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Dubstars Vol. 1: From Dub to Disco & From Disco to Dub

EB 069CD EB 069CD

Although there is no doubt that dub originates from the small Caribbean island of Jamaica, there are many different versions about the exact moment of its invention. Echo Beach has put together this compilation in an attempt at tracing the historical line from dub to disco and pop, and back again. This circuitous journey may have started with producer Lee "Scratch" Perry, who was dozing off at the beach, and a coconut fell from a tree, hitting him directly on the head. Perhaps this created an astonishing echo in his skull that distorted the received frequencies to a highly psychedelic effect. Why not start with dubifying Terence Trent D'Arby, a multi-instrumentalist and gifted singer who had some insights in dub science? Or perhaps dub originated with François Kevorkian, who mixed with echo, delay, phasers and filters, all for the benefit of dancefloor bliss. Or perhaps the world really first heard dub with Grace Jones' dub version of "She's Lost Control," based on an original composition by a band whose sonic signature writer Simon Reynolds regarded as the whitest sound possible: Manchester's Joy Division, who, after the tragic death of their singer, later became New Order. Mick Hucknall was present at the legendary Sex Pistols gig in Manchester where we also find the later members of Joy Division, with On-U-Sound's Adrian Sherwood -- who both produced the dub version of Simply Red's "Picture Book In Dub." Hucknall creates a dialogue between voice and harmonics by punching them in and out of the track in turn while majestic horns hover over the ballad-like riddim. But maybe it all started with Will Powers, where his treatment of hi-hats and crash-ash-ash-ash-cymbals are reminiscent of King Tubby's, as they fade away into space echo. Or maybe Talking Heads started it all: "Once In A Lifetime" is based on an edgy Afro beat and melts down to a hellish cocktail of potent sensimilla, tranquilizers and crystal meth. This riddim is a challenge to the daring dubmeister, but here it is, once again, the glorious original. Meanwhile in England, in the steel town of Sheffield, soon to be the birthplace of Warp records, Cabaret Voltaire was founded in 1973. The negative side of rock 'n' roll, which, by the mid-'80s, led them to dub. Even mod Paul Weller made contact with state-of-the-art dub on the B-side of Hung Up. A razor sharp guitar riff, a blessed bass line and the radical use of high-pitched mini-Moog propelled "Kosmos" to many DJs' favorite "last track" -- the dub to end all other tunes. Boozoo Bajou reaches backwards through time and hands a digital umbrella to Tony Joe White's soulful "Rainy Night In Georgia," and even Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan gets a dubbed remix from Bristol's Massive Attack. Other dub-defiers in this collection include Manu Chao, Dennis Bovell, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Stereo MCs, Brian Eno & David Byrne, and Jam. The archive is growing, version after version, with revamps, bootlegs, remixes, mash-ups, re-edits and copyright-defying white labels from dubstep to Baltimore -- the ensuing chapters of dub are already being written.