New Delhi-based singer songwriter and guitarist Ajay Mathur is a critically acclaimed and Grammy-nominated talent who was born in India and raised in Switzerland, with his work blending the pop and rock genres with some influences of Americana and traditional Bollywood music that has created some genuinely mind-bending work that is hard to pigeonhole into a very clear-cut genre, as the best music often is.
Having held his own on the US and European charts and repeatedly receiving positive accolades from the industry’s professionals, however, comes with an added pressure. Once you establish yourself as a first class name on a role, it certainly creates a lot of stress to live up to that goodwill as the decades ware on.
Introducing the word of a new album on the way with a track that has taken ten years to fully mature, ‘Anytime At All (Aftermath Of Silence)’ arrives like a breath of fresh air. Swift and soothing, the track is a clear antidote to the vicious grip of the global pandemic. Written shortly after the senseless murder of John Lennon and dedicated to the pioneering musician, the song was the culmination of the emotional trauma that Mathur felt as Lennon perished, and he finally found the strength and inspiration to finish the recording the track, which he started last April.
It needed to exude the clarity and comfort that Ajay felt when he revised the song over the years. It has finally been unveiled, in its final form, as part of a powerful new double single release featuring a contemporary urban remix and a more intimate acoustic version that slows the tempo down and places the emphasis on the lyrics.
Mathur says about the contemplative song, “People exit our lives for many different reasons – end of a relationship, geographic separation, death by illness, carelessness or maliciousness of others – and we are forced to face the void. Recognizing that they are never really gone is when we can begin to find peace and comfort. ‘Anytime At All (Aftermath Of Silence)’ describes that moment of clarity, that the people who have touched you deeply are always going to be there for you. All you’ve got to do is call”.
Laying out a varied and reflective piano beat and a propulsive steel pedal beat to drive the melodicism forwards (the steel pedal component was added by his idol and long-time friend Steve Birrer), Ajay Mathur goes for a nebulous mix of Tin Man-esque wobbling synths and some top-class extra production from pianist Michael Dolmetsch and Grammy Award winning engineer Austin Asvanonda (The War On Drugs/The Rolling Stones) who mixed the track. His voice represents a few bursts of longing, but establishes a larger tone of contentment that reflects the detailed backstory behind the track.
It feels a little folktronica and a little blues, with some nods towards country in the crooning vocals and a nod towards synth pop in the electronic enhancements, but these varied elements feel focused and well-structured enough to click together coherently. The mood feels light and perfect for the Winter season, while the simplicity of the piano chords have a hint of sadness to them. All together, it makes for an emotional ballad written from the perspective of somebody closer to Lennon when his shooting occurred, and it shows that Ajay Mathur can continue to keep his sound fresh as the reviews pour in.
Words by Jacob Braybrooke
Praise For Ajay Mathur
“Mathur is an example of the far more interesting and experimental side of the adult contemporary market” – Justin Harlan (Rock On Philly)
“If you love artists like The Beatles, David Bowie, Tom Petty and Jackson Browne, you may love Ajay Mathur” – Melanie Gomez (Indie Music)
“Ajay Mathur’s Little Boat Is A Modern Day Masterpiece” – Joe Hughes (Alternative Nation)
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