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Brain Damage's unexpected tribute to Big Youth on new album

On Beyond the Blue, the band revisits “I Pray Thee,” one of the Jamaican reggae legend’s most powerful anthems, alongside Samuel Clayton Jr.

In March 2020, Samuel Clayton Jr. and Martin Nathan, better known as Brain Damage and seen as one of the leading figures in the French dub scene, traveled to Jamaica to collaborate with Big Youth, the iconic Kingston DJ. With the world seeming to collapse around them with the advent of global lockdown, the three artists were only able to record a few takes before Martin contracted the virus, as did Samuel Clayton Jr, who tragically passed away … Nevertheless, Jarring Effects has done everything to ensure the project’s success.

The Jamaican legend is in great form and the animated video for “I Pray Thee” shows him with a sparkling smile, delivering his Rastafarian message with a nod to “Zion,” the utopian place where peace and freedom reign (in opposition to “Babylon,” which symbolizes institutions and governments going against the divine will of Jah). This track is permeated with spiritual jazz, which helps to fuel Big Youth’s prophecy. On production duties, Martin Nathan seeks to break codes via heavy use of bass. A second version of “I Pray Thee” also closes this album, positioned between blues, jazz and rocksteady, a track built on freedom and imagination.

The album Beyond the Blue will be released on May 28 via Jarring Effects.

Find Brain Damage and Big Youth in our Songs of the Week playlist on Spotify and Deezer.