The forgotten art of the dub – Part 6

All this week, I’ve been running a series on this page dedicated to some of my favourite dubs from the world of house music. There may well have to be a continuation of this series in the future! For today’s concluding part, I go back all the way to 1991.

The 1990s were a fantastic time to be in the remix business. Practically any label that wanted to boost its vinyl sales wanted remixes – and those remixers knew it. They could charge big money for their work. Figures like £10,000 and above were not uncommon. And there were few that commanded higher fees than Masters At Work.

At this time, remixers were given enormous levels of freedom with where they took the songs they were asked to rework. So far as they received a version more respectful of the original, labels were perfectly comfortable with including more leftfield mixes. This is very much one of them.

Only a few vocal snippets from the original song seem to have been used here. The remix replays sections of “I Need You” by Nikita Warren – in the early 90s, this was an extremely common practice. So far as ideas go, it’s probably not the most original.

Yet in the world of house music, just about everyone recognises it to this day…

The forgotten art of the dub – Part 5

All this week, I’m going to be delving into the world of house music dubs. An essential inclusion in the sets of house DJs in the 1980s and 90s, dubs have fallen out of favour in recent years. This series is dedicated to exploring some of the best ones. We conclude tomorrow – day 5 of 6 goes to this one from 1994.

Hard as it is to believe, but there was once a time when Michelle Weeks was a relative unknown. This was one of her first outings on vinyl, and her talent was apparent even then. Another talent at the time (and still do today) is StoneBridge. The man, real name Sten Hallstrom, has several hundred remixes to his name – and like many 90s house heads, he knew all too well how to do an excellent dub.

The vocal cut-ups, the stabby little chords, those drums… there’s nothing bad I could say about this one.

The forgotten art of the dub – Part 4

All this week, I’m going to be delving into the world of house music dubs. An essential inclusion in the sets of house DJs in the 1980s and 90s, dubs have fallen out of favour in recent years. This series is dedicated to exploring some of the best ones.

Today, we go back two decades to 1998…

It’s no exaggeration to say that Tuff Jam were everywhere in 1998. The likes of Grant Nelson may have been the trailblazer for the British garage sound, but Tuff Jam took it to the next level. Every remix they did was underground yet still accessible. And there were few areas they shone more than in their dubs.

It was hard to pick just one. In the end, I decided to go for a less obvious one. Their vocal mix of this Jocelyn Brown cover is sensational, but the dub manages to go in a different yet no less intriguing directionno less intriguing direction

The forgotten art of the dub – Part 3

All this week, I’m going to be delving into the world of house music dubs. An essential inclusion in the sets of house DJs in the 1980s and 90s, dubs have fallen out of favour in recent years. This series is dedicated to exploring some of the best ones. Today, we bring things all the way to last year…

House dubs were at their peak in the 1990s, but good ones still exist out there. This one came out during the summer. Marc Cotterell released his very pleasant “Need More Love” with Keith Sibley. Here, long time dance music producer Brian Keys Tharme steps in and shows us how it’s done…

The forgotten art of the dub – Part 2

All this week, I’m going to be delving into the world of house music dubs. An essential inclusion in the sets of house DJs in the 1980s and 90s, dubs have fallen out of favour in recent years. This series is dedicated to exploring some of the best ones. Today, it’s this dub from Nu-Birth from 1998…

Back in the day, Ministry of Sound was a much humbler composition than the Sony-backed beast it is now. In the late 90s, the Sound of Ministry brand was alive and well. Nu-Birth were also around, their song “Anytime” guaranteeing them a stream of steady remix work.

This was the dub they did of “This Is It” by State Of Mind. The vocals of Michelle Douglas are cut up substantially, yet still make sense. The bassline is chunky, that hollowed out sound pushing the music forward – yet the skippy drum programming and soft electronic piano sounds keep this one danceable for a more mainstream crowd.

Still sounds great 23 years later, I think…

The forgotten art of the dub – Part 1

Today, we start off a brand new series on this page, exploring some of the best house dubs to come out over the years. These aren’t necessarily chosen for impact on the scene, more out of personal preference.

Today, it’s “Promises” by Paris Red from 1992.

I can find virtually no information online about Paris Red. All I know is she was active from 1991 to around 1998, then seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. Thankfully, I do know a lot more about E-Smoove.

He was one of the big house remixers in the 1990s and worked for labels big and small, applying his brand of mostly big piano house wherever he went.

And like many great producers, he knew when to take a different approach. He certainly did so with this dub in 1992 – whilst it loops quite a bit, plenty of elements come in and out of the mix keeping things interesting…

The forgotten art of the dub – starts tomorrow!

The house dub used to be something that was everywhere years ago. Many a producer and remixer was known as much for their skill to showcase a vocal as they were for the ability to cut it up or use it very differently.

Many a DJ used them in their sets, such was their flexibility. Whether it was to assist the transition from soulful to deeper records, to permit more records into a set time or simply a way to work in an artist who you otherwise wouldn’t or couldn’t normally.

Nowadays, the house dub is largely forgotten, partly as a result of changes in club culture, partly due to the way music is sold – and sometimes not – in the world today.

Starting tomorrow, and running all the way until Saturday, I’m going to look back at my favourite dubs from over the years. It’s nearly dub time!

The forgotten art of the dub – coming next week

Years ago, house music dubs were everywhere. DJs played them, clubbers danced to them, record labels kept commissioning them.

They’re not as prevalent anymore for a myriad of reasons. This series looks back at the best examples of house dubs, a bit of an art form when done right!

The series starts on Monday and runs all week…