General thoughts about dub

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Alchemical Master
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Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2021 10:18 pm

General thoughts about dub

Post by Alchemical Master » Sun Jun 20, 2021 10:39 pm

Just wanted to join up and write up some thoughts about dub reggae music.

For many years, people have been chasing THAT sound. You know the one. The only one that's actually authentic. And, generally, they've been failing.

So I've seen the video of that guy who tapes up the snare drum to make the Roots Radics sound. I know exactly what this means. Only one or two guys could tell you how to do that. So why did he/they wait? $$$$$

Well, when this interruptor forum and website was started, a long time ago, the internet wasn't new but it wasn't as commonplace as it is right now. People tried to share gossip and hearsay about how to create THAT sound. Some of it was accurate, but it was generally useless information. People were untrained in music and sound engineering but really loved dub reggae music. OR DID THEY?

Fact is, let's call a spade a spade, the majority of people on the internet researching dub production techniques at the time were not black. They were mostly wealthy white people. Is this why "the man" didn't come forward for all these years? You know who I'm talking about...

Anyway, did they really enjoy dub reggae music? Did I really enjoy dub reggae music, at the time? I would say, yes and no. Look at all this dub music from the 1990s and early 2000s. It was house/techno music with powerful bass, often wall-to-wall synth bass that didn't resemble actual reggae basslines but which sounded awesome in the right environment. That was it. No connection to Jamaica at all EXCEPT for the skank/bubble chords.

How was reggae music invented? It came from ska and rocksteady. Ska and rocksteady have those choppy rhythm guitar chords called the skank. With reggae, that's slowed down and you get bubble organ AND BASSLINES. Awesome basslines, right?

So let's go back to those times. Late 90s early 2000s. Untrained people with no connection to Jamaica but generally well-intentioned people open to Rastafari, etc. They were not only white people, but blacks too. Drum machines were sufficient with those basslines. The sound systems making their own music even used general MIDI wavetable. Roland MIDI wavetable sounds! Hard-locked and quantised! No musical skill or input, but SO WHAT?! It was a replacement for the end of the house/techno/acid rave scene, that's all. A way to enjoy drugs. People just jumped up and down.

Did anyone even care about how to tape up a snare? Not the people who enjoyed the music. It's a nerd thing, that's all.

Back then, people had a lot of money and no idea. They bought these analog consoles, even Tascam cassette multitracks, when their computer could do it all. It was naivete and gullibility - nothing more. They bought valve gear. They bought Roland Space Echo. They listened to those awesome LSP 1970s recordings. But it was just a rich boi thing. An expensive hobby, that's all. This is not a criticism as I have a very expensive hobby too. If you can afford it, why not.

So what's different now? Simples. People no longer spending money on Ebay tat, but instead handing it over to that man. That man, whose music, 90% of it, isn't played on sound systems and isn't enjoyed to this day. His music (most of it) is a dud. About 10% is good, and half of that 10% is awesome. You know the guy. This guy is a legend in his own mind. Whatever.

Just don't forget that what made the old days awesome was that they were fun. A drum machine can be fun. Steppers (digital) is fun. That guy only thinks he's giving you "prestige" or "glamour". Don't play his game play your own. There are gaps in real reggae bass lines. Big pauses. There are not necessarily any gaps in synthesized bass lines which drove everyone crazy in the days of early 2000s sound systems. The skank is the Jamaican element in dub reggae music but the only relevance it ever had in sound system dances in your time is that it was a pause while everyone rolled a spliff and waited for the bassline to hit. And there was no Jamaican reggae dancing going on there. Just jumping and wild flailing. That was what people wanted, and what they enjoyed. Of course, you need to have attended sound system dances to understand this. It's more the power and less the precision. So who really cares how to tape up a snare. There are more fun ways to spend your money.

End of rant, these are just my thoughts and your view may differ. Thanks for your attention

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