As befits a music invested in wiping itself away, the story of dub has been chronicled in an erratic fashion. Often cited as a precursor to just about everything musical since the s, dub nonetheless subsists officially in the form of footnotes: as an adjunct to reggae, as a foundation for techno and house, as the fundament of a remix culture so pervasive as to go almost unnoticed in the present day. Veal, an associate professor of music at Yale University, offers a corrective that focuses on dub as a distinct musical style, as well as a repository for extramusical ideas that incubate within its suggestive aural spaces. The first part of the book places the genre within the complex timeline of Jamaican music. With the birth of dub, producers and engineers began crafting alternate versions of popular reggae songs, remixing familiar riffs into decaying references and reducing melodic vocal lines to abstract dashes of echo and noise.
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Access options available:. Wesleyan Univ. Press, Middletown, Connecticut, U. Trade, paper. ISBN: ; Dub is the lesser-known brother of ska, reggae and ragga, the highly recognizable export products of that Caribbean musical hotbed Jamaica. Probably every music lover over the age of 20 knows reggae star Bob Marley, and names like Peter Tosh and Black Uhuru might even ring a distant bell, but the grand-masters of dub are hardly known.
If you recognize names like Lee Perry, King Tubby, Scientist or Coxsone Dodd, either you are a diehard reggae and dub lover, a historian of music engineering and producing or someone with an encyclopedic memory.
Dub artists have never been in the spotlight the way their reggae brethren were. Their biotope is—or rather was—the recording studio control room and the mixing boards. So, what is dub? Michael Veal takes us on a trip—pun intended—through the Jamaican music scene from the late s till the mids to explain how this extraordinary style evolved serendipitously from the earliest roots of reggae as an amalgamation of Latin-American, Western and African influences.
The mixes basically consisted of a recognizable drum and bass line with only sparse if any instrumental harmonic and vocal additions. In fact, adding is precisely the opposite of what the dub producers actually did, because they [End Page ] stripped pre-existing songs of their riffs, lyrics and melodic lines rather than building up a mix from scratch.
At least, that is how it all started. Fortunately, dub is much more than a list of names and a history of a music genre. The author situates the lives of the main artists and their music against the cultural and political backdrop of Jamaican history and analyzes the dialectics of music and technology.
In an extremely interesting epilogue, he explores the surprisingly wide and ongoing influence of dub on American and European popular and art music. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.
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Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae
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A great read if you are interested in the more technical side of Jamaican music- which is actually pretty low-tech. But that is it's magic. The producers made the most out of very little and in many In early s Jamaica, Osbourne "King Tubby" Ruddock, Lee "Scratch" Perry, and several other engineers took recordings of popular reggae songs or rhythm tracks and applied such studio tricks as echo Michael Veal. When Jamaican recording engineers Osbourne "King Tubby" Ruddock, Errol Thompson, and Lee "Scratch" Perry began crafting "dub" music in the early s, they were initiating a musical revolution that continues to have worldwide influence. Dub is a sub-genre of Jamaican reggae that flourished during reggae's "golden age" of the late s through the early s.