History of Dub
Dub reggae’s deep roots can be traced back to 1967, when King Tubby inadvertently invented the sound while cutting a test instrumental version of a reggae track.
His early dub experiments, which were usually the B-side of a single, essentially defined the genre.
He used customized sound systems and effects units to create otherworldly sounds that took unsuspecting reggae fans on a mind-expanding journey.
Tubby’s early dub versions placed primary emphasis on bottom-heavy bass and drums (the “riddim”), echoing melodies and spacious arrangements.
His wonderfully adventurous mixes brought sounds in and out like shadowy ghosts lingering on the edge of some half-remembered dream.
Tubby’s stylistic heir, notorious madman/production genius Lee “Scratch” Perry, would expand the genre’s boundaries even further.
Lee Perry, who earned his nickname from an early single called, Chicken Scratch.
Lee Perry created ludicrously inventive mixes that almost seemed to be beamed in from some distant planet.
By the late 1970s, skilled newcomers like Prince Jammy and King Tubby’s teenage protégé, Scientist, had elevated dub reggae into a viable art form all its own.
Although the sound had largely fallen out of favour in Jamaica in the early ‘80s, by then the influence of dub reggae was beginning to spread internationally.
In the new millennium, dub reggae has remained a largely underground phenomenon, but its influence can be felt all over the world.
Without dub, there wouldn’t be hip-hop, trip-hop and certainly no dubstep.
In other words, though King Tubby may have died in 1989, his irrepressible spirit of musical adventure lives on.