From the very late ’60′s to the very late ’70′s much of the most inventive and rhythmically exciting music came out of Jamaica. Dub was a vital part of this output. It had its origins in the Sound System – bass-heavy portable disco’s where in the late ’60′s DJ’s began to ‘toast’ live vocals over instrumental B-sides of 45′s. This in turn stimulated studio producers to start experimenting with these same instrumental B-sides to create a whole new genre called Dub.
By the time we get to 1973, the two most prominent Dub producers, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry (leader/creator/producer of The Upsetters) and King Tubby, had turned it into a sublime art form capable of producing pieces of sound that contained equal measures of infectious drum and bass-heavy rhythm and unrestrained inventiveness. Even though many many Dubs would eventually emanate from literally the same original instrumental track, a master Dub mixer could produce a piece of music that was both unique and completely surprising through his or her use of echo, reverb, various other special effects (some usually of the herbal variety) and a dollop of unrestrained imagination.
Dub also introduced us to the concept of the producer/mixer/re-mixer/studio-technician as creative originator. Using the mixing desk as a musical instrument and existing instrumental tracks as musical elements to be bent, reshaped and remixed into completely new songs. Post-modernism before anyone this side of the Atlantic (except possibly in Germany – see ABON 0003) had even heard the phrase. And of course one of its greatest legacies is the cult of the remix in the music scene of today.