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Beyond the Blue

Beyond the Blue FX152 - 2021

  1. 2020 I Pray Thee
  2. Educated Fools
  3. Good to Talk
  4. Wareika Hill
  5. Beyond the Blue
  6. Biological Warfare
  7. Mama Africa
  8. Grandma’s Joint
  9. Dying Too Young
  10. Those Days
  11. Tomorrow is Another Day
  12. Play it Again

Brain Damage

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 the Jamaican producer Stephen Stewart, did nonetheless bring the project to completion.

For its part, one thing is certain, Big Youth is in great shape! He brilliantly marks his return with this album, which consists almost entirely of new releases, the first for many years! According to the many prominent musicians and singers at Anchor studios in Kingston during the shoots, he has lost none of his wit: « …you still get it, man! » Sparkling and inexhaustible, distilling an astonishing variety of vocal styles, which he himself created, he evokes in turn «the old days», the golden age of the Jamaican reggae of the 1960s and 70s, gives us his version a bit of a conspirator of the health crisis, evokes his faith and speaks of love… while integrating wonderfully into every universe proposed by Brain Damage.

Because if we rejoice here in the form and inventiveness of the elder, Martin Nathan is not left behind and reshapes once again his style for the occasion. Always more musical, his proposals are tinged with various influences, for him until then still untapped, jazz, blues, ska, rock- steady… sublimated by delicious and silky brass arrangements made by Franck Boyron and his acolytes, Baptiste Sarat and Fred Roudet.The whole, with a production that leaves nothing to chance, is undoubtedly a new cornerstone of the abundant discography of Brain Damage, which we always wonder how far it will take us.

Samuel Clayton Jr, meanwhile, will be missed by many. If we hear it regularly and obviously in the form of samples throughout what will remain the last album on which he will have worked, it is above all his state of mind that Martin Nathan tried to respect, in the form of a new human and sound adventure.

The emotion is here audible, palpable.

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