On word, sound and power!

Mortimo Planno (1929-2006)

Rastafarians have as common parlance the philosophy that word sound is power!
After the 1960s, one can identify the development of a fraternity of Rastafari faithful, taking their message into musical expression. In much the same way perhaps that the Psalms are constructed as sacred records of the ‘livity’ of the Old Testament patriarchs. The philosophy of the Movement moved to some extent (but not entirely) off the street corners, due partly to colonial repression and police brutality, into ‘the mixing lab-Oratory’ to create music that would teach the lessons of Redemption of the African.
Planno, in philosophizing to his students who would congregate in his yard in Trench town, West Kingston (including ones such as Don Drummond, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus, Alton Ellis and Jimmy Cliff ) taught them to ‘tell out King Rasta doctrine around the whole world . . . Get your bible and read it, read it with understanding’ as his basic guide and teaching on liberating the individual. He would conduct his class room in the informal gatherings in his yard as together they built verses animating the experiences, ideals and aspirations of the Movement. The King James Bible consisting of its 66 books, the laws, Prophets, wisdom songs into the Revelation provided a source of reading, reasoning – analysis and interpretation. It was from this source that the Knowledge of liberation was to come, in particular from the Revelations in the Bible – revealing the identity of the Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Sellassie I, the Power of the Trinity as the returned Messiah. Planno and a number of other brethren were to develop on the earliest teachings brought by the elders of the 1930s, a multifaceted cultural approach, and a network of over 60 bases in the west Kingston and the surrounding corporate area.

At these bases, the hitherto wayward – brothers in particular – became transformed, they could find hope, a receptive environment to mould and teach themselves about their identity, their history, the politics of the time, self-sufficiency and most importantly in the context of their survival how to develop a habit of industry – mostly focused on the development of self-employment ideas, and especially music that when it hit ‘yu feel no pain’. Music has been the product emanating from what has been described as the business of hardship resulting out of the Poverty Laboratory.


These bases provided vibrant centres for debates on life, philosophy, the politics of Jamaica and the globe especially as far as it affected the people of Africa, some centres even provided training in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia.
The community bases also provided shelter, humble though this may have been, where warm meals (often a one pot of porridge or ‘a sip’/soup) for all who came, books and newspapers, instruments, recording devices and of course the Wisdom Herb as sacrament to inspire the meditation and reasoning a way forward.

Soon west Kingston was to develop a reputation as a Mecca for musicians and scholars from all across Jamaica and surely enough became a fascination for researchers from around the world, the attraction being the Rastafarians and secondarily their cultural panacea – the emerging institution/industry of reggae music.

Excerpt from:
Jalani Niaah (2003) Poverty (lab) oratory: Rastafari and cultural studies, Cultural Studies.

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

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

On Rastafari branch and roots

Peter Tosh – Live @ The Greek Theater, Los Angeles, CA, – August 23.1983


By 1960, several Jamaican institutions had begun to show an interest in the counterculture, and to contribute to the demarginalisation of the Rastafari movement which had previously been repressed.
One such institution was the University of the West Indies, which put the Rastafari on its agenda.
In the course of these trajectories, Jamaican public opinion, which had predominantly perceived the Rastafari movement to be a crowd of violent criminals, fools and outcasts, changed successfully.

Particularly, reggae music (as the emancipation of Jamaican popular music) was co-opted.
The result of the blending of Afro-Jamaican Burru and Kumina drum techniques and folk traditions with Afro-American musical styles (including jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, soul and swing) led to the creation of mento, ska, rocksteady and reggae styles like dancehall, dub, lovers, raggamuffin, rockers and roots, which ‘exerted a tremendous influence on the development of post- World War II popular music globally’.
The musical film The harder they come (1972), starring Jimmy Cliff, contributed enormously to the transnationalisation, popularisation and commercialisation of roots reggae. Not until this style developed, did reggae lyrics exhibit the spirituality and socio-political engagement that came to be seen as the hallmark of roots reggae. And, clearly no one represented the Rastafari rhetoric and feelings of this genre to the world more ably and persuasively than Bob Marley.

Augier urges Rastafari to accept Jamaica as home


In fact, conscious reggae music, with its recreational, critical and inspirational dimensions, would soon transcend the Rastafari milieu and succeed in conquering a global audience. Today, Rastafari not only has observer status in the United Nations, but even more importantly it has become part of everyday culture in Jamaica, and even abroad.
However, the various Rastafari mansions relate differently to reggae music: whereas Boboshanti reject reggae as part of their culture and only consider drumming and chanting as true Rastafari music, the Theocracy Reign Order of the Nyahbinghi describes its relationship to reggae through the metaphor:

‘Reggae is the branch, Nyahbinghi is the root.’



Text from:

The global–local nexus: popular music studies and the case of Rastafari culture in West Africa
Frank Wittmann, 2011.
Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies


On Music as Space


Because of its significance to social action and relations, space is theoretical tool in understanding power. Much power is spatialized, as the use and control of space are continuously negotiated.
Those in power specifically, the state attempt to maintain their position through division and control of space, what Foucault calls spatial ‘techniques’ of domination: maps, censuses, quarantines, surveillance; all facilitate control through the segmentation of space and separation of groups or individuals by those in positions to produce knowledge.

Part of the power in space lies in the possibility of creating and maintaining difference and hierarchy through it. The most practical Marxist example is the skewed distribution of resources through space and the associated uneven development, but difference is also created symbolically through the naming and ‘knowing’ of spaces: the differentiation between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ neighbourhoods, ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ nations. Factories, prisons, public housing projects, gated communities, shopping malls and coffee shops are all examples of urban spaces through which social difference is constructed and sometimes challenged. ‘Othering’, then, is also done by delineating belonging and otherness in spatial terms: place of birth, area of residence, workplace, spaces of leisure and consumption. In the process, meaning is created not just in but through space.


Music is a spatial phenomenon, as it is tied to specific places, is implicated in how sites or spaces are perceived, and is intimately connected to the travel of people, goods and ideas through space.
Music and musical cultures are integral in shaping discursive, textual spaces or spatial narratives that are not necessarily pinned to one physical location but rather can be applied to various ‘real’ material sites, giving meaning to a range of spatial experiences and practices.
Part of this discursive spacemaking involves narrating new contexts for struggle or contestation.

Gibson, for instance, discusses Aboriginal popular music in Australia and how the musicians are involved in the construction of differently scaled ‘arenas of empowerment’ that offer space for indigenous self-determination. The production and consumption of music take place in specific spaces that gain meaning through these locations, just as they imbue the music itself with meaning. Stanley Niaah shows how the dancehall in Jamaica, with its inner-city core, is a liminal space, both marginal and central, in which celebration, conflict and memory are musically inscribed.
The spatial importance of music is also evident in crossing global distances and divides, more easily even than visual or purely textual media, connecting like-minded groups across the globe by forming what Carolyn Cooper, after the poet Kamau Brathwaite, calls

‘bridges of sound’.

Found in chapter Music, space and power from:

Surinamese Maroons as reggae artistes: music, marginality and urban space
By Rivke Jaffe and Jolien Sanderse, 2009.

Ethnic and Racial Studies Vol. 33 No. 9 October 2010

Image source:
dancecourseja.com

Loudness Wars Won

Dan Worrall just won the loudness wars. Hear for yourself and watch your speakers!

On sound waves and DNA

“…it is said that under the influence of acoustic, electromagnetic, and scalar waves, the genetic code of DNA can be read or rewritten. 

About impressionability of DNA from the wave frequency, many experimental research studies have been carried out which have opened a new branch in science, called wave genome. Konstantin Meyl adapted the scalar waves described by Nicola Tesla to biology and proposed the relationship between the scalar waves and DNA.
Greg Braddon and colleagues in 3 experiments investigated the impressionability of DNA from human emotions.
Rein and Mccraty studied the impact of music on the DNA. Another study was carried out on the effect of sound waves on the synthesis and genes of chrysanthemum.
Peter Garjajev and his research group proved that DNA can be reprogrammed by words and using the correct resonant frequencies of DNA.
Russian quantum biologist Poponin tried to prove that human DNA has a direct effect on the physical world using some experiments. Also, he found out that our DNA can cause disturbing patterns in the vacuum, thus producing magnetized microscopic wormholes.
Nobel Prize-winning scientist Luc Montagnier known for his study on HIV and AIDS, claims to have demonstrated that DNA can be generated by teleportation through quantum imprint and also showed that DNA emits electromagnetic signals that teleport the DNA to other places, such as water molecules.”

A Mathematical Model for Vibration Behavior Analysis of DNA and Using a Resonant Frequency of DNA for Genome Engineering

Scientific Reports volume 10, Article number: 3439 (2020)

On selecting Madonna in a dance

It was not unusual for the selector to play Latin, Hip Hop, Disco, Rock & Roll, other music, including songs like Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’, and ‘Ain’t Nothing Going on but the Rent’ as examples. Of course these constitute hit songs in their particular genres and their popularity catapulted them into the Jamaican dance scene where they are baptized in Dancehall aesthetic and practice (‘dance- hallified’), especially through dance styles such as the ‘bubble’ along with other directions from the selector. These directions continued in the typical Dancehall style until dawn when the event ended.

From: The dance, found in:
Making space: Kingston’s Dancehall culture and its philosophy of ‘boundarylessness’.
Author: Sonjah Stanley Niaah. 2004. African Identities.
Image source: PASSA PASSA KINGSTON JAMAICA

Onomatopoeia as the beginning of music

Each shaman melody is the tune of the shaman helper-spirit, who has an animal-like form. That is why the onomatopoeic sounds play the important role in the musical composition of shaman rituals – the sounds of voices of a reindeer, a swan, a goose, a loom, a bear, a wolf are available to hear on recordings” .

Onomatopoeia is actually the beginning of music, the first appearance of the musical ability of man. According to ethno-musicologists, in this fashion, the songs of shamans retain memories from the times of the original emergence of music.
An important characteristic of healing shaman music is that the helping spirits of the individual shamans themselves each have their own distinguishing tune, sometimes more than one, and this is the case in distant South America as well as in Eurasia.
Thus it is barely surprising that the power of the individual shamans was measured by the number of songs they knew. In other words, the shaman’s power was in his songs and the power of the instruments was only an additional force.

Found in: On Shamanic Origin of Healing and Music, from SHAMANS AND SYMBOLS
PREHISTORY OF SEMIOTICS IN ROCK ART by Mihály Hoppál.
International Society for Shamanistic Research. Budapest. 2013.
Art source: Shamanic Drumming

Dubolik/Homegrown Sound meets Jacin – Dub Culture/Restless Melodica Dub

Released in playlist style of old punk 10″ “split” format, here track list is shared by Dubolik and Homegrown Sound in combination with Jacin’s melodica. Folowed by dub and a version, this comes out to you for free on dub fueled AmpliFyah Music!

Jah Billah & Sheco Ep Rmx “Raggamuffin” & “Bang​!​Bang​!​”

Second release on brand new AmpliFyah respresenting Sheco madman junglist outa Pula and yours unruly Jah Billah each coming in with vocal and instrumental. Gwan show your support!

ON GANJA MUSIC

As the central sacrament to Rastafarians, the importance of ganja (marijuana) has been well documented and this importance extends into the sphere of Rasta-influenced Jamaican music. Rasta-influenced musicians were often outspoken advocates of ganja smoking, with songs full of exhortations to “smoke the herb”: Peter Tosh’s “Legalize It,” Bob Marley’s “Kaya” and “Easy Skanking,” Culture’s “International Herb,” Horace Andy’s “Better Collie,” Lee Perry’s “Free Up the Weed” and “Roast Fish, Cornbread and Collie Weed,” and Leroy Horsemouth Wallace’s “Herb Vendor” are a mere few of hundreds of such songs. Yet while it would probably be difficult to find a Jamaican musician of the roots era who was avowedly anti-ganja, some Jamaican musicians nevertheless felt that the prominence of this theme led to a distorted view of reggae in the world at large, as musicians played to the expectations of their international audiences. Paul Henton voiced a sentiment common among some Jamaican musicians, who felt that their colleagues sung about ganja at least in part “just because they know that the white people love it. If tomorrow morning the people or the fans say ‘Okay, we don’t want to hear anymore of this ganja stuff,’ they’ll stop singing about it and stop promoting it!”
Inside Jamaica, where ganja songs have flourished within several genres of Jamaican popular music (such as roots reggae and ragga), the situation has been more complex. Ganja was declared illegal in Jamaica in 1913 and for the decades since, its illegality has been a primary tool used by the ruling class in the social control of working-class Jamaicans. Correspondingly, it became a combustible element in the constellation of factors (including music, Rastafari, class conflict) that factor into Jamaica’s social tensions. As such, it is not surprising that ganja played a central role in the blended class, cultural, and political content that exploded in Jamaica in the 1970s and that arguably found its most powerful and passionate articulation in roots reggae. This centrality can be felt in the comments of legendary drummer Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace: “The people respect you in Jamaica when you can put forty and fifty bag a ganja on a plane! We don’t call that drugs. That is ganja business. . . . We do those things like we are revolutionary. We put forty bag on a plane and feel good. . . . We send those so people in America could smoke the good ganja, not just for money alone.”

Found in: The Ganja Factor,  from:  DUB Soundscapes and shattered songs in Jamaican reggae by Michael E. Veal.  Wesleyan University Press 2007.

Image source: Peter Tosh