Brain Damage – Talk the Talk
Jarring Effects LP, CD, Digital
I could very easily just do a two word review for this album, the words would be very easy to find. So here we are, Talk the Talk by Brain Damage is MIND BLOWING! But as that would not make for a very interesting read here is a little more. Brain Damage for those of you who don’t know, is in fact French producer Martin Nathan. Martin is one of the original founders of the French dub scene, and with over eleven albums to his name it is fair to say he knows what he is doing where reggae is concerned.
Talk the Talk is a really interesting mix of styles, it’s atmospheric, it’s funny, it’s reverential and with figures like Horace Andy, Ras Michael, Kiddus I, Winston McAnuff and Willi Williams involved it has plenty of pedigree. The album is the dub companion to Brain Damages’ Walk the Walk release. The sessions for the albums came about due to Martin’s friendship with Samuel Clayton Jr, sound engineer and internationally respected producer. He opened the doors of the mythical Harry J Studio to Brain Damage and helped to set up the connections with these vocal legends.
What I like most about this album is that the singers are given plenty of space and freedom to express themselves. If you are going to have contributions from the greats then give them centre stage! There is a lot of spoken word here, the album is more like a chronicle of experiences and histories. During the recording of the album, Martin was accompanied by the director Wasaru, who conducted interviews with the singers giving them the opportunity to narrate their childhood memories. So as well as a working on a fine reggae album, the sessions had a certain amount of heritage value. You can see some of the results in this web series Walk the Walk where you can find photos of 60s and 70s Jamaican life, anecdotes about the different characters, mythical events of the island and intimate confessions.
Aside from the words, the music is up there with the best dub albums, Martin is an experimental and experienced producer and he doesn’t put a foot wrong. Highlight for me is ‘Lion Dub’ which is a good example of the immense layering of sounds and textures. With the bass at its core, the musical detail is so impressive. But it’s not all effects and twiddling, it has a deep dub soul which will I am sure will satisfy all dub fans.
There has been some impressive dub albums out this year and I would like to propose that you add this one to your Christmas list. It is a nice mix of old and new, with those old characters on vocals combined with a modern talented producer, makes for a strong cache of tracks. Have a listen below for yourself to some samples and if you like what you hear you can pick up a copy from Code 7 . Brain Damage has got to be France’s best kept secret, tune in to wonderful journey that is Talk the Talk.
I hope you like this review, if you would like to comment please do and at the very least a social media share would be most appreciated. Bless, Paper Lion.