Sunday, October 21, 2007

Reverb is the Unifying Factor

The various technological, social and political factors that affect DUB, result in many different styles and definitions of this movement. However, one technique that remains consistent is the heavy use of reverberation or delay. Michael Veal states, “If fragmentation created dynamic tension in the mix, reverb was the cohering agent that held the disparate sounds together; as individual parts appear and disappear from the mix, reverberating trails of their presences provide continuity between one sound and the next.” Songs that are drastically different in mood, technique and tone still share a heavy reverb. King Tubby’s “A Ruffer Version” reflects the times of dark politics and war in Kingston when the recording studio served as a sanctuary and DUB was a powerful form of socio-political expression. Gun shots and sirens ring out though the mix while the reverb remains strong. King Jammy’s “Dub It in the Dancehall Dub” is nearly the opposite in every way but the consistent echo of the reverb. “Dancehall Dub” has a chill rhythm and upbeat melody that reflects the freedom and the high one feels in a Kingston dancehall surrounded by friends, rhythm and subwoofers.
When King Tubby first revealed delay on an amplifier he became one of the most sought out technicians in the region and soon everyone was trying to replicate his sound. Veal quotes Philip Smart, “The first time any other sound man ever heard delay, was when U-Roy came and take up the mic and say, “Your now entertained by the number one sound in the land, land, land, land, …”

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