Boarding Links new dub train at dusk...
Boarding Link's new dub train at dusk... Charles Mudede

The derivatives of dub (dub-tech, dub-step, post-dub) have maintained a close relationship with the transporting sounds of light and heavy trains. Burial's 2005 dub-step track "South London Boroughs" moves, for example, at the momentum of a hefty train engine pulling car after car after car. The Chicago and Detroit collaboration called DeepChord Presents Echospace released in 2010 "Burnt Sage," a dub beat built around a Tokyo subway train. You can hear it move (rattling, track-swaying, pulling humans) through a city whose immensity mirrors in so many ways the galaxy in which our solar system is caught. "Burnt Sage" itself is obviously inspired by the ghost of a train Scion slipped into his remix of Basic Channel's dub-tech masterpiece "Inversion."

And this brings us to a new remix by Sean Lennon and its connection to Link light rail's new trains...

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Not long ago, I gave what some might consider to be a rather uncharitable review of Link's new trains. However, at the time, mid-May, I honestly could not see what distinguished, in a meaningful way, the brand new light-rail vehicle trains made by the Munich-based corporation Siemens Mobility, and the older ones manufactured by Japan's Kinkisharyo. But after five or so trips in the Siemens-made cars, the main difference became apparent: it's all found in the size of the windows. Their largeness presents the train with a great deal more of the motion-animated city, and the best spot to see the city-absolute (or downtown) on Link is the elevated span between the at-grade SODO Station and the underground Beacon Hill Station. Here the new windows really come alive and we can see/hear something that comes close to the dub of Link.

The rocker Sean Lennon just dropped a surprisingly dubby remix of a tune, "Summer Sun," by the British musician Matt Berry. I have no ideas about Berry, but his tune and the album it's on, The Blue Elephant, recall the kind of neo-psychedelic rock by outfits like Melody's Echo Chamber and the Temples. Lennon basically transformed Berry's psychedelia into the dubby house that borders on that never not-mesmerizing Roland TB-303 Bass Line sound pioneered by Chicago's DJ Pierre back in the late 1980s.


My goal tonight is to listen to this new and superb remix in a new train that's on the span that splits the downtown side of SODO from its industrial side. Those spreading lights of production. The dark corporate towers. Enter tunnel darkness with dub.

Quick note: The subheader of this post was, of course, inspired by the dub classic "King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown."