a recording he owned to produce numerous versions from a single studio session. Version was also an opportunity for a producer or remix engineer to experiment and vent their more creative side. The version was typically the B-side of a single, with the A-side dedicated to making a popular hit, and B-side for experimenting and providing something for DJs to talk over. In the 1970s whole albums of dub tracks were produced, often simply the dub version of an existing vocal LP, but sometimes a selection of dubbed up instrumental tracks for which no vocals existed.

Dub music evolved from early instrumental reggae music and "versions" that incorporated fairly primitive reverb and echo sound effects. Errol Thompson engineered the first strictly instrumental reggae album entitled "The Undertaker" by Derrick Harriott and the Crystalites released in 1970. This innovative album credits "Sound Effects" to Derrick Harriott.

Whilst some have tried to attribute the "invention" of dub music to just one person, the facts show that by 1973, instrumental reggae "versions" from various studios had evolved into "dub" as a sub genre of reggae. Through the simultaneous efforts of several independent Jamaican innovators, these competitive engineers and producers worked hard to leapfrog each other with each subsequent dub release with no single person being able to claim all the credit for the origination of "dub" as a genre.

In 1973, at least two producers, Lee Perry and the Aquarius studio engineer/producer team of Herman Chin and Errol Thompson simultaneously recognized that there was an active market for this new "dub" sound and consequently they started to release the first strictly 100% dub albums.

It was not until 1975 that King Tubby was internationally recognized as the premier dub artist/innovator/producer with the release of his two debut albums "King Tubby Meets The Upsetter At The Grass Roots Of Dub" and "Surrounded By the Dreads at the National Arena". He was then immediately hailed as the leading dub music innovator of the day.

Dub has continued to progress from that point to this, its popularity waxing and waning with changes in musical fashion. Almost all reggae singles still carry an instrumental version on the b side and these are still used by the sound systems as a blank canvas for live singers and djs.

In the 1980s, Britain became a new center for dub production with Mad Professor and Jah Shaka being the most famous, while Scientist became the heavyweight champion of Jamaican dub. It was also the time when dub made its influence known in the work of harder edged, experimental producers such as Adrian Sherwood and the roster of artists on his On-U Sound label. Bands such as The Police and UB40 helped popularise Dub in the UK with UB40's 'Present Arms in Dub' album being the first ever DUB album to hit the UK top 40. The Welsh band Llwybr Llaethog are an important UK group to have frequently produced Dub tracks in addition to their usual hip-hop/electronic output.

In the 1990s and beyond dub has been influenced by and in turn influenced techno, jungle, drum and bass, house music, trip hop, ambient music, and hip hop, with many electronic dub tracks produced by nontraditional musicians from these other genres. Musicians such as Bill Laswell, Leftfield, Ott, Massive Attack, Bauhaus, The Clash, PiL, The Orb, Rhythm & Sound, Pole, Underworld, DeFacto and others demonstrate clear dub influences in their respective genres, and their innovations have in turn influenced the mainstream of the dub genre. In the UK, Europe, Japan and America independent record producers are making dub . DJs appeared towards the end of the 1990s who specialised in playing music by these musicians, such as the UK's Unity Dub. Traditional dub has, however, survived (see Iration Steppas and Aba Shanti-I, for example) and some of the originators like Lee Perry and Mad Professor continue to produce new material.


Download sample of "King Tubby's Meets Rockers Uptown" (1976) by Augustus Pablo and produced by King Tubby, a landmark dub recording.

International artists

King Tubby
Mad Professor
Lee "Scratch" Perry
Jah Shaka
Prince/King Jammy
Augustus Pablo
Mikey Dread
Prince Far I
Salmonella Dub
Sly and Robbie
Dub Wiser
Dub Is A Weapon
Dub Trio

External links

Reggae | Reggae genres
Mento - Rocksteady - Ska
Dub - Reggaeton - Roots reggae - Two Tone

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.