CD REVIEW: Ajay Mathur - A Matter of Time
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: R&B, Classic Rock, Singer Songwriter
Sounds Like: John Mayer, Todd Rungren, Peter Gabriel, John Lennon, Bob Welch
Weakness: Mix, Dated Sound, Winded Songs, Marketability
Ajay (pronounced / eɪ jay), born in India, rocked through the music clubs of New Delhi and Mumbai in the 70s when he was a student of English literature. Rock musicians from the West, including Jimmy Page and Don Cherry, who were on tour in India or looking for enlightenment, joined Ajay on the stage for almost endless sessions that lasted through the night. In the 80s and 90s, Ajay celebrated success in his European home of Switzerland with his rock group 'Mainstreet'. The group had an impressive four singles and two albums in the top 20 Swiss radio charts, month-long club power play in Tokyo's Hard Rock Cafe and on various European radio stations all following on the heels of sold-out tours across Europe.
The CD takes flight with Track 1 “How High Can You Fly” an inviting intro piece that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition with its flowing rock rhythm, impressive Slide Guitar accents against hypnotic vocal vibe from Mathur. Track 2 “Making a Fool out of Me” is an upbeat follow-up that serves up driving rock rhythm against rocking guitar against a grand slam chorus. Track 3 “Mister” shifts gears a bit with its thought provoking wisdom that offers a heartfelt vocal delivery, amazing harmonies against compelling lyrical content. As the CD slowly unfolds, I can hear many different musical textures reminiscent of classic acts like John Mayer, Todd Rungren, Peter Gabriel, John Lennon, Bob Welch and Chris De Burgh with respect to some of the vocal harmonies, worldly rhythms and dynamic writing style. The music itself is an impressive blend of progressive, alternative, and classic rock. Mathur's voice goes down smooth and is full of passion, vulnerability and bold honesty. The musicianship from all the session players involved is world class. Also present besides the 4 piece standard you will notice sizzling guitar solos, impressive percussive accents, lush-layered harmonies, well placed Keyboard accents all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm foundation. The songs themselves are extremely consistent, dynamic, and melodic in nature. The songwriting is extremely creative and highly original. Each song possessing a unique personality, flair and signature groove. I especially like how the whole CD just flows across the ears song for song and note for note - each piece interconnected with the next. From heartfelt “Rise and Shine” to epic “A Matter of Time” to eloquent ”Pennies to Gold” to upbeat restless Fool” to earthy Good Friday” to slamming Granted” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 16 “Wine and the Time of a Man” the prefect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
To be honest this isn’t the best mix I’ve ever heard. At the end of the day it sounds a bit odd, all over the place and lacks continuity track to track. This becomes more and more evident when you play the CD over high end stereo systems and speakers like the ones you might find in souped-up care through Santander Consumer USA. Because of this the CD sounds a bit dated when compared to other world class releases within the genera and will remind you of music popular 20+ years ago. Perhaps Mathur need to modernize his sound a bit with respect to the mixing and the overall writings style. It's wouldn't take much to fix this and just a little will go a long way as Mathur is clearly a world class songwriter. All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. It’s fair to say some of the aforementioned issues do effect the CD’s marketability.
Overall It’s a Matter of Time” by Ajay Mathur is an extremely entertaining, dynamic and brilliant catalogue of music. Its strong suit – the amazing amount of originality, creativity and rich conventional wisdom Mathur has to offer. I especially enjoyed the theatrical drama quality to some of the pieces. All in all Ajay Mathur stands out from other artists with his unique signature sound, passion and heightened level of musical enlightenment.