Small Axe 

Many people have wondered about the origins of dub. In Jamaica it was of course the version era that led to dub, but what of outside influences? This third CD from Burning Babylon which is in fact the first CD, (I love this kind of stuff!) provides a big clue. On this excellent set you will find lots of little musical links way back to the fifties. I don't know if Slade Anderson/Burning Babylon is a rockabilly fan, but that is what he's picking up on here, and it all makes sense, because some of the earliest examples of dubwise come from people like Bill Haley and the Comets!!! Pure bass and drum with plenty of echo!!! Anyways this is another magnificent set with some great playing and a lot of imagination. Its also presented in a great digipak, featuring some interesting sleevenotes!!! Great stuff.

Although Burning Babylon's "Garden Of Dub" follows up the albums "Knives To The Treble" (2004) and "Stereo Mash Up" (2005), it's actually the debut set from 2001, which according to the liner notes is 'the long lost bredren and esteemed predecessor' of the aforementioned albums.


Slade Anderson, actually the man who created the one man Dub Reggae project Burning Babylon, recorded "Garden Of Dub" at his makeshift studio "The SoundShack", a spare bedroom in his apartment in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts USA. At that time he didn't have a record label to release his music, so he made 50 copies on CD-R and gave most of those away to local radio stations, friends and anyone else who asked for a copy. Since 2003 he's officially releasing his music through Mars Recordings, and thus "Garden Of Dub" can finally see the light of day.


"Garden Of Dub", an album with a consciously created theme/concept in mind, features some serious new style dub outings, which unmistakable have links to the Jamaican roots of dub and its originators. From beginning to end the listener is taken on a truly hallucinating trip through imaginative soundscapes with plenty of echo and soundeffects, with the drum and the bass as the driving force. Personal favorites are the beautiful "Into Twilight" with its jazzy horn parts and angelic vocals flowing in and out of the mix, "Dance A Yard", the awesome bass driven "Rootical I-ration", "Ashes Of Babylon" and the wicked "Earth And Stone".

All in all a nice dub album, worthwhile checking out!

Although this is the third commercial release from one-man dub factory Slade Anderson (who records under the name Burning Babylon), it actually consists of music that predates his previous two releases, 2004's Knives to the Treble and 2005's Stereo Mash Up.

Garden of Dub consists of tracks he created in his rudimentary bedroom studio throughout 2001, when his equipment consisted of an old Fender Jazz bass, a cheap Mexican Stratocaster copy, an equally cheap keyboard and a handful of old pedal and rack effects. He played everything himself, recording straight to an eight-track cassette deck. But as was the case with the legendary Black Ark studio in 1970s Kingston -- a studio also known for its bare-bones equipment -- Anderson's bedroom setup produced some absolutely wonderful instrumental reggae.


The musical world lost something when the Kingston recording studios went digital, and some of that special quality is regained in these lo-fi but high-quality recordings: notice, for example, the insightfult ways that Anderson deconstructs and then reconstructs the groove on "Into Twilight", or offsets the blocky one drop beat of "Rootical Iration" with delicate wisps of shreeded vocal, or spins melodic gold from the dirty straw of his crappy Yamaha keyboard on "Fire in the East". It just goes to show that it's the brain, not the equipment, that makes a musician. Very highly recommended. - Rick Anderson

Burning Babylon, one of the USA's most important dub exports, is back. And with a flashback to the best, they show the future of US Dub. How come? Simply, because "Garden Of Dub" presents Burning Babylon's first tracks, still produced in an analogue way.

Well, what shall I say? When I first listened to the CD, I didn't know the above mentioned tracks and I was absolutely sure that the 14 presented tracks are absolutely new works because they sound so fresh, lively and, well, in a way, beautiful. I immediately thought: That's BB's best album by far. But now I don't know if he would see it as a compliment when I write that I like his old tracks more than his new ones. (I hope he does, anyway!)

I am quite sure it's not because of the analogue production technique (I bet some of you are looking shocked now when I tell that I don't even know if I would really notice a difference between analogue and digital - or maybe I would, I don't know, I have honestly never ever thought about this topic). It is more because the tunes are really cool and have their own unique style.

Although definitely connected to the original 70s sound, it doesn't sound as rootical and vintage as the other BB albums (although I think he would say the contrary). There's a cool touch to the songs as if the songs would have been recorded in Jamaica but then mixed and mastered in Alaska in deep snow. Extra-nice mixture to my ears!

There's also some kind of unconstraint in this album which is consistent to all tracks. That makes it a very enjoyable pleasure to listen to the complete album in a row without getting bored or feeling the need to change the CD.

Usually, I name particular tracks of an album here and say something about it, tell that I like them more than others. Here, I can't mention any tune. All tunes have at least one ingredient that I like a lot. There are of course ingredients (sometimes the drums sound a bit boring; I also recognized some samples (e. g. in "Mash Up The Dub") from sample-CDs I have as well - that always irritates me) that I don't like that much but all in all there's not one song I don't like. Realy, no kidding. Of course, it's not a heavy stepping soundsystem optimzed album which would always be my favourite. But this one is for home-listening. And how many really good albums for home-listening come out per year? Not so many, I'd say.

OK, well, if you need to know some names, I go for "Into Twilight", true beauty expressed only through music (awesome; you are allowed to let a tear roll down your cheek here, no kidding!), "Dub Positive" (stepping forward) and "Sativa" which is so unbelievable laid-back and relaxing with a marvellous rolling bassline and wonderful melodies. It reminds me of some of meditation CDs that I have. Turn off the light and close your eyes then drift away into the spheres of your subconsciousness. Goodbye, see you tomorrow!

Is there a need for a conclusion? I think the above lines speak for themselves. Of course, keep in mind that it is American dub and that's not really comparable with what we're used to listen to in Europe. Usually, I call US dub "lightweight" and this CD is, too. But in contrary to for example a "Bud light" beer which is really awfull compaired to - let's say - a German strong dark-beer, that record deserves to be played and listened to. That means: Bud NO, Dub YES! ;)