dUb, Higher Learning

On Sound System as tool against oppression

How have the protest anthems of the classic era of reggae been transformed into support for Jamaica’s tourist industry?
Stephen King tackles such general questions of co-optation in his monograph a revision of his dissertation that at times suffers from an overly academic presentation, particularly when he attempts to fit data to the categories of his particular social movement theory.

The study attempts to “comprehensively trace how Jamaica’s protest music has changed both lyrically and musically over a twenty-one year period, and how the Jamaican government has attempted to silence or co-opt these voices of protest”.
King concludes with a look at how Rastafari claims for social justice in reggae have been co-opted first in the service of the island’s emergent nationalism and then to assist Jamaican tourism.

King locates the roots of reggae in ska (1959-65) and rocksteady (1966-67), the two musical forms that preceded it. It was ska, a music that blended mento , the indigenous Jamaican version of calypso, with American jazz and rhythm and blues, that reflected the optimistic mood of the country during the run-up to Jamaican independence.
As economic conditions worsened for the majority of Jamaica’s blacks during the mid-1960s, the more aggressive lyrics of rocksteady gave voice to the frustrations and alienation of the island’s under- and unemployed ghetto dwellers.
And then there was the advent of reggae in the late 1960s and through the 1970s, the period that is remembered as the high- water mark of Rastafari influence on an emergent Jamaican nationalism. Reggae, of course, began as a Rasta-inspired music that not only articulated the pan- African vision of the movement and its demands for social justice, but that celebrated the cultural practices and symbols of Rastafari.

King does a credible job in mapping the general contours and themes of these musical developments against the backdrop of a changing Jamaican society. In the course of this he shows how the roots of Rastafari musical protest are organically intertwined with the development of both preceding forms. While this is hardly newsworthy to many aficionados of Jamaican music, King provides some interesting examples that illustrate how critical commentary and protest themes, however restrained, existed within ska lyrics from the outset.
The occasional presence of Rastafari drumming, biblical references (e.g., River Jordan, Mount Zion), and allusions to repatriation through the idiom of the “promised land” were all important resonances in
this music that portended the development of popular music as an important communicative medium for the Rasta movement.

King describes rocksteady as a music that is more aggressive, that speaks more directly to the collective frustrations and suffering experienced by the island’s lower classes. Frequently, this music celebrates the “Rude Boy” or new male ghetto rebel as he has been memorialized in popular discourse.
Prince Buster’sToo Hot” and Derrick Morgan’s Tougher Than Tough” are both examples of this figure, an individual who sought social and political justice with a ratchet (knife) or a gun.
King points out that rocksteady lyrics tended to condone more aggressive protest against the oppression of the “sufferah” class, while in specific cases evoking linkages with the general Rastafari critique of the “Babylonian” neocolonial system.

Of critical importance to the dissemination and popularization of this music, King notes, were “sound systems” developed to carry high-fidelity playback equipment to rural and urban dances throughout the island.
This portable technology, he argues, enabled the development of a community of dissent by transporting music to sites where “the voice of the poor could be heard without interference by local authorities”, a development that continued from the era of ska through reggae to the present. It is certainly true that
sound systems served to strengthen an already extant discourse of protest, but King fails to recognize that long before sound systems, the Rasta movement itself was about creating alternative spaces for face-to-face communication in which counter-hegemonic discourse was reproduced and disseminated.

Text from:

Review: UNDERSTANDING A MODERN ANTIQUE: CHALLENGES TO REPRESENTING RASTAFARI IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
Author: John P. Homiak
Source: NWIG: New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids, Vol. 79, No. 1/2 (2005)

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Uncategorized

Wosui – Wicked Babylon EP

Wosui coming in hot on future dubwise label Reggaewise outta Greece.

3 tracks+1 dub made primarily and foremost with task to shake the scoops and rumble the tweeters of any good sound system.
Full support!

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dUb, Higher Learning

On essence of Rasta


Extracting the essence of Rasta

The internal conflicts and contradictions of the movement which surfaced in the centenary celebrations illustrate the problems of the last twenty years. Relations have sometimes been so poor that one night when two Rastafarian groups met at a radio station to do a programme on the movement, one group
decided to leave if the other was allowed to speak. Some groups are more willing to speak to white foreigners than to each other. Leading up to and during the centenary, Rasta houses forgot about areas of common interest and focused more on idiosyncratic differences and personal feuds between the leaders.

Each leader struggled to contain the movement under his vision, while projecting religious rituals over intellectual arguments. The result is that the movement devolved closer to empty symbol status while the society continued to extract the useful substance of the social theory.
This process of extracting the essence of Rastafari will continue until and
unless the movement produces leadership with five essential capabilities:

  1. spiritual insights to unite the various houses;
  2. intellectual acumen to engage the Afrocentric thinkers;
  3. managerial capabilities to build transnational sustainable businesses;
  4. cultural engineers to build the necessary rituals for living; and
  5. brand management.

Text from:

From Peace and Love to ‘Fyah Bun’: Did Rastafari Lose Its Way?
Leahcim Semaj (2013)
https://doi.org/10.1080/00086495.2013.11672485

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dUb, Dub Disinfo Department

Feldub & Earl Sixteeen – Stand Firm

Heavyweight stepper riddim with flying horns in combination with soulful rasta lyrics by legendary Earl Sixteen followed by dubwise cut.
Full support!

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dUb, Higher Learning

On impact of music genres on brain activity

Jah Billah intro:

This research presents measurements of various neurophysiological effects of different music genres, but it seems to be just a sneaky way of settling age old debate of :
“Which is more cerebral, Psy Trance or Goa Trance?”
Just kidding. Some people say we should not take music too seriously.
Should we take science of music seriously?

Genres included in study were:
-Classical, Tribal Downtempo, Psychedelic Trance (Psytrance), Goa Trance, and Subject Choice.


Among other results, study finds that people with prior musical training will exhibit higher neurophysiological response to music in delta waves range of brain activity.

Higher percentages of delta frequencies were found to be most strongly associated with Psytrance within individual cortical regions. Goa Trance also exhibited a significant but weaker association.
The superior association observed between Psytrance and higher percentages of delta frequencies may again be attributed to its unique sixteenth note rhythmic beat structure. However, the finding that Goa Trance also had a significant association, although far less robust than what was observed for Psytrance, suggests that the compositional structure of Goa Trance may be similar enough to that of Psytrance that there is some overlap or sharing in their ability to increase delta frequency activity in the cerebral cortex of listeners. Goa Trance has a very similar compositional structure to that of Psytrance, and although it lacks the sixteenth note beat structure found in Psytrance, it still is typically composed of melodies and harmonies made from sixteenth notes layered over a standard quarter note beat structure.
Further investigation is warranted to better clarify the reasons why Psytrance exhibited a superior association with higher percentages of delta frequencies compared to the other studied music genres. Given that increased delta frequency activity is observed during stages of NREM sleep, these findings support those of previous music therapy studies which suggest that various types of music may impact the central nervous system by promoting changes in cerebral cortex activity that have similarities to NREM sleep, while the listener remains awake.

Text from:
Neurophysiological effects of various music genres on electroencephalographic (EEG) cerebral cortex activity
Authors: Abraham Hafiz Rodriguez, Sarah Nath Zallek, Michael Xu, Jean Aldag, Lori Russell-Chapin, Tobias A. Mattei, and N. Scott Litofsky
Publication Date: 15 Oct 2021
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1556/2054.2019.027

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Babylon Report, dUb, Higher Learning

On versatility of Rasta creed

Japanese rasta @ THE BUDDHA’S DREADS: RASTA-BUDDHISTS, JAPANESE RASTAFARIANS AND THE NGAKPA TRADITION (THE SPIRIT OF LOCKING PART 2)

Religiously, the Rastafari are committed to the belief in the living God :
God living in and among his people.
Accordingly, such a belief throws cold water on anyone who claims leadership status. The living God, which according to the Rastafari is Haile Selassie, the former emperor of Ethiopia, is not only the ultimate decision maker, but there is no distinction between him and his followers. Thus, every member is an autonomous person whose obligation is to nothing but the convictions of his or her inner self. In this sense, the Rastafari is antihierarchical through and through.

As the Rastafari is a movement where flat hierarchy prevails, every member is a professional activist, none of whom has grounds to claim a distinct and sumptuous posture. Thus, insofar as a symmetrical relationship between the leaders and the led is integral to the philosophy of the Rastafari, it is of
no avail to have a formal hierarchical organization.

Structural versatility is also manifest in the religious dimension of the movement. The Rastafari is what a sociologist of religion calls an emergent religion. The absence of formal organizations, leadership, and official creeds is what differentiates emergent religions from traditional ones.
Hence, the Rastafari as an emergent religion differs from traditional religions such as Christianity.
The absence of churches and leaders, and the perspective of movement participants about the Bible, is
what makes the Rastafari unique
. Because the Rastafarians consider each member as a church unto him- or herself, the existence of a separate Rastafarian church is considered redundant and superfluous.

Prayers and other religious rituals can be conducted in any place as long as there is a group of Rastafarians. Consequently, among the Rastafari there is no professional staff of ministers who provide leadership and disseminate the doctrines of the movement. Unlike mainstream religions, the Rastafari does not have an established institution that formally trains a set of religious experts whose purpose is to disseminate the message of the movement.
Even the Rastafarians do not refer to the teaching of Haile Selassie as do Christians and Muslims to the teachings of Christ and Mohammed. This is simply because Haile Selassie did not have a set of religious principles that he set out for his followers, nor did he at any time declare himself leader of the movement.
This is one of the reasons why the Rastafari are at liberty in interpreting the messages of the Bible.


Ras Michael @Rasta elder claims Selassie is ‘not God’

Text from-

Title: DECENTERED MOVEMENTS: THE CASE OF THE STRUCTURAL AND PRECEPTUAL VERSATILITY OF THE RASTAFARI
Author: Alemseghed Kebede
Published: Sociological Spectrum. 2001.
https://doi.org/10.1080/02732170118234

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dUb, Higher Learning, Kaneh Bosm

On world turning Rasta and getting high without getting high

Jah Bilah intro:

This examination of the rise of Rastafari in mainstream following popular conversion of Snoop Dogg to Snoop Lion back in 2013 contains some reasoning by UK bredrin Benjamin Zephaniah and Maxi Priest.

“Regarding the body as a temple, which must be loved, respected and well looked after, is another Rastafarian mantra. And contrary to popular belief, not all Rastafarians smoke marijuana, and if they do, they don’t simply smoke to get high.

However, this happens today within the context of an ever-increasing amount of anti-smoking campaigns highlighting the negative effects smoking has on the body, which are being taken more seriously now and are much more chronicled and echoed from the rooftops.


The reasons Rastas give up smoking marijuana are the same reasons why tobacco users kick the habit. Although there are many Rastafarians who still smoke, others, especially those who follow a stringent orthodox lifestyle, advise smokers to respect their body.

Most people think all Rastafarians smoke marijuana, but I don’t smoke because I view my body as a temple,” says Zephaniah, who lectures at Brunel University.

I came to the conclusion that I didn’t need ganja to get high and I didn’t like the habit I developed. So I have been getting high from not being high for the last 30 years.

Agreeing, Priest adds: “You get one chance to live and you must learn to preserve it so that you can live a longer life with meaning, caring and understanding. 

“I had a heart attack, and even before the heart attack, I wanted to stop smoking. But when I had the heart attack – that made me realise how precious and delicate my temple is.

“The biggest myth about Rastafarians in terms of stereotypes is weed, but you don’t have to smoke weed. There is more to the understanding and the faith of being a Rastafarian than just weed.”

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Babylon Report, dUb, Higher Learning

On influence and term DUB

King Tubby’s studio

The term ‘dub’ is now used widely and indiscriminately by producers of dance and ambient music.
More particularly, as the British post-punk producer Adrian Sherwood has commented, ‘everything from hiphop to techno and every other form of music right now has stolen ideas off dub, or incorporated those ideas’.

While there is obvious hyperbole here, the point is nevertheless an important one.
The influence of dub permeates much contemporary electronica, dance, and urban music.
Indeed, there is an increasingly wide range of contemporary music that is explicitly and conspicuously indebted to dub, from the dance-oriented rock of a band like Death in Vegas to the indigenous Moroccan music of Aisha Kandisha’s Jarring Effects, and from the relatively recent work of Primal Scream back to the punk and post-punk music of bands such as The Clash, PIL, Terrorists, Killing Joke, Bad Brains, and even the Welsh-speaking Anhrefn, some of whose album BWRW CWRW (1989) was mixed by the British dub pioneer the Mad Professor.

King Tubby – Playing the mixing desk

The term ‘dub’ evolved out of earlier terminology used in the recording industry in the United States.

This is significant because we will see that the genre has remained fundamentally related to recording technology. Traditionally known as ‘black wax’, ‘soft wax’, ‘slate’ or ‘reference disc’—and in the manufacturing sector as an ‘acetate’—the dub plate was a metal plate with a fine coating of vinyl.

Recorded music would be pressed on to the dub plate, following which a ‘stamper’ or metal master disc would be created in order to produce quantities of vinyl records. The process of transferring the music on to the vinyl-coated metal plate was known as ‘dubbing’—just as adding sound to a film is also known as dubbing. Hence, the terms ‘dub’ and ‘dub plate’ are not solely allied to the genre of ‘dub’.
However, the point is that, with the demand for exclusive, unreleased music in Jamaican sound system culture (in which sound systems competed for audiences by, amongst other things, playing new music), the trade in ‘pre-release’ dub plates grew.
And it is within this culture, hungry for new sounds and ideas, that the genre of ‘dub’ emerged.

The Untamed Imagination of Lee “Scratch” Perry
A Brief History of The Studio As An Instrument: Part 3 – Echoes From The Future


The term dub, in the sense of a musical genre, was, therefore, originally applied to a remixing technique pioneered by Jamaican engineers and producers who were seeking novel and exclusive music (i.e. ‘specials’) for sound system use.
So successful was the technique that it quickly evolved as a relatively inexpensive and creative way of reusing rhythm tracks. Essentially, recording engineers produced tracks on which their efforts were often more evident than those of the original musicians.

Indeed, the mixing desk and even the recording studio itself came to be understood as a musical instrument in that, in a similar way to a jazz musician’s improvisation on a standard tune, the engineer is involved in the reconceptualization of a piece of music.
However, this is a very different type of instrument, in that, as a remixing technique, it is alchemical in its effects. As Jonathon Tankel puts it, ‘remixing is recoding, the reanimation of familiar music by the creation of new sonic textures for different sonic contexts…
The remix recording creates a new artefact from the schemata of previously recorded music.

It is prima facie evidence of [Walter] Benjamin’s contention that
“to an ever greater degree the work of art reproduced becomes the work of art designed for reproducibility” .

Text from:

King Tubby meets the Upsetter at the grass roots of dub: Some thoughts on the early history and influence of dub reggae

Christopher Partridge, 2008.
Popular Music History

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Higher Learning, Kaneh Bosm

On Rasta reasoning


Text from:
THE SOCIAL DRAMA OF RASTAFARI
William F. Lewis
1994. Dialectical Anthropology.

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Uncategorized

Foundation Roots Reggae with Danniella Dee

Strictly vinyl Golden era selection with Danniella Dee of Sisters in Dub (UK) on My Analog Journal.

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