Bass Worship begins with a Wikipedia definition of “bass” that feels like a parody of a first-year university student essay. The 30-minute short by Australian YouTuber Turismo4k can only be described as a 101 course in dub and sound system culture. Yet for anyone seeking a surface-level intro to the Jamaican music genre before digging deeper, it’s an informative watch that has clearly been made from a place of appreciation.
True to his name, Turismo brings viewers on a tour through the studios of King Tubby and Lee “Scratch” Perry. The latter becomes a special focus with stories of his psychedelic recording techniques: burying mics under palm trees, spraying bodily fluids onto tapes, and infamously burning down the Black Ark. The film is most effective when specific songs are highlighted, such as the Procol Harum-inspired riddim from Jackie Mitoo’s “Darker Shade of Black” evolving into Augustus Pablo’s “Harder Shade of Black” and eventually Scientist’s “Blacka Shade of Dub.”
Turismo’s basic thesis is that dub can be credited with laying the foundations for remixing, sampling, and any other musical practices with the studio used as instrument. He traces its influence on the usual subjects of these discussions such as late ’70s post-punk and early ’90s dub techno, but also makes arguments for its influence on musique concrète, DJ Screw, and Hype Williams. Listen back to Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland’s bleary-eyed riddims and you’d be hard pressed to disagree.