We are always happy to highlight genres and subgenres of music that exist out there in the big, loud world, and nothing makes us happier than sharing an increasingly popular genre in Malta simply known as “dub”.
Very close to the origins of the already well-established reggae scene on the island, this genre is kicking off in Malta, bringing along refreshing genres and more depth to live performances. We have included a select dub tunes picked out by Malta’s key dub promoters, Bass Culture, as well as other nice finds.
What is dub?
Dub is an electronic subgenre of reggae music that is based off instrumental adaptations that formed in the late 60’s and 70’s Jamaica. It is one of the first types of music to be made from electronic equipment, playing a big role in the record culture that we are seeing such a revival of today. Dub plates, or single tracks, were records that had no other copy. They would be produced, recorded and played through sound systems of which music labels attracted huge fame on the island.
In 1967 Kingston, Ruddy Redwood, a self-made and sound engineer was playing at a local club, when he put on the B-side of a defect record that only played the beat, or the riddim instead of the full tune. Being one of the first to guys on the dub scene, Ruddy played this record over and over to a very happy singing and dancing crowd, in what became one of the first examples of dub being played to the people of Jamaica. The riddim was an essential part of a song stripped down to an essence that laid the base for all future dub tunes.
For a comprehensive article on the origins of Dub and fantastic old school dub recommendations from Bob Marley and the Wailers, check out David Katz’s article here.
Ruddy’s experiment in the club was soon broadcasted across the island on custom engineered amplifiers, bringing powerful rhythm, blues and dub to Caribbean street parties, along with other early forms of electronic music. Echo, reverberations and short sound and music samples were also added. This accelerated after dub’s roots found their way to the UK with Jamaican immigrants, leading to a massive spread of its influence.
Some examples of the reach of dub’s influence:
Reggae fusion is a wide-ranging genre without a solid definition that has notably perforated the international music scene with Bob Marley’s talented offspring. What we know is that aside from the name, it has nothing to do with lounge music.
We’ve linked one song, but we really recommend you throw on the whole album and float away.
As Josh Baines from Thump UK put it, “techno dub is intentionally unobtrusive, acting intentionally as background music. It’s aural wallpaper. It is placid, unquestioning, deeply soothing. Recondite comes to mind.
Looking for Dub in Malta?
With Dub’s essential reggae character, there is no doubt that you will come across Dub being played at one of Malta’s reggae bars. Head to Ta Fra Ben on weekends, Funky Monkey to catch Bass Culture playing or Zion Reggae Bar just about anytime to catch a dub tune playing. That’s island life for you.
Upcoming Dub events:
June 24 – Bass Culture presents Panda Dub & Tetra Hydro K (live) at Tigulio, St. Julians, Malta
July 7 – Sunscape Festival 2017 – Atlantis Calling, Ramla Bay, Gozo