KING TUBBY

The Dub Master Presents the Roots of Dub and Dub from the Roots

(Moll-Selekta)

****

SYSTEMWIDE

Impurely Replied: Systemwide Remixed

(BSI Records)

***

PHILOSOPHY MAJOR

Hypnerotomachia

(WordSound Recordings)

***

Born Osbourne Ruddock in Kingston, Jamaica, King Tubby, who was murdered in 1989, is credited with having invented the art of versioning--now called remixing--and was one of the first DJs, in the hiphop sense, working with "toasters," Jamaican rappers. Moll-Selekta's double CD contains Tubby's first and second "dub albums": The Roots of Dub (1974), and Dub from the Roots (1975). Both are important: for one, because they contain some of the most beautiful dubs ever produced ("Dub Magnificent," "Declaration of Dub," "Invasions"), and they are the steps leading up to Tubby's first major creative peak, the classic King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown.

King Tubby's descendents are everywhere. Some are in Portland, in the form of Systemwide, who have just released a collection of remixes/versions of their 2002 CD, Pure and Applied. The best dub is not attached to its origins, but stands as an independent work of art, and such is the case with Impurely Replied. Containing remixes by some of the best dubbers in the world, the tracks on Impurely Replied are not only independent but in certain cases the version surpasses the original considerably, as with English dub master Jah Warrior's "Dub Plate [Remix]."

Another descendent of King Tubby is Seattle's Philosophy Major. It's impossible not to separate his CD Hypnerotomachia from DJ Spooky's Songs of a Dead Dreamer. Like Spooky, Major's futurism is that of an urban archaeology, a look at the future by opening up and exploring layers of dead technology. Now that dub is here, at the end of America, we can say that dub is everywhere. CHARLES MUDEDE

BERT JANSCH

S/T

(Transatlantic/Earmark)

****

Bert Jansch's 1965 debut is as intimate as eavesdropping. The songs are sung directly to an unseen partner; a friend dying from a heroin addiction or a lover unwilling to elope. The instrumentals woven throughout the record are rousing, full of melody and change, often resembling the work of John Fahey. This rambling style, half Southern blues and half English ballad, hints at the path that Jansch was about to take--delving deeper into the centuries-long history of this tradition. Although 40 years of living and recording may have altered the singer, this debut remains the work of a uneasy, restless young man overwhelmed by the world yet unwilling to surrender to it. ETHAN SWAN

**** Spiced Cider

*** Egg Nog

** Hot Buttered Rum

* Mulled Wine