The recent release of a (fantastic) dub version of Panda Bear and Sonic Boom’s excellent 2022 album, Reset in Dub (along with last year’s Life is Dub from Foals) made me wonder what constitutes dub music. I’m a huge reggae fan, and have enjoyed dub music for years, but I never knew what the technical definition was. I just knew that I liked it.
Dub is a form of music which evolved out of reggae in the late 1960s, though the dub sound more commonly known today did not originate until the early to mid–1970s. The dub sound consists predominantly of instrumental remixes of existing recordings and is achieved by significantly manipulating and reshaping the recordings, usually by removing the vocals from an existing music piece, emphasizing the drum and bass frequencies or ‘riddim’, adding extensive echo and reverb effects, and dubbing occasional snippets of lyrics from the original version.via Last.fm
It turns out that dub was also initially created by accident.
In 1968, Kingston, Jamaica sound system operator Rudolph “Ruddy” Redwood went to Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle studio to cut a one-off dub plate of The Paragons hit “On The Beach”. Engineer Byron Smith left the vocal track out by accident, but Redwood kept the result and played it at his next dance with his deejay Wassy toasting over the rhythm. The instrumental record excited the people at the sound system and they started singing lyrics of the vocal track over the instrumental. The invention was a success, and Ruddy needed to play the instrumental continuously for half an hour to an hour that day.via Wikipedia
Dub can be described as music that creates “soundscapes, or sound sculptures.” Hallucinatory and hypnotic, dub is a wonder for the eardrums.
I’m on the hunt for more.