For #AuxSons, Dubmatix deconstructs the disparate elements, which, put together, have ended up composing the Dub signature!
1. Quakers - Approach With Caution (Stalag Riddim Remix) ft. Sampa the Great
« What struck me more was the singer on this track, Sampa The Great. This song was my introduction to her music and voice and I’ve been playing her music regularly on my radio show and my personal playlists and what grabbed my attention was her unique delivery of lyrics, the sound of her voice and focus on shining a light on issues of importance. It doesn’t hurt that the riddim is a classic. »
2. Augustus Pablo - King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown
« It was the album King Tubby meets Rockers Uptown that altered my world. The deep bass lines and the syncopated drum groove with the “flying cymbal” aka “flyers” style created by drummer Santa Davis captivated and hooked me for life. Behind the music, I was hearing was King Tubby, one of the pioneers of dub who helped propel it into the musical consciousness of people worldwide. It was this album that made me want to create dub, and years later, become Dubmatix. »
3. The Specials - Ghost Town
« I discovered this gem a few years after its release but again, as so many great songs do, it grabbed me by the shirt collar and shook me to the core.
It was my best friend who had copy of the 12” vinyl and it was unlike anything I’d heard before - the slow, haunting drum & bass groove, halloween-esque background vocals sounding like they’d come straight ouf of the Wizard of Oz and the very low-key main vocals. This was on my walkman nonstop, headphones embedded into my skull, and would listen over and over, taking in the music, the arrangements, the production and the mixing. »
4. Led Zeppelin - Good Times Bad Times
« I would periodically sift through my father’s record collection and I come across this album cover with a Zeppelin going down in flames. It was visually striking and I wanted to hear what was behind this very cool artwork. I’d never heard of Led Zeppelin and was not prepared for what was about to come out of my speakers. I dropped the needle and out came this bombastic, mind-bending song, full of raw power and electricity. John Bonham’s drumming was blowing my young mind, the rapid-fire kick-drum work, Page’s nuclear guitar sound, and work, the wailing vocals of Plant, ripping apart dimensions, and the rock-solid bassline of John Paul Jones came together in one moment to create a life-long fan. I would go on to listen to this album on repeat for years to come and still to this day I can hear this song and remember the feeling I had when it first hit my ears. »
5. Jimi Hendrix Experience - Purple Haze
« The music is bold - Mitch Mitchell’s jazz-inspired rock drumming was musical and melodic which paired perfectly with Jimi’s electrifying guitar playing. It was the sound of his guitar, the sound of the mix, and the power that three musicians could create as one unit. On top of that, you had Jimi’s voice. It’s raw, not particularly soulful when compared to Al Greene or Aretha Franklin, but it was the ONLY voice that would have worked with the music - he used his voice as a 4th instrument that was just as soulful as his guitar playing. It was also the use of effects - the wah-wah pedal, guitar feedback, the whammy bar, echo/delay and reverb that helped craft an experimental, boundary-pushing new sound. The use of these effects are what would become part of the DNA of dub just a few years later which it probably why I instantly understand dub music. »
6. Pachyman - Destroy The Empire
« I discovered Pachyman’s music during the past year and I am hooked. He’s meticulously recreated the vintage sounds of 70s-era Kingston Jamaica in his music - the instrumentation, use of echo, verb, mixing, and performances all with that tasty slight “wobble” that you’d get from an old tape. hWhen I watch his videos, he reminds me of a young me, recording and playing all the instruments, writing the music, and mixing/dubbing it all. You can hear his passion for music, the legendary studios, engineers, and musicians who placed Jamaican music on the global map.
He’s nailed that classic sound and his songs have that special quality that has now become part of the catalog of well-crafted dub and dub-inspired releases. »
7. Bob Marley - Jammin
« I’m 11 years old and have heard all types of music, including Bob Marley, being played in the family house but this one song captivated me. The tempo and pacing of the performances were so laid back and funky. »
8. Idles - Well Done
« I’d listened to a lot of Punk music as a kid - Sex Pistols, Explloited, Suicidal Tendencies, Dead Kennedys, and on but it’d been a long time since I heard punk music that had spanned the decades to not only maintain that original ethos and idealogy of what punk was and is but modernize it without losing the intensity. The Idles accomplished exactly that. This was the first track I heard and there was just something about it that had me listening to it over and over. The seeming simplicity was a mask for the intricacies and attention to detail that I’ve found throughout their music. What strikes me is their use of the age-old use of dynamics - stripped down, calmer verses, and then BAM - the hammer drops for the chorus so it leaves you anticipating it each time. The yin and yang. You’re listening and waiting until you feel it pop off for the chorus. Euphoric. »
9. Digable Planets - 9th Wonder (Blackitolism)
« Coming up in the “golden age era” of hip-hop in the late ’80s, and early 90s, there was a plethora of groups experimenting with incorporating deeper vinyl samples and styles: Native Tongues - A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Jungle Brothers alongside Guru, Black Sheep, Public Enemy, Digable Planets and many others. It was an incredible moment in time that brought forth so many classic tracks and during that time of experimentation was the Digable Planets, going from their first release in 1993, Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space), a more mainstream, but the excellent album to 1994’s Blow Out Com where you see DP pivot musically, and lyrically - focusing on a sound that was darker and lyrics that brought more consciousness.
9th Wonder has that slinky, dirty synth line to kick off followed by a laid back, swaggering drum groove, and tasteful use of a simple bass line that climbs down then back up all topped by the three MCs bringing riding the groove with conscious lyrics. »
10. The Clash - London Calling
« To this day I’m not sure when the first time I heard The Clash would have been or where. It might have been a local radio station or a friend but the first song I heard by The Clash was London Calling. This was my introduction to a band that would remain placed high on a shelf, like a trophy in my life, a song that made such an impact on people worldwide, myself included, a song that remains an anthem to this day and to a kid in his early teens, this is where I wanted to be - on the Clash train, barreling full steam ahead.
What fascinated me was the diversity of the album as a whole, nothing made sense but it all made sense. There seemed to be no continuity to my ears at first but as I continued to listen over and over, these songs and that album became part of my consciousness.
You went from the highly charged political song “London Calling” to “Brand New Cadillac” an updated 50s song (which I assume was the intent) to “Jimmy Jazz”, a pseudo-lounge jam to the very blatant messaging of “Hateful”, and on it went with all of the other songs that make up this ambitious double album. »
11. Burning Spear - Marcus Garvey
« I was in my mid-teens and had already been deeply into Marley when I was introduced to Burning Spear. The first moment I heard the lead-off track “Marcus Garvey” I was mesmerized.
What was happening here? What were these sounds emanating from my speakers? This didn’t sound like any of the polished Marley albums I’d been playing on repeat.
What made this album different?
It’s a lot of small things that add up to something revelatory and evocative - horns that are ever so slightly out of tune invoking a mournful tone, subtle use of reverb rather than drenched, a touch of delay on the vocals without being overt, a lyrical message accompanied by militant beat where the drums and bass don’t waver.
This is a freight train coming right at you and you either jump on board or step aside. Even as I sit here writing this after years of listening I still get chills. »