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Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae
Michael Veal


2007 • 352 pp. 25 illus. 6 x 9"
Music / Latin American & Caribbean Studies / Popular Culture

$28.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6572-3
$22.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7442-8

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“Veal has written the first comprehensive overview of (dub’s) development up to and including the digital music that followed dub’s analog innovations... Veal does an excellent job of explaining, analyzing... [continued in Reviews below]”—Library Journal

The first inside story of this Jamaican reggae style

When Jamaican recording engineers Osbourne “King Tubby” Ruddock, Errol Thompson, and Lee “Scratch” Perry began crafting “dub” music in the early 1970s, they were initiating a musical revolution that continues to have worldwide influence. Dub is a sub-genre of Jamaican reggae that flourished during reggae’s “golden age” of the late 1960s through the early 1980s. Dub involves remixing existing recordings—electronically improvising sound effects and altering vocal tracks—to create its unique sound. Just as hip-hop turned phonograph turntables into musical instruments, dub turned the mixing and sound processing technologies of the recording studio into instruments of composition and real-time improvisation. In addition to chronicling dub’s development and offering the first thorough analysis of the music itself, author Michael Veal examines dub’s social significance in Jamaican culture. He further explores the “dub revolution” that has crossed musical and cultural boundaries for over thirty years, influencing a wide variety of musical genres around the globe.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Veal has written the first comprehensive overview of (dub’s) development up to and including the digital music that followed dub’s analog innovations... Veal does an excellent job of explaining, analyzing, and describing sounds. He also connects dub’s influence to hip-hop, dance, electronica, and other modern genres, demonstrating how many dub tricks are still being used today in various incarnations. Readers will especially appreciate Veal’s excellent Appendix of Recommended Listening, which includes catalog numbers that will make these recordings easier to find... (T)his is certainly the best and only book on dub music; highly recommended for all academic and public music collections where reggae music is popular.”—Library Journal

“Veal deftly outlines the sociopolitical context in which dub arose, and explains how the cut-corner, make-do economics of the Jamaican record business led to a maximization of materials: song begat deejay version(s) beget dub(s)-at least three products for little more than the price of one... Where Veal’s book steals a march on the competition is in his technical analysis of how Tubby, Perry, Thompson, Sylvan Morris, and other mixing engineers adapted (and creatively abused) the equipment in studios... He also analyzes a number of tracks by each of the principal dub engineers under show the transformation of song to version and dub, all of which is illuminating...(H)e provides valuable information as to where these tracks may be found... (T)his is an extremely bold and interesting book.”—The Wire

“This extraordinary book, with its rich interpretation of the aesthetics and social significance of dub, constitutes a dramatically original contribution to the study of Jamaican popular music, and should be a landmark in popular music studies as a whole.”—Peter Manuel, professor of ethnomusicology, John Jay College and CUNY Graduate Center

“Veal’s wise volume has rescued Reggae music at last from the tentacles of exoticism. This is a glorious affirmation of dub’s rebel, Creole spirit.”—Paul Gilroy, Anthony Giddens professor of social theory, London School of Economics


Winner of the ARSC’s Award for Best Research (History) in Folk, Ethnic, or World Music (2008)

Author Photo

MICHAEL VEAL is associate professor of ethnomusicology at Yale University, where he specializes in ethnomusicology and African-American music. He is the author of Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon (2000).

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:01:17 -0500