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28 photos of sound systems through the ages

An intimate look at the evolution of sound system culture

  • Harrison Williams
  • 22 September 2017

Is there anything in this world more satisfying than getting blasted with sound frequencies? For us here at Mixmag, obsessed with music and the feeling it evokes, we can think of nothing else.

Back in 1950s Jamaica, a fellow by the name of Hedley Jones, who was fueled by a passion for music, developed the first sound system. His "Houses of Joy" as he liked to call them, helped spark an entire culture around these carefully crafted stacks and engineers of today continue to innovate and expand on that original concept.

During each decade since the original sound system of Hedley Jones, a new sound system seems to pop up at different locations around the world. London turned into a hotbed for the culture to thrive during the 60s and 70s thanks to visionaries like Jah Shaka, Aba Shanti-I and Channel One, while Downbeat The Ruler pioneered sound systems in the United States. Now sound systems like Mungo's Hi Fi in Glasgow, Dub-Suy's Tower Of Sound in Brooklyn and James Murphy and 2manydjs' Despacio sound system are setting the benchmark.

With yet another smashing success of this year's Notting Hill Carnival and a new documentary, Nice Up The Dance!, which set to dive deep into the history of sound systems, Mixmag has compiled a collection of photos offering an intimate look at the evolution of the culture.

View the gallery above to see sound systems through the ages.

Harrison is Mixmag's East Coast Editor. Follow him on Twitter here

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