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The Strangeness of Dub

Institutions of the Trace (Archive Fever II)

Programme Eight

Institutions of the Trace (Archive Fever II)


Dub is strange. A musical process and a sub-genre formed in the early 1970s and pioneered by Clement Dodd, Sylvan Morris, Lee Perry, King Tubby, Scientist, Jah Shaka and The Mad Professor, dub takes place through a kind of violence, an act of reducing archival audio documents to fragments and traces, yet is associated, in its sound system context, with communal reverie and meditative states.


A marginal music and a music of margins, first and most enduringly located on the ‘b side’, the underside, of phonographic recordings, dub is a sub genre of reggae music, subordinate and secondary to song-writing, musical performance and recording. And yet more so than reggae song writing, vocal or musical performance, dub’s influence reverberates across other genres of electronic music, even while never quite comprising a genre of its own.


Dub is also a sonic process, a way of making new music from existing music that is always present in all forms of electronically recorded music, as that which is waiting to be excavated and discovered for the first time. You can hear dub process in late 20th century and 21st popular electronic dance music, in the 80’s hip hop productions of Marley Marl and the Bomb Squad, in the techno of Basic Channel and Mika Vaino, in dubstep and drum and bass, and you can hear its conceptual pre-figurations in jazz and the avant garde music of Cage and Stockhausen.


And yet, in spite or perhaps because of its broad cultural resonance, dub has at its heart a concern with ideas of emptiness and silence, being and presence, space and repetition, and these ideas intersect with themes, especially in reggae, of Diaspora, and ‘race’, history and memory, longing and loss.


Join Edward George, on a journey into reggae, dub, versions and versioning that draws on critical theory, social history, a deep and wide cross-genre musical selection, and live dub mixing.


Edward George is a writer, researcher, and presenter of Black Audio Film Collective’s ground-breaking science fiction documentary Last Angel of History. Edward is a founder of Black Audio Film Collective (1982-1998), the multimedia duo Flow Motion (1996-present), and the electronic music group Hallucinator (1998-present).




The Vikings – Fever

Upsetters – A Live Injection

The Wailers – Put It on (Studio One Version)

The Wailers – Put It on (Upsetter Version)

Dillinger – Dub Organiser

Upsetters – Black Panta

The Clash – Complete Control

Max Romeo – Socialism Is Love

Lee Perry – Captive

Upsetters – Dub Cap

George Faith – Guide Line

Jacques Derrida – Deconstruction and Necessity

The Upsetters – Dub Line

Clancy Eccles – Feel The Rhythm

Max Romeo – Smokey Room

Michael Campbell – Home Gard

Upsetters – Home Gard Dub

Lee Perry – Free Up The Prisoners

Hugh Mundell – Let’s All Unite

Rockers All Stars – Unity Dub

Augustus Pablo – 555 Crown Street

Rockers All Stars – 1 Ruthland Close

Augustus Pablo – 555 Dub Street

Pere Ubu – Dub Housing

Louisa Marks – Six Six Street

Prince Jazzbo – Meet Me at Freedom Street

Sylvester – You Make Me Feel Mighty Real

Sonya Spence – Peace & Unity

Unknown Artist – Peace & Unity (Version)