Active Listening #1
Tuesday, March 7th, 2006
Active listening is cheated by a policy of playlist. Culturally corrupt as Americans, we lose senses in stress. Never hearing the violence of an electrical storm from a small sailboat upon a lake in the Chenango Valley. Never hearing the peace of a spring breeze through the leaves of a palm tree. There is rhythm in a drill. There is melody in a siren. The ocean waveâ€™s bum rushing the Atlantic shore is an explosion of brass feedback and liquid drone. The northern ice cracks and echoes as you walk upon it, under the stars, on a cold rural night in January 1981. The sound lives forever neither analog nor digital, only pure memory. The words are criminal. This sonic wash is truth. It is your only religion.
One day pre-silicon age, King Tubby accidentally pushed the vocal fader down mid-song and invented a music to be known as dub. Sitting in a small Kingston, Jamaica studio, he added delay and reverb to everything and found out something very important. It sounded good. And twisted as all hell.
This process has been worked and tweaked and wrenched for almost 40 years. King Tubby and Lee â€˜Scratchâ€™ Perrry were the leading practitioners of this art. A studio as instrument. You can take the same â€˜riddimâ€™ and rework it time and time and again. Never sounding the same, just deeper into the dread. Into the heart of darkness of the end of the world.
The deep unearthly BASS sound over simple skipping drums and all source of found sounds being thrown almost randomly into the mix, spinning with echo and an occasional fragment of disembodied reverb vocal. But it is the bass. The slow menacing yet all enveloping sense of dread that gives this apocalyptic music its spiritual base (bass?). A liberation theology of heat and power and thunder. These are our demands: complete freedom or total annihilation.
Time, I absolve myself of your vow to vanquish me.