BUSAN, South Korea — Since its creation in the late 1960s, dub music has been a revolutionary force powered by bass and FX; a sound at once visceral and dream-like. The pioneers, such as Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and King Tubby, looked to the mixing board for inspiration and as an instrument in itself, setting off an ongoing chain reaction through clubs and studios across the world. The sound and vision of dub music has seen itself reflected through many genres — punk, drum/bass, hip hop, electro, ska, ambient, trip hop — and directly influenced the arts of sampling and remixing. 40 years after its inception, dub’s vibe continues to catch the ears and shake the rumps of multitudes of crate-diggers and club-goers alike.
While many producers and musicians reinterpret dub music in myriad ways, some musicians remain dedicated to the roots of dub and its adaptation from the studio to the stage. Korea is lucky to have one such act in the explosive sound of Bibim Dub Trio. Led by the enigmatic and tireless Kim Ban Jang, the Trio (and their sister group I & I Djangdan) are bringing dub culture to Korea as the only group on the peninsula to play dub music in all its FX-laden, brain-melting live glory. The journey of true dub from the studio to the stage requires a truckload of live gear (separate mixers, lots of mics, FX processors, keyboard racks, electronics, etc.) and tireless dedication to a perfect sound that replicates the dream-cavern aura created by the genre’s greatest talents.
Gear alone is nothing without gifted musicians to master it, and the Trio certainly qualifies. Drummer/vocalist/bandleader Kim Ban Jang has been a force of (rebel) nature in the world of Korean music for the last 10 years. His first group, Asoto Union’s unique and progressive blend of soul and funk boogaloo (think Marvin Gaye meets Jamiroquai) was wildly popular, lighting up the peninsula with its first single “Think About Chu”. After achieving significant mainstream success, Kim Ban Jang decided to dig deeper into the sounds that most intrigued him and traveled extensively in Africa and Jamaica, filming a documentary and getting in touch with his past and future muses. He went on to form Korea’s first reggae band, Windy City, and was met with enthusiastic acclaim from critics and laymen alike. Dedicated to diving in head-first to all of his musical influences, he later formed the fusion of dub and Korean traditional music that is I & I Djangdan, and has created a masterwork of pure dub in Bibim Dub Trio. In the Trio, he is joined by Iris (of I & I Djangdan and Surisurimahasuri) on the stacks of keys, and, alternately, French solo artist Hoarang Francois and Ras Guk San as effects/electronics masterminds known as “dubwisers.” The group’s live show is one of a kind in Korea, and would hold its own in Kingston or London just as well.
Kim Ban Jang and Bibim Dub Trio will be blessing Busan with their good vibes on Saturday, May 14 at Club Fabric in KSU area (just down the street from Monk Jazz Club and ‘Ol 55). Kim Ban Jang and Ras Guk San will also perform DJ sets, and they will be joined by Busan’s own Malbool (of Bombino Records), Griff, and Professor spinning those infectious dub, cumbiastep, roots, and world sounds that shake hips and minds alike. 20,000 won gets you in with a free drink. Brought to you by RAD CITY!
Rhylon Durham is an English teacher in Busan and proprietor of Rad City.
You can get updates on the event here.