Dub mixing is the ultimate musical interaction between man and machine. Pioneered by legends King Tubby and Lee “Scratch” Perry in Jamaica in the late 1960s, dub (sometimes referred to as dubwise or dub reggae) transports mixing engineers through time and drops them at the mixing console during a song’s original recording session. Once behind the controls a skilled dub engineer is bound by no rules when remixing. Right and wrong disappear; only the vibrations and the feelings they produce matter. In almost all other forms of recorded music a mixing engineer’s talent is judged by how much they can disappear behind their mixes. Dub engineers obliterate this norm as they step to the forefront of the mix, injecting themselves into the song by playing their consoles and effects as instruments. Dub engineers are composers, arrangers, producers, and performers reimagining songs live to “find the dub” and bring it to life via technology and artistic ability. At nearly 60 years old the genre is by no means new but it is still largely obscure and something I’m passionate about changing through awareness, education, and live performance. Without the original there is no version and that’s why I’m fortunate to get to collaborate with amazing artists like Roots of Creation & Pato Banton.
For this live mix of “A Time Will Come” I utilized a custom “hybrid” dub lab I’ve developed and refined over years of trials and tribulations. Thanks to advancements in technology, what used to require a great deal of large, heavy, and expensive audio equipment can now be consolidated to fit in a backpack on a budget. The rig shown in this video is a somewhat expanded version of my minimalist setup I’m utilizing Ableton Live 9 to playback multitrack recordings from the original recording session as well as to route the audio through various effects a Roland / Boss RE20 Space Echo (modeled after the original 201 tape delay unit) that passes through a Korg Kaoss Pad Quad, a Furman RV1 spring reverb unit from the late 1970s, a virtual RE201 emulator plugin from Surreal Machines, and a DigiTech Supernatural Reverb (for some Pherb hall reverb with some phasing effects). I utilized an Akai APC40 midi controller think of it as a remote control for audio software that mimics the signal routing capabilities analog mixing consoles offer. Also seen is an Eico model 460 oscilloscope from the 1950s because why not?
I hope you enjoy assuming my viewpoint for this live dub mix of Roots of Creation featuring Pato Banton and that it may spark some interest in dub amongst those reading and watching. The surface of dub has just been scratched. I truly believe we’re heading into the golden age for the genre thanks to the amazing developments in technology over the past 10 years and the mind expanding music produced by dub engineers over the past 60. The price point to enter is lower than it has ever been, gear is more capable than ever, broadband allows for quick and easy transfer of massive audio files making collaboration across the globe a breeze… all of these factors and more lead me to believe that we’re knocking on the doorstep of the golden age of dub. Where that future is headed I do not know but I am sure that dub will continue to smash expectations, knock down walls, and break rules while bringing people and technology closer to one another to produce art that has yet to be dreamt of.
See Roots of Creation on Tour
Release Date: April 22, 2016
Label: Bombshelter Records
Album Title: Livin Free
* “A Time Will Come” (mixed By Dub Architect) [feat. Pato Banton] is an exclusive Rootfire World Premiere.