In recent weeks I have began the process of mixing an existing Bob Marley track (Lively Up Yourself) in an alternative, dub reggae format. Throughout this process I have studied the general conventions of dub music through listening to artists such as King Tubby, Scientist, and Mad Professor – all of whom are renowned for their contribution towards this genre.
Thus far I have produced a rough mix for the song, which has involved setting the levels of individual tracks, plus adding EQ and compression where necessary to allow individual instruments to sit in the mix nicely. Gating has also been used heavily throughout, as there is a significant amount of bleed on a number of the stems, causing unwanted noise. Additionally, I have added a number of Aux tracks to the mix, which have been used to host reverb and delay effects, as well as three parallel compression tracks focusing on individual frequency bands. Reverb and Delay effects are particularly prominent in a conventional dub reggae track, and therefore feature prominently within my current mix.
Today I went into the studio to consider an arrangement, experimenting with muting tracks and using the controller faders to bring certain aspects in and out of the mix. In doing so, I was able to identify areas were I could strip the song down, taking advantage of the prior mentioned effects and allowing them to occupy the space freely.
As a further experiment, I patched in a number of different hardware units which are designed primarily for the mastering stage.
I added the Manley EQ unit and the Sold State Logic Buss compressor to my mastering chain to assess the impact of this hardware, and I have to say they sounded really cool. I was already familiar with SSL compressor prior to this session through plug-in emulations, although getting my hands on the physical unit was really good! It sounded great and brought everything together nicely. I’m really looking forward to finishing the final mix and sharing it. Listen to the original track, ‘Lively Up Yourself’, below…