Distillation of Sound (Book)

Dub and the Creation of Culture

Distillation of Sound traces the beginnings of dub music in Jamaica and how the culture is distilled throughout the world. It focuses on the analysis of some of the most famous full-length albums of dub music and how the engineers, producers, and musicians created a new sound that changed the way that people heard music. 15 b/w illus.

Category: Music, Sound


Jamaican music has always been about creating with what is at hand. Taking what is around you and making it into something great is the key to dub and Jamaican culture. Dub music in Jamaica started in the early 1970s and by the end of the decade had influenced an entire population. The music began to use the rhythm track of a song as a song itself and spread quickly throughout the sound systems of the island. This book reflects on the importance of dub music and its influence on the music world with the rise and spread of dub in New York, England, and Japan. Eric Abbey discusses the separation between dub as a product and dub as an act of the engineer. Distillation of Sound focuses on the original music of Jamaica and how dub reggae expanded and shifted Jamaican culture. It will further the discussion on dub music, its importance to Jamaican culture, and its creative influence on the music world.

Eric Abbey, Ph.D. is a professor of English and literature at Oakland Community College outside of Detroit, MI, USA. He is also a professional musician and producer of dub, reggae and ska music.

‘This is an engagingly written, detailed and deeply intelligent analysis of dub music from its inception through to its worldwide distillation. Abbey’s deep knowledge of the technology involved is displayed in a natural and effortless discussion of the creation of dub.’ 

Evan Ware, California State Polytechnic University Pomona
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