Somesh Mathur, Time Stood Still – Review
by J. Pepper
World music is on a rise currently in the music genre, it is a widely brushed music that features a cornucopia of sounds and rhythms. The inflection of jazz is certainly not an unknown flavoring. Somesh Mathur is a well-versed and studied artist with countless productions to his name from Indian Classical to Bollywood, to coordinating his fascinating ideas with pop stars, to songs infusing classic rock. His personal discography includes: Ek Nayi Baat (1986), Nazar Milaa Ke (1998), Music Mehfils, Vol. 1 (2014), My World (2018), Love Me Blue (2018), Mann: The Messiah (2018) EP, and his latest offering Time Stood Still.
On this project Mathur collaborates with keyboardist Scott Kinsey, giving the album a distinct contemporary-world sound. The album features different styles of music, including Sufi, Indian classical, Ghazals, R&B and jazz-fusion. The one defining sound is vocalist Mathur who mesmerizes with his mellifluous vocals. His style is honed to perfection, and his Indian hued voice is sublime.
Highlights on the album are many, but I found the opener “Nectar,” to be especially entrancing. Mathur’s voice is deeply sultry, the accompanying music is distinctly fusion with a world flavoring. You can certainly see Kinsey’s hand in the production on this one. Guitarist Josh Smith offers soulful colorizations with his distorted guitar sound that features plenty of verve and zest. On this track Mathur employs traditional Indian vocalizing, his sound is enthralling, his voice transports. Driving the tracks rhythm is drummer Gergo Borlai, his solid timekeeping and stylistic accents take the track to new heights. Mathur matches with a wide range of inflections with his voice.
A creatively complex listen “Sofi Sojourn,” offers a gorgeous melody with a contemporary production. The tune is traditional, and once again Mathur is divinely enthused. Sitar is prominently featured adding a layer of mystic to the track. Bassist, Jimmy Earl guests on the track, and locks tightly with Borlai for percolating sound. Mathur’s tone and vocal control is clearly evident. His command of his finely tune voice hypnotizes. You can hear the Indian Classical music influence in his phrasing and colorizations. The male and female harmonies add a distinctive sound and his vocal improvisations catapult the sonic pallet.
Time Stood Still is a fascinating listen, with fusions of varied genres and styles, you will find yourself captivated by its depth and diversity. Mathur is a consummate artist, with many talents to his name, but one unmistakable marker is his mastery of the Indian traditional sounds and the way he fuses them with popular music styles. With the aid of Scott Kinsey at the production helm, Mathur shines like a magnetic force, his undeniable talents will take you on a jubilant adventure.