trolling for skatalites
in the course of some research today i ran across one of the best musical/technological explanations for stylistic differences in jamaican popular music that i've seen yet:
All-About-Jazz: What’s the difference among ska, reggae, and rocksteady?
Ken Stewart: It’s really just the same rhythm slowed down. The way the bass plays - [Lloyd] Brevett was talking about the walking bass in the ska - that’s basically the difference between ska and rocksteady. Rocksteady was when the bass line started to get more repetitive, and the choral [sic?] structures were less complicated and slower. As reggae came in, it’s just the same thing, basically. Electric instruments were coming in. The acoustic bass was kind of out because the bass lines were so fast that they got kind of muddy with a string bass. So the electric bass was a lot clearer and, of course, more of a punch.
i'm pretty sure he said, or meant to say, "chordal" structures. but still, sounds right on to me.
and just to prove it, here's a reggae song turned into a ska song, purely through tempo manipulation. mind you, it's not a great piece of work, especially for a ska song. (the bassline's too bubbly, not enough horns, and yeah, the effect on the voice is a bit weird at times.) but it makes a point, at least in terms of the relationship between style and tempo, ska and reggae.
max romeo, "chase the devil" (ska screw-up)
("screwed-up" seems a better term than "unscrewed" in this case, innit?)
[gun yoga: of course, more of a punch.]