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The Strangeness of Dub

Dub Housing

Programme Nine

Dub Housing


Presented live at Café Oto, London, August 2021


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).




Jah Shaka Sound System plays Michael Prophet – Gates of Zion (Scientist dubplate)

Burning Spear – Marcus Senior

Burning Spear – In Those Days

Misty In Roots – See Them A Come

African Princess – Jah Children Cry

Shaka Ridim Section – Jah Jah Dub

Joy White – Dread Out Deh

Ciddy Bop – Warrior

Ciddy Bop – Dub

Linton Kwesi Johnson – Reggae Fi Peach

Linton Kwesi Johnson – Peach In Dub

The Pop Group – We Are Time

Janet Kay – Silly Games

The Slits – FM (Peel Session)

The Slits – FM

Blackbeard – Jazz

Marie Pierre – Humanity

Alice Coltrane – Galaxy In Turiya

Linton Kwesi Johnson – Sonny’s Lettah

Linton Kwesi Johnson – Iron Bar Dub

Dennis Bovell – Manhunter

Ras Imru – Marshall

Shaka Ridim Section – Warrior Style