Considered one of the founders of the dub scene in France, Brain Damage is back with 2020 I Pray Thee first single of the album Beyond the Blue. This brand new project in collaboration with the legendary singer Big Youth will be released on May 28. Beyond the Blue is the first album of the Jamaican singer in more than 10 years.
2020 I Pray Thee
For this first single, the opening track of the album Beyond the Blue, Brain Damage unexpectedly revisits one of the most powerful hymns of Big Youth released in 1974. A padded atmosphere, with jazz and throbbing sounds, serves here as a setting for the smashing incantations of the famous Jamaican master.
A perfect introduction to the totally new musical escape concocted by the two artists who, in the middle of the global pandemic, refuse to let themselves slip and do nothing.
Beyond the Blue, a Story in History …
… or how to condense in a sound bite, the incredible and terrible journey, experienced by Martin Nathan and his longtime friend Samuel Clayton Jr, both gone to Jamaica in March 2020, for a collaboration with the legendary Big Youth. The context of a first and unprecedented world lockdown has only left them very little time to record the takes with the famous DJ, before they both contracted the virus. Martin Nathan was lucky enough to be able to get back to France, although had to remain confined and to take care of himself alone in his studio during five weeks upon his return. Samuel Clayton Jr, however, did not come back, struck down by the disease in Kingston.
The iron determination of the producer, supported by his label Jarring Effects and the Jamaican producer Stephen Stewart, did nonetheless bring the project to completion.
For his part, one thing is certain, Big Youth is in great shape! He brilliantly signs his return with that album, made up almost exclusively of new pieces, the first in many years! In the very words of the numerous prominent musicians and singers who witnessed the takes at Anchor studios in Kingston, he has lost none of his verve: « …you still get it, man! ». Sparkling and inexhaustible, distilling an amazing variety of vocal styles, that he created himself, he recalls at once “the old days”, the golden age of Jamaican reggae in the 1960 & 70’s, performs his version somewhat conspiracist, of the sanitary crisis, evokes his faith and tells about love … while perfectly merging into each universe offered by Brain Damage.
As if we are delighted to hear the elder’s shape and inventiveness, Martin Nathan is definitely not outdone and overhauls his style once again for the occasion. Always more musical, his compositions integrate diverse influences, hitherto untapped by him, like jazz, blues, ska, rock-steady … enhanced by the wonderful and smooth horn arrangements signed by Franck Boyron and his sidekicks, Baptiste Sarat and Fred Roudet. The whole, drawing on a production that left nothing to chance, surely is a new cornerstone of Brain Damage rich discography that keeps us wondering how far it will take us anew.
Samuel Clayton Jr, however, will be deeply missed. If one can hear him regularly and clearly as samples, throughout what will remain the last album he worked on, it is above all his mindset that Martin Nathan strove to respect with that new musical and human adventure.
With more than 14 albums and 750+ concerts behind him already, Martin Nathan ventures for 20 years now, into many artistic and stylistic experiments, under the name of Brain Damage. Acclaimed as one of the founders of the French dub scene in the late 1990s, he soon appears as a major influence for a whole generation of musicians. But the artist is definitely not among those who forever rest on the models he founded, and he constantly reinvents himself, as his myriad projects flow, especially multiplying always more prestigious collaborations with figures like High Tone (fr), Vibronics (uk), Horace Andy (Ja), or Harrison Stafford (usa) more recently.
Along with his many productions, it is also with his truly live and explosive performances, that Martin Nathan has grown a solid reputation throughout the international scene, and itis exceptionally rare to see an artist celebrating his 20th career anniversary, with so much vitality and creativity.
Born in 1949, in Kington’s Trenchtown neighborhood, Manley Augustus Buchanan was among the very first artists to develop the DJ style, precursor of rap, and quickly became one of the most recognized. Eulogist of Rastafarism, he mostly focuses on social and conscious themes, what was totally new when in 1972 he stood out as the only serious rival for U Roy, creator of the genre. Whilst collaborating with nearly all greatest artistic figures of the time in Jamaica, he also constituted a major influence for Bob Marley among many. He managed as well to catch the attention of the English punk scene, in particular of Johnny Rotten (Sex Pistols / PIL), within the hype of the famous punky-reggae parties.
Nowadays still ceaselessly imitated and sampled, Big Youth or Jah Youth, as he is affectionately know in Jamaica, remains the most moving and the most popular DJ of the golden age of 1970s roots reggae.
Samuel Clayton Jr
Son of Samuel Clayton, who played within the legendary Jamaican ensemble Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, Sam started as railroad engineer, before dedicating himself to what will set his life direction: music in a broad sense. Significant figure as sound engineer, live and studio likewise, he worked with the greatests, from the Rolling Stones to Steel Pulse or Toots & the Maytals to name but a few, most of the time along with his longtime friend Stephen Stewart (Harry J Studio, Burning Spear…). After living in New York and in England, he settled at last in France in the 1990s. He quickly becomes an essential connection for all savvy reggae musicians there, and accompanied most of the French bands in Jamaica to live out their production and meeting fantasies, through projects with Sly & Robbie, David Hinds, Horace Andy etc… But if Sam had the address book to make these happen, he will be remembered for his ability to build bridges between cultures, however different they may be.
His outstanding capacities led him beyond Jamaican musics and he also worked with blues, jazz, gospel or soul artists ( Eric Bibb, JP Bimeni etc … ).
True man of culture and fraternity, he has remained unpredictable, as borne out by his multiple collaborations with Brain Damage he introduced to BigYouth, Kiddus I, Ras Michael, but to artists from completely different horizons as well like the Japanese Emiko Ota.
A wholehearted and rare figure. Irreplaceable.
After playing in various projects for years (Thomas Fersen, Le Peuple de l’Herbe…), Franck Boyron and Baptiste Sarat embark on the duet adventure in January 2010. They then found ArtDeko, a trombon / flugelhorn combination, two instruments of the sweet brass family. At the same time, their remarkable multi-instrumentalist talents (double bass, guitars, percussions etc … ) and their huge adaptability frequently encourage them to join other projects on an ad-hoc basis, like it notably happened on Brain Damage famous album “What you gonna do ?”.