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Old 07-05-2002, 04:05 AM   #1
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SpaceMonkeyz vs Gorillaz

For the Gorillaz and/or dub music fans out there, "Laika Come Home" a remixed all-dub version of the Gorillaz album is out. I just listened to a bunch of tracks on spacemonkey radio and I like it so much I changed my avatar. The new songs are quite different from the originals. Ive been getting into dub lately as it is so I am really looking forward to this one. It's already out in the UK and it comes out on July 16th here in the US.

listen to spacemonkeyz radio here:

This is kinda long but I think its interesting and it ties into the subject:


There is a famous story of a Rastaman and a hippie dancing at a reggae concert. The hippie dances wildly, flapping his arms and moving frantically. The hippie's expressive dancing irritates the chilled-out Rastaman, who, when accidentally struck by the hippie's hand, finally tells him to stand still and dance. This is precisely what one must do when listening to reggae: stand still and dance. Reggae is less dance music and more soul music. It's the soul, not the body, that dances when one listens to Bunny Wailer or the Roots Radics or the Itals. Reggae is so preoccupied with the soul (its condition, its qualities, its shivers and shades) that a whole subcategory of the music is devoted to reproducing soul worlds or geist dimensions. That subcategory is dub.

Born in the late '60s--the very moment that the reggae rhythm (or "riddim") dramatically decelerated from heated ska and rock-steady tempos--by the mid '70s, dub was a fully developed art produced in two different ways, but with identical results: the evocation of a lost African paradise. One mode was the remix of a reggae song; the other was the production of an original dub track. Remixing (or versioning, as it was called) came slightly earlier, and was invented by King Tubby (Osbourne Ruddock). King Tubby, as Lloyd Bradley explains in his recent book This Is Reggae Music: The Story of Jamaica's Music, "didn't produce anything, he simply worked on master tapes other producers would bring him.... This," he adds, "was the genesis of the remix that, years later, would come to dominate certain areas of music." The first masterpiece from this production style was King Tubby's Meets Rockers Uptown (1976).

Original dub, on the other hand, uses a band, with the dubmeister operating as song producer. The great Lee "Scratch" Perry, who got props on the Beastie Boys' Hello Nasty (he sings on the last track, called "Dr. Lee, Ph.D."), was the instigator of this form of dub, and his masterpiece, indeed one of the greatest LPs ever made, is Super Ape (1976).

Dub is not only more soulful than reggae but more scientific. This is why Lee "Scratch" Perry's famous comment that dub is "the musical x-ray" rings true. In one sense, "x-ray" captures the medical or surgical side of dub science: Dub opens a popular reggae song, exposes its internal organs, and reorganizes them into a new mix. This remixing is done with the experimental zeal of a chemist, or better, a mad professor in a laboratory.

"X-ray" also calls to mind the mechanical or technical side of dub art. Dub is only made possible by, and is wholly dependent on, recording technology. Indeed, particularly in the early days, dub demanded a substantial knowledge of recording technology, because the equipment used was not designed for dubbing and had to be modified to meet the music's specific needs.

Both version and original dub's reliance on recording machines makes dub the "orchid in the land of technology" par excellence. This is not just because it produces an illusion, but because the "orchid" we glimpse in the dub haze is the image of Eden--an Eden generated by the heat of electronic processes. If reggae is preoccupied with the soul, then dub is the condition of the soul, and what the soul longs for are the African kingdoms of the ancient past. Numerous dub songs are sonic orbs of ancient cities ruled by benevolent black kings. In this respect, recording technology operates like a time machine, sending listeners back to a pre-European black paradise.

Jamaican dub peaked in the mid-'70s, and by the late '70s the form began a second life in Great Britain. Dub music was not only continued and elaborated on by a new generation of U.K. dubmeisters, like Mad Professor and Adrian Sherwood, but its presence profoundly influenced English pop sensibilities. Its spacy effects were employed on pop hits like "Walking on the Moon" (1979) and "Voices Inside My Head" (1980) by the Police, "This City Never Sleeps" (1983) by the Eurythmics, and "Bela Lugosi's Dead" (1979) by Bauhaus. (In these songs, dub was employed to create a sense of alienation and vertigo.) Bauhaus' brilliant "She's in Parties" (1979) used the reggae/version model developed by King Tubby in the late '60s. The song starts with the original song ("She's in Parties") and then dissolves into a sinister dub version.
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