Documentary: DUB ECHOES

"It's where the engineer becomes the artist"

Jamaica was the birth place of Dub Music in the 70's. "Dub Echoes" is a highly stylistic film that documents the reggae sub-genre, when sound engineers discovered they can make music using rhythmic echoes and sound effects like reverbs and panning, as stentorian Jamaican poet Mutabaruka says "it's where the engineer becomes the artist". That sparked off techniques that has the lasting influence to such a degree, most modern electronica today contains the rippling effects of Dub, from underground to pop music. Hip-hop latched onto its re-adaptation of recorded sound, disco ripped it off for effects and remixology, techno minimalists hailed its kindred post-modernist spirit and sense of space.

There are two parts to the documentary, tracing the old school and the roots of Dub music, dancehall culture in Jamaica, and how it progresses on to newer music.

In the first part, there are interviews and footages with reggae originators Bunny Lee offering a guided tour of his old master tapes, U-Roy reminiscing about all-night open-air dances, Lee Perry explaining just why he had to burn down his old Black Ark studio, and establishing the early links and recounted the special relationship of the music scene and culture between Jamaica and UK, and the world.

In Part 2, the film seeked out testimonials from a prominent cast of electronic musicians who spoke about how dub and reggae influenced their taste and music, a who's who list of talents of underground sounds including Kool Herc (the DJ who's widely known to start the culture of Hip Hop, who is also Jamaican by origin and got inspired to build a soundsystem like the ones he saw as a youth in his homeland when he moved to New York), 2ManyDJs, Shortkut, The Invisibl Skratch Piklz, Dub Pistols, Adam Freeland, Audio Bullys, Switch, Coldcut, Peter Kruder, Simon Ratcliffe of Basement Jaxx, Tricklah, Howie B, Bill Laswell, LTJ Bukem, Thievery Corporation, Glyn Bun of Rockers Hi Fi, Kode 9, DJ Spooky and Black Alien of Brazil.

As an independent film, the first of Brazilian writer and documentarian Bruno Natal assisted by researcher Chicodub, Dub Echoessuccessfully captured the essence of the music with fitting visual design, a naturally dubby music soundtrack and valuable stories to give the music fan a glimpse into this almost forgotten world of Dub music that has been eclipsed by reggae and it's pop deriatives today. The 1 hour 20 minutes documentary will give an intro to new music fans of this early form of electronica that has crossed over from live band music, and along the way gave birth to direct descendant sub-genres of trip-hop, drum and bass, neo-soul and nu-jazz. And already a cult classic amongst the dubwise. (Ed notes: do watch it on a screen as big as you can find, plugged into a soundsystem and turn it up!)

When the Music hits, you'll feel no pain. - Bob Marley


The Guardian
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