It was about a month ago since I last checked in on the “positive music” front, and I feel like I have an appropriate amount of new intel to share with you.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve really been grappling with some terrifying anxiety and panic attacks, enough so that I’ve missed several days of work, and have had me fearing for my very well-being. (On more than one occasion I’ve said “last goodbyes” to my wife in the morning, because I didn’t know if I was going to make it home that day).
Those feelings are starting to subside a little, as new medication and improved relaxation techniques have been taking hold, and even the little bit of sunshine poking through the clouds have helped these days.
And as the weather turns sunnier, I’ve been finding it easier to get into sunnier music — in this specific case, island music. I’ve always had a warm spot for reggae, even if it gets a little too upbeat… I’ve found that the old “Jamaica to Toronto” compilation hits the spot perfectly, in terms of the reggae being upbeat, experimental and vibrant, without the presence of too much drug or Rastafarian influences. (We can get into the discussion of if Rasta is a Christian cult or not another day).
So the one sub-genre of reggae I haven’t really explored before was the whole “dub” realm. I’ve heard of it’s proponents before, like Lee Perry and Mad Scientist, and when I went looking to fill the sunny whole in my iPod, I went to iTunes to see if there were some dub out there that I could really dig into.
Turns out, there was… despite lots and lots of sampling, I found basically two perfect “dub” records, both formed from the hands of King Tubby, one of the earlier, and more experimental dub masters. The first was “Dangerous Dub,” hailed as “The Original Dub Classic,” and the second, “Augustus Pablo Meets King Tubby at the Control,” a melodica-heavy album of Tubby’s experimentations.
Dub, to give you a quick background, was born out of reggae tracks, remixed to be without the vocals, with added echos and other effects, stretched out to endless lengths so that someone could “toast” or rap over-top of them. They push the limits of the low-end on the stereo, and create a really lush, relaxed atmosphere, easy to get lost in for hours.
I’ve sampled several other dub records, and I just can’t seem to find anything else that grips me like these King Tubby records. His albums are almost totally laid back, very bare, lots of bass rumble, lots of effects without sounding like a careening mess… any experts out there that can point me at anything else like this?