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In this section you can find things that will assist you in your own computer-based musical productions. There's a lot of original Dubroom material which you can use, but also third party material. There's much more than "just" sampled material, as you can find some little pieces of software, presets and other things as well. Everything in this section is, like all stuff in the Dubroom by the way, legal and -a lot of times- absolutely free of charge. Definitely worth a visit, for novice to veteran.

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ABOUT CHAPTER 2

In part 2 the computer is being presented as a crucial tool, because it can simulate real situations and more, it can therefore also more or less function as a complete studio.  The computer can do more then what it simulates, causing a danger of putting too much technique in the music and therefore it has to be observed that your listeners are not digital so to speak.

ABOUT THIS CHAPTER

This chapter has been re-written in September 2014. CLICK HERE for the archived version.

MAKING DUB WITH COMPUTERS - CHAPTER 3: INGREDIENTS

So, the computer is the studio. The DUB studio. It gives us instruments, effects, plus mixing and recording devices. In the old days, you would need at least several computers because these ancient machines could not do everything at once. Today, that's no longer an issue. I've mentioned Propellerhead's Reason and Ableton's Live as main examples of software that turns your computer into a full blown studio with more possibilities then the average 1980's analogue counterpart.

Just having a studio doesn't bring you the Dub on a silver platter, obviously. The studio is the kitchen where you turn ingredients into a meal, the factory where ground products are turned into usable items. Yes, you need a studio but you need ingredients, too.

Time to take a look into what Dub is, and what it's not.

The shortest definition I can come up with, is this:

"DUB is a specific art and technique of remixing Reggae tracks."

That's right. You'll need to have a Reggae track before you can make (a) Dub. An instrumental Reggae track, or a Reggae track with singers. You'll need to have that track in multi-track format, too. When you're mixing a Dub with your mixing board, the input channels must have different instruments on different tracks and what you do is (un)mute these channels. Bottom line: When you don't have anything to (un)mute, you can't make a Dub.

Now, many people know that Dub is a very specific studio-related kind of music. Not so many people know, that the same goes for Reggae Music as a whole. Today, you have Reggae bands all over the world doing live performances but the music came into existence in Jamaica where that was just too expensive. In the 1960's, early 1970's Reggae would be played in studios like Studio One and Channel One by the studio's "house bands". Producers would hire the studio band, vocalists, Dub engineers and what have you. The recordings would be used as vinyl releases and played on Sound Systems, where an MC would do live performances. Special Dub mixes would be made for Sound Systems, too. They're called Dub Plates.

This explains why you will hear different vocalists singing over the very same instrumental recordings, it explains why you will have different versions like Discomixes and Dub mixes on the very same track. Very, very rarely would a Reggae act make their own "songs" and compositions in the way western bands like the Rolling Stones or U2 would do. That's why I am reluctant to speak about "Reggae Songs". I associate the word "song" with a composition, with music being composed to go with a specific lyric and vocalist and band. I would rather speak about a "Reggae Riddim" and not completely coincidentally this is the exact Jamaican term for a Reggae track as well. 

A riddim is defined by it's bass line and it's theme. They're given names, and some riddims have reached classic status. A lot of riddims were originally created in Studio One in the 1960's, but they are still being used today by producers world-wide. There's a website called the "Jamaican Riddim Directory" where you can research and listen to the countless of riddims as they are used throughout the decades. 

Bands play a riddim into the multi-track recorder of the studio, vocalists and Dub engineers will further work on that material before it's released to the public. When you want to make Dub with computers, you will have to not just simulate the Studio, you will have to simulate this whole process. You will have to make a riddim, add vocals (or don't), then remix this on your mixing board into a real and authentic Dub. 

Riddims can be played by a band, they can be programmed, or they can be constructed using (purchased or downloaded) audio loops. A combination of two or three is not just possible, but often applicated as well. Whatever the case, though, a riddim must be made and a good riddim has certain obligatory elements or ingredients. Here they are:

  • Bass Line
  • Drum Line
  • Riddim or Skanks
  • Theme
  • Accompanying Instruments

Arguably, you can forget the last two, but a drum and bass line with the right chords played by a riddim section is the very, very least. 

Traditionally, the bass and drums are played by a bass guitarist and a drummer. The skanks or riddim section will usually be played by a combination of a piano, guitar and organ. The theme, usually a horn section and there's extra instruments like a clavinet and muted ("pucking") guitar. There are digital genres in DUB, especially UK Dub and Eurodub where the skanks are played by a more synthesized sound, there are obvious Drum computers and Bass synthesizers, themes can be played by a synth too, but the ingredients remain to be necessary for the construction of that Reggae track you need to have before you can Dub it.

Throughout the next chapters of this tutorial, we'll dive in-depth into the different patterns and ways to build a Reggae track. You will discover an easy formula you can apply to create literally thousands of different tracks. That is, before we'll make a track from scratch and turn it into a Dub mix in a chapter far away from this one.

<<<PREVIOUS CHAPTER<<< - MAKING DUB WITH COMPUTERS - >>>NEXT CHAPTER>>>

This tutorial is in an unfinished stage, but it does contain the basics to get yourself equipped to use just about any DAW or even hardware studio in order to make DUB from Reggae Music in the authentic and original way. When you have a question or comment you'd like to see addressed, feel free to use the Dubroom Contact pages or join YUKU.com and post your words publicly on the Studio Forum. Click here to read about the latest updates to this tutorial.

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