Innovation. Experimentation. Evolution.
This is the heart and soul of dub music - the ever-mutating DNA that provides the code for new dubplates. Innovators constantly reset the standards for dub music and challenge new artists and DJs to break the code and produce new forms of dub. Dub music isn't just an art form, it is also a science. Some of the most elementary figures in dub call their studios laboratories, and carry names like The Scientist, The Mad Professor, BushChemist, Dubtronic Science, the Vienna Scientists.
The following list represents some of dubsession's favorite artists. Each one of these artist and groups represent innovative experiments into new musical territory. As dub evolves, new dub innovators com on the scene and new genres emerge such as trip hop, ambient dub, acid jazz, downtempo, dub house, and even 64 bit dubs using Commodore64 computer sounds (see Jahtari.com). Artists will be added weekly so check back dubsession.com for new profiles.
-DJ Chill Will
Lee "Scratch" Perry/Black Ark Studio
Some call him a genius, others claim he's certifiably insane, a madman. Truth is, he's both, but more importantly, Lee Perry is a towering figure in reggae,a producer, mixologist, and songwriter that, along with King Tubby helped shape the sound of dub, and made reggae music such a powerful part of the pop music world. Along with producing some of the most influential acts Bob Marley and the Wailers and the Cogos to name but two) in reggae history, Perry’s approach to production and dub mixing was breathtakingly innovative and audacious no one else sounds like him and while many claim that King Tubby invented dub, there are just as many who would argue (myself included) that no one experimented with it or took it further than did Lee Perry. The man called Scratch lives in Switzerland and continues to cook up a psychedelic brew of music that, along with being ahead of its time, will warp your head, in a good way, assuming that you're up to the challenge.
Sly & Robbie/Taxi Gang
The Ryddym Twins
Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare, it really was an earth-shattering union. Their rhythms have been the driving force behind innumerable songs -- one statistician estimated that together they've played on approximately 200,000 tracks, and that doesn't count remixes, versions, and dubs. As a production team, the pair has been the equivalent of a creative storm, the cutting edge of modern dub, ragga, and dancehall. Dunbar and Shakespeare linked in 1975, but by then they'd already become established figures on the Jamaican scene. Sly and Robbie have their own production label called Taxi. On this label, the Taxi All Stars (aka the Roots Radics) included guitarist Rad Bryan, percussionist Sticky Thompson, and keyboardists Ansel Collins and Winston Wright. In addition to being producers at Taxi, Sly & Robbie continued their outside session work. Before the decade was out, the Riddim Twins, as they were now being called, were providing the pulsing rhythms for albums from such legendary vocalists as Bunny Wailer, the Mighty Diamonds, Jacob Miller, and myriad of DJ stars including General Echo, Ranking Dread, and Barrington Levy. However, their most crucial work was in conjunction with Black Uhuru, who, throughout this period, had recorded a stream of seminal singles for Taxi -- "Shine Eye Girl" and "Plastic Smile" amongst them -- which would be gathered up for the group's Showcase album. Across the group's powerful albums -- Sinsemilla, Red, and Tear It Up Live -- Dunbar's heavy beats, and Shakespeare's sinuous bass, the heart and soul of the Revolutionaries' sound, lay at the core of Black Uhuru's music, while the duo's throbbing, deeply dread production perfectly twined round the group's own phenomenal vocal performance.
A mastery of electronic gadgetry has been expressed through the imaginative recordings produced by Mad Professor (born: Neil Fraser). Working from his own studios, Mad Professor has overseen more than one hundred albums including ground-breaking remixes for Massive Attack, Sade and Pato Banton. A native of Guyana, Mad Professor earned his professional name for his childhood fascination for electronics. At the age of nine or ten, he built a radio from scratch. Moving to London, at the age of thirteen, Mad Professor continued to experiment with electronics. Although he bought a semi-professional reel to reel tape recorder in 1975, he was unable to record in sync. This prompted him to purchase more and more equipment. By the following year, he had begun experimenting with dubbing. Over the years, Mad Professor's studio, which he named "Ariwa", after the Nigerian word for sound, has continued to evolve. Opened in a south London house in 1979, it moved to a much larger space in the Peckham ghetto the following year. During the four years that the studio remained at the site, Mad Professor found that the seemingly unsafe location cost him much of his clientele. After a brief return to the original house, the studio relocated to its present site in Whitehorse Lane. Mad Professor continues to tour and do remixes for a diverse group of artists.
Adrian Sherwood/On U Sound
Adrian Sherwood is a producer and mixer who has been involved in many UK reggae, dub, experimental, indie, new wave, industrial, electronica, big beat and modern day blues productions since the second half of the 1970's. After starting in the reggae record distribution business and guided into production by the legendary Jamaican Dee Jay Prince Far I he set up his own On.U Sound label in 1980 and with very little money but a band of keen young musicians started issuing records by the likes of Dub Syndicate, African Head Charge, the New Age Steppers, Mark Stewart & The Maffia, London Underground and the Singers & Players. In more recent times he's worked with Audio Active, Little Axe, Tackhead, Gary Clail and the Revolutionary Dub Warriors amongst others and to this day continues to carve a distinctive sound to the music he produces often using mixing desk effects and reverbs that catch the ear and sometimes make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. While his own label's work has a fairly select following of listeners around the world he increasingly also appears as a guest producer or mixer for more well known acts such as Primal Scream, Depeche Mode, Sinead O'Connor, Asian Dub Foundation, Nine Inch Nails, Shane MacGowan, Garbage and Blur to name a selection and similarly has brought his well respected production and mixing skills to a wider audience.
Coldcut are Jonathan More and Matt Black. From 1987 with their ground-breaking debut single 'Say Kids, What Time is it?' - the first sample-built record in the UK - to the development of their own video sample software, VJamm, Coldcut have blurred and challenged the rules of zentertainment - constantly ignoring boundaries and restlessly trying new techniques. Coldcut's record label NinjaTune is an innovative, laid-back, collection of artists, including the old school London Funk Allstars, the jazz-fused hip-hop of The Herbaliser, the out-there pervbeat contortions of Funki Porcini, the slo-mo abstract beats of DJ Vadim, the Latin party vibe of Up, Bustle and Out, and more recently, the fun inspired sounds of the inimitable Mr Scruff. Also scratchappy Kid Koala, Chocolate Weasel and Ambient ambassador Mixmaster Morris. In March 2000, Coldcut were invited to join the BBC's new radio station: London Live, and their new show, comprising a mixture of their own and guest mixes, is net cast every Monday night via the www.bbc.co.uk/londonlive website from 12am to 2am GMT, adding another legion of worldwide listeners. The maxim "fuck dance let's art" points to their new synthesis of art and culture and they are currently working on new software, music and art installations.
Kruder & Dorfmeister/G-Stone Records
Kruder & Dorfmeister are mainly known through their successful dj-sets and a respectable record of vinyl-releases since 1993. A dubplate-melting factor from Vienna. Two producers/djs/remixers whose distinctive trademark sound is at most times extremely mellow, has a lot of bass, downbeat tracks and a sense of epic soundscapes. There might be the occasional double-time breaks and the heavy and deep typically viennese feeling. Consider K&D to roam in their own, unique realm of musical beutekunst that owes and gives a lot to rare funk tunes, electric jazz arrangements, the feeling of deep soul, hiphop, dub, reggae, ambient, fusion, brazil, chansons, dope beats and drum+bass and still a lot more influences that happen to find the interest of the two austrians. At a time when hip hopbeats started to emancipate themselves from the rapping and everyone started to pay highest attention to the blooming breakbeat scene in the UK, K&D broke through out of nowhere with one 4-track e.p. (G-stoned) that featured a hypnotic track called High Noon and a cover that showed the dj-duo in true Simon & Garfunkel form, straight out of Richard Avedon anno 1969. The impact was massive, especially since the first wave of enthusiasm came from the UK where musical imports from the continent are seldom appreciated. Gilles Peterson played the track at first on his famous now called Worldwide-show. They have remixed with the Ninja tune posse, touched base with the leftfield dance, befriended Munich's Compost crew, remixed artists as diverse as Bomb the bass, Bones thugs & harmony, Alex Reece, United Future Organisation, Rockers Hifi (the K&D version was used in the video of "Going under"), Lamb, Roni Size, and Depeche Mode.
Fila Brasillia/Pork Recordings
Friends since the 1980's, Steve Cobby and Dave McSherry joined forces to collaborate on a number of musical endeavours as Fila Brazillia in the early 90's. Both were experienced musicians in a number of local bands before deciding to produce their own unique style of dance music. Fila's music at times is often difficult to define, but it's a sound that has travelled beyond the city boundaries gaining them a global fan base. In September 2004, Fila celebrated the release of their 10th album, Dicks. The duo, who have never been afraid to experiment, have over the years utilised the skills and experience of the city's musicians. Fila serves up some of the finest down-tempo, funk, and jazz-flavored grooves, as showcased on a host of albums, including their latest, Jump Leads (on 23 Records).
Thievery Corporation/ESL Music
Thievery Corporation make abstract, instrumental, mid-tempo dance music somewhere between trip-hop and acid jazz. The production duo of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, Thievery Corporation released a few warmly received singles on their own Eighteenth Street Lounge (ESL) label (named for their Washington, D.C. bar and nightclub) in 1996. Previously known primarily among acid jazz and rare-groove DJs, the group shot to minor celebrity when a track from one of their early 12"'s appeared on respected DJ/producers Kruder & Dorfmeister's mix session for Studio K7's DJ Kicks series. Similar in many respects (and more than just number) to that Viennese production duo, Thievery Corporation subsequently grew in popularity among a wider audience of DJs and headphonaunts. Their debut full-length appeared in 1997, along with a compilation of Washington, D.C.-based electronica artists, Dubbed Out in DC (both on ESL). After 4AD signed the duo they began work on their second LP but were forced to postpone the release date after tapes were stolen in a mugging. The stopgap remix compilation Abductions & Reconstructions was released in 1999, and their second proper album The Mirror Conspiracy followed a year later. Their growing fame made them a natural to select tracks for the 2001 Verve compilation Sounds From the Verve Hi-Fi, and one year later, the duo returned with a third production LP, The Richest Man in Babylon. The mix album Outernational Sound and remix EP Babylon Rewound appeared in 2004. The Cosmic Game from 2005 featured guest vocalists Perry Farrell, the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne, and David Byrne.
Boozoo Bajou/Stereo Deluxe
Since 1997 the duo Peter Heider and Florian Seyberth aka BOOZOO BAJOU caught the eye of DJ's and other hipsters through the release of three twelve inch records (Night over Manaus, Under my Sensi & Divers) which brought a whole lot of club-play and smaller notification all over the world. After bringing BOOZOO BAJOU on the road by djing all over the world in 2002 the group got lots of requests for a compilation CD of their favourite tracks by other artists. Subsequently they released JUKE JOINT a 20 piece mix compilation in spring 2003 which again got a worldwide positive feedback especially due to the wooden box which was the packaging for the limited edition. The release of THE REMIXES which was the last BOOZOO BAJOU closes the SATTA era for BOOZOO BAJOU. That CD features also recent remixes done by BOOZOO BAJOU for other artists like Tosca, Mousse T., Trüby Trio or Common & Mary J. Blige. During 2003 BOOZOO BAJOU played a whole lot of live DJ shows (for example with Cinematic Orchestra in Berlin or at Vienna's Dubclub) and did a few more remixes for Tony Joe White, Henry Manchini and Nelly Furtado. Rumors indicate they have returned to their small studio in the north of Nuremberg to work on tracks for the next album.
Dhizan & Kamien/Couch Records
Vlado dZihan and Mario Kamien became friends in Vienna in the early 90s, as music students. Soon after they formed MC Sultan and it became obvious that their music reflects that city’s position as the crossroads of East and West. The band released one CD, SUPER ETHNO ASTRONAUT, which featured the club classic DER BAUCH, hailed as an ‚epic’ by the press. In 1998 they established themselves as dZihan & Kamien and set up their own label – COUCH RECORDS After hanging around Vienna, London and Istanbul with guesting vocalists and musicians, they presented us with GRAN RISERVA, a magical blend of sparkling cool jazz, groovy dancefloor beats and compulsive Eastern spices. Recently dZihan & Kamien have produced FAKES, a two-way manouver, that strategically displays the depth and width of their operational field. On one side a collection of sublime remixes that dZihan & Kamien have made during the last couple of years - on the other their own tracks wrapped in the vintage style by improvisational skill of BRUT IMPERIAL QUINTET.
Scientist / Blood & Fire
Overton Brown was only 16 years old when producer/performer Errol "Don" Mais discovered and used the considerable talents of this adolescent dub whiz. Born in Kingston in 1960, the Scientist learned basic electronics from his TV repairman father, skills that made him very popular with the mobile DJs and their not-always-functioning sound systems. A friend suggested he visit the legendary dub producer/mixer King Tubby, not to remix records, but to get some transformers by which Scientist could build his own amplifiers. Soon the Scientist was an employee of Tubby's, fixing transformers and televisions, when one day, after an animated conversation about mixing records, Tubby challenged the Scientist to take a shot at remixing a record. Brimming with adolescent bravado, Scientist took Tubby's challenge, and that led to an extended apprenticeship in dub experimentation under Tubby's guidance. It was while at Tubby's that the Scientist developed his idiosyncratic dub style, playful and very psychedelic, loaded with echo explosions and blasts of feedback, a sound that caught the attention of Don Mais, who overheard the Scientist at the mixing board during a visit to Tubby's studio. With Mais supervising the production, Scientist, now all of 18, cut some wicked dub sides for the Roots Tradition label. At the end of the '70s, Scientist (now also referred to as "The Dub Chemist") left Tubby's to become the main engineer at Channel One Studios, and working with Henry "Junjo" Lawes, cut some best-selling dub LPs, only to leave for the greener pastures of Tuff Gong in 1982. In 1985, Scientist moved to Silver Springs, Maryland, where he lives and works as a recording engineer.
Dub Syndicate / On U Sound
Drummer Style Scott joined Adrian Sherwood's influential On-U Sound dub label in the late '70s and played on Sherwood's influential releases as the New Age Steppers (with vocalist Bim Sherman, horn player Deadly Headley, melodica player Dr. Pablo, and a large guest lineup). Scott later formed his own band, Dub Syndicate, which soon became -- with the possible exception of African Headcharge -- On-U Sound's most popular act. Though not a group per se, Style Scott and producer Sherwood explore reggae, dub and dancehall by collaborating with some of reggae and dub's greatest talents, including Lee "Scratch" Perry, Skip McDonald, U-Roy and, in a bit of posthumous sampling of an old friend, Prince Far I (on 1990's Stoned Immaculate). Debut album Pounding System (1982) and the following year's One Way System were both reissued in America by ROIR. A project with Dr. Pablo titled North of the River Thames didn't earn a domestic release, but 1985's Tunes from the Missing Channel was licensed to EMI. On-U Sound, in conjunction with the American label Restless, began an ambitious reissue effort with three volumes of the Classic Selection series but continued to make new Dub Syndicate projects such as From the Secret Laboratory and Stoned Immaculate available only on import. In 2000, the performance album Live at the Maritime Hall was released. The next album, Acres of Space was recorded in Jamaica and mixed by long-time collaborator, Adrian Smith. Murder Tone from 2002 collected classic and unreleased tracks and was followed two years later by the new album No Bed of Roses. Pure Thrill Seekers appeared in 2005 with guest shots from Luciano, Cornell Campbell, and Gregory Isaacs.
Future Artist Profiles:
In the future, this section will include artist profiles including: King Tubby, Uroy, Augustus Pablo, Prince Jammy, Black Uhuru, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Cottonbelly, Roni Size, Sofa Surfers, J. Boogie's Dubtronic Science, Smith & Mighty and Salmonella Dub.
Dub Recording Labels
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