(November 2005, Issue 261)
Stereo Mash Up is the fifth release by Slade Anderson aka Burning Babylon and a follow up to last year's Knives to the Treble. Since the last album, Anderson has carried on the studio experimentation in the certain knowledge that hard work will take him wherever he wants to go.
Although at times the sound may be a little metronomic, as is the case with all early stage one-man operations, this is a collection of conscious variation and experimentation ranging from the sweet and light "Pressure Tones" - which sounds like Two Tone melodies recollected in a frothy daydream - through Ruts/Clash-style guitar-driven Kasbah rockers like "Zamora Version", to tougher dancehall and deeply dubby excursions sourced with a better class of vocal sample.
Robert Nelson (reviewer for The Beat)
Burning Babylon is the "nom de dub" of Boston's Slade Anderson. His modern dub sound makes use of classical reggae tempos featuring bubbling bass slathered in dub effects and judicious use of echo. Stereo Mash Up collects fifteen toe-tapping delights. The traditional love of dub process matches up quite well with the 21st century electronic sound and an infectious yet unobtrusive use of guitar.
"7 Nine Skank (The Creeper)" starts off with flange guitar and languid tempo reminiscent of the UK mutant dub foreparent Ruts DC. The swaying one-drop supports a succession of silky blues guitar licks, "Wadada - means love" shouts and a snippet of ethereal space-age synth harmonics. The funky introbreaks the cycle and repeats for effect.
"Addis Red Dub" steps it lively in a martial cadence. The melody is colored with Far-East style violin and a layer of effects embellished in a cauldron of electrical effervescence. More flange-funk guitar punctuates the exotic and intermittent vocalizing.
"Pressure Tones" harkens back to 2 Tone era tempo and more pretty guitar playing that leavens the funk while playfully blending laser beam shots, jazzy hand drumming and the ever present supple bassline.
"Zamora Version" leads off with shards of New Wave guitar a la Steel Pulse's "Ku Klux Klan" and then elongates the riddim into a relaxed tempo before the edgy guitar returns to cut the tether of atmospheric sound.
"Soundshack Rockers" is dub meets Curtis Mayfield's "Superfly" in a limber selection that deftly mixes and matches tempos, effects and instrumentation. Other superlative dubs are the souped-up Stalag update, "Heavy Dread" and the 4:20 Cannabis homage "Rude Boots" complete with woozy riddim and gurgling bong solo.
In my opinion the hallmark of a good new dub title is one that varies the tempos and melodies while still retaining a unique consistency in the production. The style and flow inherent to Stereo Mash Up is one that blends the brooding bass with dancefloor groove and uptempo lift; often times within the same dub.
The Beat- Chuck Foster
(Volume 24, No.5)
Burning Babylon extends their sinewy reach with Stereo Mash Up (Mars), an instrumental/dub extravaganza that captures the original experimental feel of dub in a crisp, contemporary recording informed by not co-opted by techno, house and dance. Phased vocals, springboard effects, echo and reverb and one of the secret elements of dub - great rhythm tracks to work with - make this an enjoyable experience that lives up to the promise of titles like "Heavy Dread," "Version Killer," "Soundshack Rockers," and "Rude Boots."
Spacious and spacey, with plenty of room in between notes and effects, this is contemporary dub informed by the roots. Outstanding cuts include "Midnight to Six," "7 Nine Skank (The Creeper)" and (inexplicably on the "dub lite" end of the spectrum) "1500 Tons." This one deserves a listen from dub lovers everywhere.
Jammin Reggae Archives
The newest release from Boston-based one-man-band Slade Anderson is, if anything, even better than last year's Knives to the Treble. Recording as Burning Babylon, Anderson plays all his own instruments and does his own engineering, and the sound he creates is both refreshingly unique and true to the best traditions of rootswise instrumental reggae. Stereo Mash-Up is infused with positive energy -- the sound is always heavyweight, but never dark. Note in particular the sweetly simple ska groove of "Pressure Tones" and the funky-fresh "Soundshack Rockers," not to mention his wonderful update of the "Stalag 17" rhythm on "Heavy Dread." Brilliant!
Slade Anderson comes again with some new style dub - featuring solid reggae rhythms from a variety of eras mixed in with samples - and like the first set its all great stuff. Its not roots dub, its just dub - you can hear the man's real love of reggae music - and that's all it takes. Trying to reproduce something is not his style. This is dub 30 years on from when dub first made its mark in Jamaica - but what makes it really good is that its firmly rooted in the reggae tradition. Samples yes - gimmicks NO!
"**** (4 Stars) - "Stereo Mash Up" is already the fifth release from Boston based dub producer Slade Anderson aka Burning Babylon. Like his previous releases BB mixes old school roots vibes with some funky, modern styles which leads to a wild, pumping mix of roots dub causing positive vibrations and making bodies move.
15 tracks can be found on the album. The range goes from absolutely funky, head nodding, tunes like "Addis Red Dub" to sweet-melody-pop-reggae ("Pressure Tones"; definitely nothing for me) to smooth soul-dub ("Midnight To Six"; a new style is born?) to punk-dub ("Zamora Version"; sounds like The Clash meets Ruts DC) to wild stepper orgies ("Trouble Dub"; including Eastern sounds).
All in all, there is a lot happening on this album. Sometimes maybe even too much. So many melodies and instruments. I wonder where he has all his ideas from. ;-) My personal favourite tune is "Parkton Special", what massive bassline and pushing drums."
Burning Babylon, a different dub producer he is. Wouldn't know another name to compare with. Surely far away from the European dub output but because of his unique sound a very welcome alternation in between all the heavy steppers. Give it a try.