Dub reggae and cannabis were made for each other. Time for Azarius to delve deep into our collection of dusty dub records and pick five obscure albums that will blow your mind.
The low bass, slow tempo and endless echoes are one of life’s greatest pleasures if combined with some grade A ganja. Rasta’s know this, Amsterdam coffeeshops always have some dub at hand and every music lover with a bit of knowledge knows his or hers King Tubby, Lee “Scratch” Perry and Augustus Pablo. Our dub specialists want to take you into deeper territory with a selection of 5 lovely dub albums to enjoy with sunny weather and your home-grown. And to top it off we have selected a cannabis strain that should be a beautiful match with each album.
Get ready to dub it…
"In Jamaica reggae was typically enjoyed at open-air parties where sound-systems would blast the music at ear-splitting volumes."
A small introduction to dub
Not so fast, you say. What is this dub you’re talking about? In the 1960s a new musical style was created which we all know as reggae. In Jamaica reggae was typically enjoyed at open-air parties where sound-systems would blast the music at ear-splitting volumes. One popular sound-system belonged to King Tubby who would start to develop his own style of reggae by adding sound-effects and dropping out vocals. Before long Tubby and producers like Herman Chin Loy and Joe Gibbs started to make reggae records in which the original song was remixed and often completely rebuild by erasing vocal parts, foregrounding bass and drums and adding massive amounts of reverb, echo and whatever sound effects were available (clocks, mooing cows, canned laughter). In the 1970s dub would gain international popularity, influencing both disco and punk, to eventually return in a mutant form as drum ‘n bass and dubstep. If you want to read more about reggae and dub I can really recommend the book Bass Culture by Lloyd Bradley.
Now we´re really are going to dub ourselves crazy-razy-azy-zy.
1. Well Charged – Vital Dub
This 1976 album obviously gets a mention because it features cover art that leaves nothing to the imagination. Well Charged was a one-off name of The Revolutionaries, the house band of the Channel One studios, who played on hundreds of classic reggae records. Sly Dunbar (drums) and Robbie Shakespeare (bass) were the main musicians of the collective who would later gain fame as producers of pop artists like Grace Jones. Vital Dub is a lovely collection of dub instrumentals and reworkings of classic riddims which for the longest time was only available on vinyl. Powerful stuff.
Strain suggestion: Jamaican Pearl (Sensi Seeds)
2. Keith Hudson & Third World Product – Rebel Dub
On to a real obscure album. In the 1970s Keith Hudson gained the nickname Dark Prince of Reggae, mainly as a result of his pessimistic, political and at times depressing lyrics. Hudson produced one of the first pure dub albums (Pick A Dub) and went on to experiment with other musical genres on Too Expensive. Rebel Dub is a great dub album on which Hudson split sides with Third World Product. It floats some great musical ideas like the amazing tribal drum workout on ‘Callie Rocker Dub’. Sadly it’s only available on vinyl.
Strain suggestion: Doctor Jamaica (Vision Seeds)
3. Ossie All Stars – Leggo Dub
Ossie Hibbert was a keyboardist who made a nice echo-heavy dub album in 1977 by teaming up with The Revolutionaries. Many dub albums used the basic tracks of then-popular hits and completely reworked them to personal taste, here for instance ‘I'm All Right’ by singer Gregory Isaacs. Leggo Dub is a nice chilled dub album which is peppered with plenty of echo and original sound effects like barking dogs, claxons and streaming water.
Strain suggestion: Dance World (Royal Queen Seeds)
4. Tradition – Captain Ganja & The Space Patrol
This is a real fun dub album. Tradition was a British song-based reggae group. In 1980 they had a go at a dub album and created something of a lost masterpiece. For the imaginatively titled Captain Ganja & The Space Patrol the group went for a science fiction themed sound. The result is a very relaxed and uplifting music full of spacey effects for which they used a primitive Roland sampler. For years the album was impossible to find but luckily it got reissued in 2017.
Strain suggestion: Nebula (Paradise Seeds)
5. Various Artists – Macro Dub Infection Vol.1
During the 1990s dub made something of a comeback when it inspired new electronic artists in different genres like house, jungle and trip-hop. These ideas were assembled on the sprawling 1995 collection Macro Dub Infection Vol. 1. This collection is one of the most adventurous and diverse (double)albums you can find, with contributions by junglists like Omni Trio, industrial legends Coil, rappers New Kingdom, indie experimentalists Tortoise and outsiders like Tricky. ‘The Paranormal in 4 Forms’ by 4 Hero, a DMT-induced jungle maze of rhythm and effects, surely must be ranked as one of the wildest tracks ever. Keep your eyes out for this in second-hand shops.
Strain suggestion: Green Crack (Humboldt)
Don't forget to leave other suggestions or your favourite dub albums in the comments!
Author: El Duque
Photo by Dubdem e FabDub (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)