King Tubby is one of the legendary figures of Jamaican music, a self-taught electronics genius who transformed studio engineering into the highest of art forms. While his contemporary Lee Scratch Perry may have cornered the market on freewheeling musical color, Tubby (along with protoges like Scientist and Prince Jammy) spawned an elegantly subtractive school of mixing, one that would go on to be among the most influential musical developments of the 20th century. Tubby himself was murdered outside of his Kingston studio in 1989, shortly after he had begun to work out his approach to the new digital styles that had swept through Jamaican music in the wake of 1985’s computerized Sleng Teng riddim.
While most serious fans of Jamaican music will know the outlines of this story, we have to give serious big ups to BBC Radio 1Xtra for the m documentary on Tubby. Hosted by legendary DJ David Rodigan, the hour long program tells the story of Tubby and his influence on music in exciting detail, including the voices of many of his close contemporaries and collaborators. Give it a listen HERE. Well, well, well worth the time.