WTM #1089: Dublimation

wReck thiS meSS ~ Radio Patapoe 88.3
Amsterdam ~ Ethno-Illogical Psycho-Radiographies


29 March 2010 // 16.30-18.30

“Dub was a breakthrough because the seam of its recording was
turned inside out for us to exult it”

• Kode9

Dub From the Stars > Serge Gainsbourg [Mauvaises Nouvelles des Etoiles / Mercury]
Luv n’ Liv > Dub Gabriel feat. U-Roy
Iqbal’s groove (featuring Farrah) > Dusk + Blackdown
Abyssinean Dub > Blue Asia
CSP 2Kilos&More [Entre3villes / Optical Sound]
Luv n’ Liv (Lloop Remix) > Dub Gabriel
Freak of Nature > Third Ear Audio [On A Dubmission / Dubmission]
When Did I Stop Wanting To Be President > William Burroughs [Totally Corrupt / Giorno Poetry Systems, 1976]
Circonstances / Variation 1 > Lena [Circonstances / Variations 1-4 / Sounds Around]
See Them Come > Culture [Two Sevens Clash / Shanachie]
Poor Man’s Affair Dub > Sam Ragga Band [In Dub / Echo Beach]
See Dem Dub > Culture [Two Sevens Clash / Shanachie]
Pop Muzik > M vs Dub Spencer & Trance Hill [Pop Muzik Remixes / Echo Beach]
Plasma (Freshwater Mix) > Qualia [Dubbed on Skunk Planet vinyl / Dubmission]
1000 Mile Drift  > Pitchblack vs International Observer [[On A Dubmission / Dubmission]
Freyburg Place Mat > International Observer [[On A Dubmission / Dubmission]
Backwater Dub > 100th Monkey [[On A Dubmission / Dubmission]
Love & Fire > Go Home vs Ruts DC [Re>Loaded / Echo Beach]
Vibronics Spiritunational Remix > Vibronics [Combat Dub II / Hammerbass]
Dub Politique 03 > DubAmix  / Radio Libertaire [WTM / Paris]
Billie Jean > Shinehead [Dynamite! Dancehall Style / Soul Jazz]
Thank You For Smoking > Lone Stuntman [Dubbed on Skunk Planet vinyl / Dubmission]
Guns in the Ghetto > Broadway [17 North Parade / Pressure Sounds, 1997]
Wake The Town > Fat Eyes [Dynamite! Dancehall Style / Soul Jazz]
Sweetest > Lady Saw [Dynamite! Dancehall Style / Soul Jazz]
Tete > Karekare [Karekare / Dubmission]

“dub virology, via its armory of sound effects and its generalized logic of the version, produced a cotagious diagram that has served as one of the dominant operating systems of electronic music culture since the early 1970s.”
• Steve Goodman

I continue to identify with dub or rather, dub continues to audio project my mindset, my inner core of how I prefer things, organs, projectiles to move. I relate heavily to reverb and echo as more accurate representations of reality and how we experience it. So, for me, dub is the way I was always yearning to move and be united by a sound way before I had heard dub.

I speak and write in dub. Thoughts move in clouds of reverberating electricity, they echo one another, contradict, overlap polyphonically and this I hear in the music. It may have a lax outer core that seems to consist of slack beats and wooly echo but its core is full of dialect, electricity, engagement and the search for resolution not in sound but in how sound affects psychology and how sound should reflect but also inspire behavior.

I do not have a dub lifestyle or clothing style. As friend Brad-Lay has wondered, when did life get a style and when did we all start buying lifestyles instead of living lives. Despite the marketing of dub with a look and style, it remains fairly unfetishized despite some stabs at popdom via the Police, the Orb and others. It remains immune somehow to the consumption of identity and yet I remain very taken by it, wonderfully reassured that it remains loyal to its core bass sound and relieved that it has continued to evolve into dubstep, into electrodub, into noisier circles because no genre is pure and no genre should sit still. This does not mean that some dub has just become too clean or too steeped in tradition to remain interesting. Even THESE avenues of dub can be interesting in a mix where the over-polished [eviscerated] lies next to the Ur-roots of Culture for instance, both can be enhanced by the contrast and new continuities heard. Dubstep and its sci-fi gloom is appealing because it seems to better address the current mood in a William Gibson / JG Ballard style, it has taken up the social critique that hiphop and punk no longer address since they are both solipsistically involved with their own stylistic implosions. This without foregoing the deep dingy basis of dub, which is grumble along at the bottom and see what our culture has discarded, wasted and failed to recycle. This is bottom-feeding in the best sense of the word.

Personally, I think that French and German dub are now at their apex, there seems to be a particular sympathy for the music in these 2 countries, which seems to be missing in the US/UK, etc. And it is here that dub continues to reinvent itself especially with French bands like Lena, Brain Damage, 2 Kilos, but an entire catalog of engaging bands that are not afraid to syncretically merge with other genres if it means news pulsations of stimulus.

I always talk so globally about dub as a manner of approaching the world almost, That is because it seems to be of the earth and of another world at the same time. But I can tell you that some of my profoundest experiences musically have come at live dub [reggae] performances. But at home when I am looking for music that stimulates in a relaxing manner – not lullabies – but yogic like relaxed stimulation I often turn to dub while writing. I’m actually listening to the gentle side of Coltrane as I write this but have now switched to New Dub Excursion. I think Coltrane is somehow compatible with dub at its deepest most exploratory core.

I like everything I played in this show. I like the segue between old roots acoustic/analogue dub and the newer electrodub. The first forecasts the second and the second never quite lets go of the first. I cam from a generation that was introduced to dub, actually still a realtively new genre in the mid-70s by white guys like the Clash [Police and Thieves], and then Jah Wobble and PiL, to mention just 2, then to earliest On-U through to Dub Syndicate, Clail, the Maffia but so many more right up to today’s Dubstep, which had its germination in Pop Group and Maffia grating, scraping, scathing noise dub…

On another level, listening to Gainsbourg’s dub recordings made in Jamaica with Sly & Robbie and many of the best studio musicians I hear music that was way ahead of its time and he, anomalously as a Frenchman, was one of the first white guys to fully engage the roots dub sound directly, in its home, arriving before the Clash came over… The recordings still sound fresh, engaging, subversive in a sense because it went contrary to what we had expected of Gainsbourg and that most recent fans of Gainsbourg stick to Melody Nelson or his earlier pop and jazz is a sign of this.

I must say that working with Brain Damage on the album spoken Dub Manifesto inspired me to pursue a grand project of producing an audio book version of Beer Mystic after producing the dub version of the last chapter. I have already received a backing track from Brain Damage and have a series of other musicians from other genres in mind as well to ask them for unused/discarded/raw back tracks to create the ambience of the novel and allow the characters to come alive in the sonic backdrops…
When I come to the US this summer I will be reading Echo and Reverb: Fabricating Space in Popular Music Recording, 1900-1960 by Peter Doyle and Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear (Technologies of Lived Abstraction) by Steve Goodman [aka Kode9]…

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