If you were hoping for a post on dubstep, you might want to look elsewhere. This is about dub music, an offshoot of reggae music originating in the 1960s but since developing into its own identity.
It first began as a general sound centred around instrumental remixes of existing reggae tracks, where they were sonically reshaped and the focus was mainly on the drums and the bass. But probably one of the most famous and unique dub techniques is the dub echo which delays in triplets. So, let’s take a look at those 5 dub music samples.
1. Lee “Scratch” Perry and Full Experience’s Disco Devil sample of Max Romeo’s Chase the Devil
As you can hear, this features that classic feedback delay from the very beginning but it’s the overall production that really gets you. The expansive bass heavy soundscapes created one of the all-time legends of dub music, Lee “Scratch” Perry.
2. King Tubby and Roots Radics’ Symbolic Dub sample of Lloyd Robinson’s Cuss Cuss
You know how I said Lee “Scratch” Perry was one of the all-time legends of dub music? Well, King Tubby is the other. The dub kingdom wouldn’t be what it is today without these two guys and their influential work. On Symbolic Dub, Tubby turns a Trojan classic Cuss Cuss by Lloyd Robinson and turns it into a hazed out riddim. The album this came off, Dangerous Dub, is definitely a blueprint for anyone considering getting into this kind of production.
3. Disrupt’s Jah Red Gold and Green sample of Jackie Mittoo and The Soul Vendors’ Drum Song
In 2007, German musician Jan Gleichmar aka “Disrupt” released an album called Foundation Bit on his netlabel Jahtari (a portmanteau of Jah and Atari). His unique blend of traditional reggae/dub music and electronic music, specifically 8-bit music, was something new for a genre often mistaken for dubstep (if it’s even mentioned above dubstep in conversation these days). On Jah Red Gold and Green, you have dub, some 8-bit computer game noises in there and a steady hip hop beat. It pretty much caters for every style from the preceding decades.
4. Sly & the Revolutionaries’ Cocaine sample of Barrington Levy’s Shaolin Temple
While we mentioned Lee “Scratch” Perry and King Tubby as the two main men of dub music, we mustn’t forget Sly & Robbie. The prolific rhythm and production duo may have been synonymous with reggae, but by the 80s, their style changed as they adopted the use of computers in their production and moved into dub. In 1980, Sly & the Revolutionaries (formerly The Revolutionaries) collaborated with Jah Thomas, a reggae producer/DJ and produced Black Ash Dub. They gave Barrington Levy’s Shaolin Temple the dub treatment a year after its release and created yet another classic riddim with all the grandeur you’d expect.
5. Joe Gibbs’ Chapter Three sample of Jacob Miller’s Baby I Love You So
As dub music came from Jamaica, that’s the country it is usually associated with but with all popular genres, the music needn’t sound inherently “Jamaican”. Joe Gibbs, an electronics engineer from Montego Bay, was working in the US before he became a record producer. When he returned to Jamaica, he opened up an electrical store and began selling records. It’s from there he began making music and in 1967, he started recording in the back of his shop with a two track recorder and the help of a certain King Tubby.
This track, taken from his African Dub All-Mighty album, showed elements of African music in its instrumentation and syncopation, something of a contrast to the usual reggae-styled fare. Gibbs would go on to make five more African Dub chapters and sadly passed away in 2008 due to a heart attack.
What are some of your favourite dub music samples? Let us know in the comments!