A secret sadness lurks behind the 21st century’s forced smile

Is this another way of talking about the meaning of dub? The reggae scene, perhaps especially the dub scene, is quite an insular business and this is also reflected in what’s written about the music. Yet some of the best writing about reggae comes from broader musical culture. For those of you interested in sound system culture, there’s not much written that can touch the reggae chapter in Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton’s ‘Last Night A DJ Saved My Life’. (Just read in the promo notes that the Nazis invented clubbing. Don’t remember reading that part before). So we’re going to be sharing some weird and wonderful stuff from the world of music.

We haven’t been posting much on Irie Up recently, as the team have been moving countries, crossing borders, and trying out new jigs … so now we’re catching up on some of our favourite writing from the last few months. There’s lots of writers talking about reggae and dub in a peripheral manner, and we don’t mind that at all, and would like to bring them to the attention of the reggae audience. Mark Fisher aka K-Punk is a university lecturer and philosopher of sorts who wrote ‘Capitalist Realism: Is there no alternative’ (hint: there is) and blogs here at Abstract Dynamics. He also writes some fantastic and interesting stuff about music and its deep relationship to the social and political world. G’wan Mark! Here’s a piece from earlier this year about the sadness lurking behind 21st century pop, honing in this time on James Blake:


“The initial motivation for Blake’s early work no doubt came from Burial, whose combination of jittery two-step beats and R&B vocal samples pointed the way to a 21st century pop. It was as if Burial had produced the dub versions; now the task was to construct the originals, and that entailed replacing the samples with an actual vocalist.”


Hot damn! Check out the original article here at Electronic Beats. Wonderful and thought-provoking stuff.


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