Tag Archives: dub

Jah Shaka Presents Dub Masters Volume 1 by Various Artists (Island Records)

EVERYONE seems to regard the Eighties as a very fragmented decade, where the nation’s youth were divided up into a series of distinct tribes – football fans, indie kids, skins, punks, skaters, whatever – with, the odd bit of casual ultra-violence aside, very little interaction between each. That wasn’t really the case.

We were coming to the end of the time when you had to be ‘something’. Or maybe it was just me feeling like that, having finally reached some kind of level of maturity.

I don’t think I ever self identified as ‘a raver’, in the same way I never really thought of myself as ‘a punk’, as such. I just used to like wearing stupid clothes, having a bad haircut and listening to poorly produced music on a cheap record player. And, at least as far as the people I hung about with were concerned, everyone seemed to be into everything.

Either way, whatever the fuck you call the kind of people who listened to the Fall, the Buttholes, Sonic Youth and Big Black in 1989, I was one of them. Ditto Public Enemy, KRS-1, the Cabs, Renegade Soundwave and the Shamen. And the Stone Roses and the Mondays. And Ofra Haza. And On-U Sound – Tackhead, Dub Syndicate – and lots more dub.

Meanwhile, the musical landscape of Britain was shifting and, just like everyone else, I was getting more and more into house music.

I was all about the music. You may have noticed.

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Andrew Weatherall*1

HE MIGHT describe himself as the “classic underachiever”, but Andrew Weatherall doesn’t seem to have done so badly.

A music and fashion nut from Windsor with an unhealthy obsession for the minutiae of the rituals and mores of a string of different youth cults, Weatherall is part of that charmed generation who were just about old enough to experience the first wave of punk rock first hand but not too old to appreciate acid house 10 years later.

Inspired by Peter Hooton’s The End fanzine, Weatherall and his friends Terry Farley, Cymon Eccles and Steve Mayes – already seasoned clubbers to a man – created the football, music and fashion Boy’s Own fanzine in 1987.

They threw some very groovy guerrilla parties styled on the scene they’d experienced at places like Amnesia in Ibiza, before Weatherall, Farley and Steve May launched the hugely-influential Boy’s Own record label (look out for 20th anniversary events coming up this year), which has gone on to bring people such as the Chemical Brothers, Underworld, X-Press 2 and Black Science Orchestra to the world’s attention.

Weatherall is probably as much to blame for the horror that was ‘indie-dance’ as the Great Satan Oakenfold. His remix of Primal Scream’s I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have – which he transformed into the downtempo Balearic masterpiece Loaded – spawned a thousand tedious de-facto cover versions by everyone from Blur to the Soup Dragons.

Since then, the former Shoom resident has become synonymous with the heavier, more intense end of electronica, with club nights like Blood Sugar and Sabresonic and production outfits like Sabres of Paradise and Two Lone Swordsmen. But Weatherall has a million other aliases and guises. He’s a difficult man to pin down.

The last time our paths crossed, a couple of years ago, I busted my knee dancing around an open-air club at 6am after a long, long night at the Benicassim festival in Spain.

I’d somehow got separated from Dr Drew and, decidedly dazed and confused, made friends with some lovely boys from Zaragoza who, amongst other kindnesses, blagged me into the party.

Weatherall  wasn’t playing punk, but I felt the need to pogo. It was that kind of night/morning. In fact, he’d actually gone a bit disco, well, in a deep house kinda way. It was an entirely unexpected turn of events, but it was a laugh a minute.

The first time I met Andrew Weatherall was in Leeds towards the end of 1993 after a gig at Soundclash.

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Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare

CLAD in baggy, faded denim dungarees and baseball cap, locks carefully tied-up at the back, Lowell ‘Sly’ Dunbar is stretched out on a wicker sofa in his record company’s offices in Notting Hill, west London.

Only a wide variety of conspicuously chunky gold jewellery betrays the veteran drummer’s status as one of the most successful – and influential – musicians ever to emerge from the Caribbean.

Robbie Shakespeare, who accompanies Dunbar’s thundering drum patterns with an equally-apocalyptic bass sound, is absent, having just flown in from Jamaica, and he‘s sleeping off his jet-lag. The pair are in town to promote their new album, Strip To The Bone, which they recorded with U2 and Bjork producer, Howie B.

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Commandments of Dub, Chapter 8: Imperial Dub by Jah Shaka (Jah Shaka Music)

I WORKED the counter of Record Village in sunny Scunthorpe for a while, and as well as hoovering up, making brews and surreptitiously pressuring kids into buying my fanzine, I also ordered indie records from Red Rhino distribution in York. I was only hired in the first place because I was buying all that stuff anyway, as a punter, and geeky enough to fit the bill.

Naturally enough, I blew a hefty chunk of my meagre wage on records. I was a kid in a sweet shop. Daft as a brush. More money than sense – and I never seemed to have any money. But I had a fantastic record collection.

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