Book Review: "Dublab: 20 Years of Future Roots Radio" from Hat & Beard Press
As a music junkie growing up in the pivotal time where record store shopping tumultuously transformed into the era of online digital streaming, I will always have a nostalgic relationship with musical discovery. I fondly recall running to Amoeba or Rasputin Records in Berkeley, California, after school, to buy the newest British import, yet also remember late nights in my dorm room with the fastest internet I’d ever experienced, downloading thousands of songs in a single sitting via Napster. And there was Dublab, founded in 1999, one of the first online radio stations to seamlessly serve as my guide through both eras of these musical adventures.
The Los Angeles-based “station” was the first to really push artists like Flying Lotus and Animal Collective, while simultaneously playing classics from Lee “Scratch” Perry and Brian Wilson collaborator Van Dyke Parks. They created the bridges and dialogues between multiple eras of outsider and experimental music at a time when many of us were in the midst of our own transitions. Not just a place for music, Dublab was a venue for art and culture, literally a lab for the underground scene. This is all collected in the newest book from Hat & Beard Press, Dublab: 20 Years of Future Roots Radio, which captures the essence of the station as the birthplace of so many talented, pivotal figures in the arts. Edited by Mark “Frosty” McNeal and J.C. Gabel, the book’s collection encapsulates the essence of musical discovery through the generations, and, as they put it, a place where, “Wise elders, optimistic youth, and receptive listeners exchange their sonic worldviews.” Born in an era where such sharing was so vital, Dublab and this monograph melodically prove that treasure hunts were alive and well at the dawn of the digital era. —Evan Pricco
Hat & Beard, hatandbeard.com