Tag Archives: Dub

Minyo Crusaders Armor Japanese Folk Music for the Post-Modern Age

Minyo Crusaders

In his short story “The Preserving Machine,” Philip K. Dick wrote that “music is the most perishable of things; fragile and delicate, easily destroyed.” The character who speaks that line sets about turning music into DNA to enable it to survive for future generations. In a manner of speaking, the Tokyo group Minyo Crusaders are pursuing the same ends—albeit without the assistance of a laboratory, or indulging in any gene splicing.

Continue reading

Lifetime Achievement: Lee “Scratch” Perry’s Eternal Reggae/Dub Discography

Lee Scratch Perry

“By throwing stones to stones I start to hear sounds. When the stones clash, I hear the thunder clash, and I hear lightning flash, and I hear words.”

That’s Lee Perry, recounting his discovery of dub music to writer David Katz in the icon’s biography People Funny Boy—a childhood memory, creative origin story, and Old Testament prophecy wrapped up in one. The reverb and boom of those rocks, sounding out in the gully at the hands of a boy in Jamaica, amounted to much more than child’s play. They portended a half-century of some of the most roots-deep, spaced-out sounds in music. Continue reading

A Future Without Borders: The Music of Suns of Arqa

Suns of Arqa

Suns of Arqa’s 1980 album Revenge of the Mozabites sounds like it came from a future without borders. Indian tabla, Celtic strings, flamenco guitars, and pounding dub basslines reverberate throughout the album—the sound of cultures and nations colliding and their music intermingling.

Continue reading

Jay Glass Dubs Refracts and Reshapes Dub to Create New Universes

Jay Glass Dubs

When Dimitris Papadatos began making music as Jay Glass Dubs in 2015, his self-appointed mission was both heady and specific: to produce “an exercise of style focusing on a counter-factual historical approach of dub music, stripped down to its basic drum/bass/vox/effects form.” Since then, Papadatos has pushed his philosophy to the limits, mutating his sound constantly over a neverending series of albums and mixtapes, most of them via the avant-garde British label Bokeh Versions.

Continue reading

Album of the Day: log(m) & Laraaji, “The Onrush Of Eternity”

 

Laraaji is best known as one of ambient music’s great masters, but he’s no stranger to the world of dub. His mastery of instruments, from mbira and zither, melded perfectly with the Japanese dub group Audio Active on 1994’s collaborative LP The Way Out Is The Way In, a strong record that also revealed Laraaji’s surprising talent as an MC. That year also marked the debut effort from log(m), or Legion Of Green Men, the long-running dub and IDM duo of brothers Lex and Rew MacCrimmon. The two projects have traveled on their respective orbits ever since, but have now aligned for The Onrush Of Eternity, an epic collection condensing a decade of studio jams into three airily elastic LPs. Continue reading

The Everlasting Impact of Digi-Dub

Equiknoxx

Equiknoxx by Jik Reuben.

If you believe the legend, digi-dub first emerged in the streets of Jamaica from a simple Casio MT-40 keyboard and a “rock” preset. In the hands of the late MC Wayne Smith and the legendary producer King Jammy, that preset was the backbone for Under Mi Sleng Teng, the first digital riddim that ushered in the era of digital-dub in 1984. Before then, the studio artistry of producers like Jah Shaka, Lee “Scratch” Perry, and Augustus Pablo relied on full bands recorded in proper studios. Digi-dub democratized all that; it eventually came to be embraced by reggae’s originators, giving sound systems a new beat.

“Growing up in Jamaica, you have to develop an entrepreneurship mentality to get your music heard,” says digi-dub pioneer Carl Meeks. Since the late ’80s, Meeks has crafted some of digi-dub’s founding riddims, spending his early days in Jamaica hand-delivering 45s to record stores and bribing the staff with free meals to get his music heard. “It’s very competitive,” he says. “You gotta have some toughness in you, because people want to bully you. You need it to survive, man.”

His breakout was No More Secret, a lovers rock ode to hidden romance first recorded in King Tubby’s legendary studio. “That was big for me,” he says, describing his experience recording with the dub icon. Wah Dem Fah and Danger, a record that helped define the Redman International label as a home for Jamaican greatness from the mid ’80s, came next. “The riddim, the samples, the drums and bass, the Casio keyboards, everything in digi-dub just comes together like sand on the shore,” he says. Continue reading

The Many Hats of Wah Wah 45s’ Adam Scrimshire 

Wah Wah 45

“Music was the outlet but it was also the cause and the illness and the reason,” says Adam Scrimshire, reflecting on the last 10 years of his career. A London-based artist, he wears many musical hats. He’s a left field soul songwriter and producer as Scrimshire, one half of electronic duo Modified Man, and co-owns and runs two labels: leading U.K. contemporary soul indie, Wah Wah 45s, and fledgling new experimental and largely instrumental collective, Albert’s Favourites.

Continue reading

David Harrow Lived Through Punk, Post-Punk, New Wave, Industrial, and Dub Reggae but Isn’t Stopping Anytime Soon

David-Harrow-600

Adopted Los Angeleno David Harrow has been around the block a few times, but his passion for new possibilities in electronic music shows no sign of dimming. Under his prolific Oicho guise, he’s explored deep dub reggae roots, with a futurist sheen. But the latest Oicho tracks have moved further from reggae tonality and into more abstracted, ritualistic experiments with percussion and space that put him closest to bass music mavericks like Shackleton and Kode 9. All of this, though, is informed by a musical history that stretches back over three decades, and has been colorful, to say the very least.

While still in his teens, at the end of the ‘70s, the east Londoner got swept up in punk and post-punk, playing keyboards with the likes of Genesis P-Orridge’s Psychic TV, Jah Wobble and new wave poet Anne Clark. Always footloose, he spent time in Berlin—in the orbit of industrial godfathers Einstürzende Neubauten—and San Francisco, where he became a house keyboardist/producer for Razormaid Records, including on records by disco icon Sylvester. Later, back in the UK, he fell in with the On-U Sound collective around Adrian Sherwood, regularly working in the studio and on stage worldwide with Lee “Scratch” Perry, Mark Stewart, Bim Sherman and many more. Their work ethic was boggling, their output was stupendous in its volume and influence, but the collective was also chaotic and as dedicated to living on the edge as to sonic innovation.

Continue reading