Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

American Studies

Major Professor

Andrew Berish, Ph.D.

Keywords

Jamaica, Echo, Reverb, Remix, Spatial effects

Abstract

Dub reggae is widely regarded as an early form of the remix. Dub artists modify previously recorded reggae songs by manipulating a song's individual tracks with a mixing board and layering them in aural effects such as reverb and echo. These effects are fundamentally spatial in quality, giving the listener an impression of vast open space. This paper is an analysis of the techniques utilized in dub's construction of sonic space as well as an investigation of the cultural meaning of those spaces. My analysis utilizes Josh Kun's theories about "audiotopias" (temporary aural spaces created through music) in order to study how sonic spaces create "new maps" that allow an individual to analyze their current social predicament. These "new maps," therefore, engender a "remapping" of reality, a reconstitutive process that parallels dub's emphasis on modification and alteration. This paper also argues that dub's audiotopias are implicitly natural, although they are constructed through modern recording technologies such as the echo chamber and the reverb unit. A final chapter applies these analytical techniques to one of dub's most popular musical offspring, hip hop.

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