In Iain M Banks's Culture universe, subliming is the description of the final stage of evolution, the ascendance to near-godhood.

It is not a target for (most of) the inhabitants, but it is a choice, and is similar to the description above of ice turning to air - the physical form dissapears, and there is no trace of the being.

The Sublime is a concept developed by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant in his Critique of Judgement. It relates a feeling of beauty to abstract mental processes. It has been many years since I have read this rather dry and complicated work myself, so much of this is taken from second hand sources. As in most Kantian works, it requires qite a bit of wading through complicated and seemingly unfeeling terminology to reach a beaitful, universal concept.

According to Kant, the feeling of sublimity rises when there is a gap between what the mind can understand, and what it can represent ot itself. All humans have some sort of concept of peace, and can apply this concept to their daily lives. Sometimes they can even apply this concept in extraordinary circumstances. And from experience with this concept on a practical level, they can imagine total or absolute peace. But what they can't do is represent this concept in their mind, they can not form a picture or diagram or verbal description of it.

This creates what is almost a paradox. On one hand, the concept of say, absolute peace is easy to carry around with us, and is something that we all hope for. And yet not a single person can really visualize or explain what that concept means.

In Kant's view, this is the feeling of The Sublime, a feeling that a picture, a piece of music or a poem hints at a greater truth then it can ever capture in the form it has. I personally believe this idea explains why some art appeals to me, it is the art that I can not explain that always pulls me the most.

And of course, I have to add...What I really want to know I can't define.

April twenty-six nineteen ninety two
There was a riot in the streets tell me where were you
You were sitting home watching your TV
While I was participating in some Anarchy
- Sublime, "April 26, 1992"


In few words

Sublime is a ska / punk / dub / reggae-ish band active from the late 80s to the mid 90s. Most famous for the songs Date Rape, What I Got and a few other hits.

The history

The place was Long Beach, California. The year was 1988. Three young men hang around together, playing some garage punk music every now and then. On the 4th of July they played their first gig, and subsequently started touring the local music scene in California.

Slowly but surely the band started to get some followers, and they started selling independently produced CDs at their shows. Exposure on radio of those CDs got the band a record contract with MCA

The trio consisted of:

The music

Sublime very much created their own style of music, and they made it possible for artists like Sugar Ray and Buzz Poets. Their music style is difficult to categorize, but it has definite roots of reggae, ska, and also elements of the punk revival that Green Day and Offspring made so popular in the mid-90s.

These elements, combined with beats that have a certain hip-hop and / or dub feel to them made Sublime famous.

Songs that are typical of the band (i.e download these if you want to find out if you like them, and then get the albums if you do):

The tragic end

Just before the release of their third CD, on May 1996, Bradley overdosed on heroin in a San Francisco hotelroom. This pretty much put an end to Sublime, both to what it was and what it could possibly have become.

The remaining two started a new band after Bradley's departure; Long Beach Dub Allstars

Discography & micro-reviews

(Comments are subjective opinions on the various albums. Disregard at will)

  • 1992 - 40 ounces to Freedom
    • On this debut album, the initial impression is that the style seems slightly broken up. The band show that they are quite diverse in their music styles, but they don't seem to get anything right. Mind you, there are a few gems on here, in particular Badfish and Date Rape, but the album has heavy traces of starting-up troubles. The lyrics aren't exactly worth any awards, but this is a definite summertime-driving-your-car-to-the-beach album.
  • 1994 - Robbin' the Hood
    • This album has Boss DJ and Saw Red on them. What else can I say? Gorgeous fractions of dub / ska. The music has gotten some more substance than it had on their debut album, but they are still getting better on...
  • 1996 - Sublime
    • Sublime's third album, released just after Bradley's death, sold lots of copies, and that for a reason. The album is a journey through the world that Sublime created in their first two albums, except, well, better. The music became more secure, but also more sexy and playful. Great album that's definitely worth having. More summertime music, obviously, but that is not a bad thing. If you only buy one Sublime CD - let this be the one!
  • 1998 - Stand by your Van
    • This is Sublime's live CD with recordings of songs from the first two CDs. It is not worth having unless you already own 40 oz and Robbin', but if you do, and decide you like them a lot, this album might be what you are looking for. The live versions of the songs are a bit more relaxed and less pretentious than the album versions, but the difference is so small that it's hardly worth the money unless you are a Sublime fan.
  • 1998 - Acoustic: Bradly Nowell and Friends
    • Now this is a true gem. This acoustic album is an even more laid back version of Sublime. The album combines a best-of compilation with an acoustic and live album at the same time. If you like Sublime, and would like to have a look at the "softer" side, this would be a good choice.



The third album by the SoCal ska-punkers of the same name. Released in 1996 on the band's own record label (Skunk Records) a few months after the death by heroin overdose of lead singer/songwriter/guitarist, Brad Nowell. Probably the best introduction to Sublime due to its accessibility, but its less successful predecessors (40 oz. to Freedom and Robbin' the Hood) certainly rival this album in many respects.

  1. Garden Grove - 4:21
  2. What I Got - 2:51
  3. Wrong Way - 2:16
  4. Same in the End - 2:37
  5. April 29, 1992 (Miami) - 3:53
  6. Santeria - 3:03
  7. Seed - 2:10
  8. Jailhouse - 4:53
  9. Pawn Shop - 6:06
  10. Paddle Out - 1:15
  11. The Ballad of Johnny Butt - 3:32
  12. Burritos - 3:55
  13. Under My Voodoo - 3:26
  14. Get Ready - 4:52
  15. Caress Me Down - 3:32
  16. What I Got (Reprise) - 3:02
  17. Doin' Time - 4:14

Videos were made for What I Got, Wrong Way and Santeria, all receiving a reasonable amount of airplay due to the extra publicity surrounding Brad's death. Other highlights are April 29, 1992 (Miami), Same in the End and Caress Me Down.

Sub*lime" (?), a. [Compar. Sublimer (?); superl. Sublimest.] [L. sublimis; sub under + (perhaps) a word akin to limen lintel, sill, thus meaning, up to the lintel: cf. F. sublime. Cf. Eliminate.]


Lifted up; high in place; exalted aloft; uplifted; lofty.

Sublime on these a tower of steel is reared. Dryden.


Distinguished by lofty or noble traits; eminent; -- said of persons.

"The sublime Julian leader."

De Quincey.


Awakening or expressing the emotion of awe, adoration, veneration, heroic resolve, etc.; dignified; grand; solemn; stately; -- said of an impressive object in nature, of an action, of a discourse, of a work of art, of a spectacle, etc.; as, sublime scenery; a sublime deed.

Easy in words thy style, in sense sublime. Prior.

Know how sublime a thing it is To suffer and be strong. Longfellow.


Elevated by joy; elate.


Their hearts were jocund and sublime, Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine. Milton.


Lofty of mien; haughty; proud.

[Poetic] "Countenance sublime and insolent."


His fair, large front and eye sublime declared Absolute rule. Milton.

Syn. -- Exalted; lofty; noble; majestic. See Grand.


© Webster 1913.

Sub*lime", n.

That which is sublime; -- with the definite article

; as: (a)

A grand or lofty style in speaking or writing; a style that expresses lofty conceptions.

The sublime rises from the nobleness of thoughts, the magnificence of words, or the harmonious and lively turn of the phrase. Addison.


That which is grand in nature or art, as distinguished from the merely beautiful.


© Webster 1913.

Sub*lime", v. t. [imp. & p. p. Sublimed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Subliming.] [Cf. L. sublimare, F. sublimer to subject to sublimation. See Sublime, a., and cf. Sublimate, v. t.]


To raise on high.


A soul sublimed by an idea above the region of vanity and conceit. E. P. Whipple.

2. Chem.

To subject to the process of sublimation; to heat, volatilize, and condense in crystals or powder; to distill off, and condense in solid form; hence, also, to purify.


To exalt; to heighten; to improve; to purify.

The sun . . . Which not alone the southern wit sublimes, But ripens spirits in cold, northern climes. Pope.


To dignify; to ennoble.

An ordinary gift can not sublime a person to a supernatural employment. Jer. Taylor.


© Webster 1913.

Sub*lime" (?), v. i. Chem.

To pass off in vapor, with immediate condensation; specifically, to evaporate or volatilize from the solid state without apparent melting; -- said of those substances, like arsenic, benzoic acid, etc., which do not exhibit a liquid form on heating, except under increased pressure.


© Webster 1913.

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