Vocalist Somesh Mathur’s latest recording, “Time Stood Still” is a collection of songs rich in collections of sounds, rhythms and textures. Mathur’s approach to music-making might be a result of his academic background. Nonetheless, an East meets West approach to music-making is working for the singer. “Time Stood Still” peaked at No. 8 on the NACC chart shortly after its release.
About Somesh Mathur
In addition to being a singer, Mathur is also a producer and composer. His upcoming works are compositions for Bollywood films. In addition, he is set to host a television show in India.
But Mathur’s recording history began in 1986 with his first release titled “Ek Nayi Baat.” The singer only released one album in the following decade, 1998’s “Nazar Milaa Ke.” The 21st century proved to be more productive for the performer, as four albums were released between 2014 and 2018 – – three in 2018 alone.
Mathur has been inspired by a variety of forms. From classic rock to ghazals, listeners never know what cultural aspect will find its way into his music.
The singer’s educational preparation includes receiving the equivalent of a graduate degree in classical music vocal (performance) and an MBA.
Mathur is considered a guru of Indian Classical Music and Voice Culture. His regiment for training artists includes not only musical techniques, but training of the mind and body as well, for example, through yoga.
“Time Stood Still” by Somesh Mathur
Listeners will more than likely be taken in by the hypnotic rhythms of the songs on “Time Stood Still.” Especially the first track, “Nectar.” The song is a mix of beats and guitar riffs that give the soundscape a modern feel. Mathur’s Indian classical singing adds the feeling of East meeting West to the track. Meanwhile, groovy, danceable beats permeate.
Mathur does something interesting on “When You’re Happy.” The lyrics are credited to singer Frank Ocean. However, the words are not from a song; they are from a quote that Ocean once provided to the press: “When you’re happy, you enjoy the music/when you’re sad, you understand the lyrics.”
Whether or not a person agrees with the sentiment, even though it is easy to see the truth of it, the song is a work of sonic art. Mathur uses essentially background singers to sing both the lyrics and then to vamp behind him as he intones in classical Indian style. The song starts out sounding very much like 1980s r&b, but then, as all the elements are put together, including an emotional-sounding saxophone, the song begins to feel like a sonic collage, with r&b-oriented bass guitar, jazz saxophone, and pop-r&b singing that reminds listeners of the song’s theme and title even as the track fades out.
“Time Stood Still” is an interesting album full of unexpected sounds and approaches.