My first intro to Ajay was with his "Forget About Yesterday" single from his 2018 Little Boat album. At the time, it was clear that Mathur was no amateur and that this guy had chops. Now, in his latest release, Blow My Cover, we see him do something that isn't done very often. To get other musicians worldwide to cover his songs in such a way that, technically, makes this a new album. The title, of course, is a play on words where it's full of his own songs being covered by other artists. It was something he started to do during the pandemic. It's unconventional because he let the artists do what they wanted for their interpretations using their strengths. When the tracks were returned to him, he had to rebuild and re-record as he would when writing the songs himself. It was everything he needed to keep from getting depressed when the pandemic shut everything down.
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Ajay Mathur's 'Blow My Cover' Review
"Forget About Yesterday" is a song that was initially released on 2018's Little Boat. That version rocks out and includes tablas, fusing together Southern Asian sounds with Zydeco. Now, the latest version has removed the rock, where it's now more slide guitar blues. This track promotes that you be present. Stop thinking about tomorrow and forget about yesterday. Both versions demand that you look forward at all times.
Personally, "Little Boat" is one of my favorite tracks, as it has a new-wave style to it. This track, also off of the same 2018 release as the previous track, talks about the cycle of a little boat that our protagonist is on, only to be destroyed by the waves and washed out. This song has a space-like vibe, as if marooned, which makes sense over a large body of water.
In our interview that you'll hear at the end of this article, Ajay says that "For A Friend Of Mine" is off of a compilation released in the '90s, which, as I understand, he no longer has the tracks for. He, instead, had to submit the MP3. Like all the songs on this release, the songs are all meant to lean on the positive instead of singing about negative things. This track, like the others, goes big with the piano. For these renditions, songs that would be shorter as originals often go longer because of how big they go.
Ajay disappears into "Pennies to Gold," which isn't too different from the original. Since it was released in 2011, it might have needed this update. "Oh Angel" from 2015's 9 to 3 could be, along with the previous track, the slower parts of this release. The difference is the instrumentation, where traditional Indian instruments are used instead of the new version.
The standouts for me from here on out are "Ordinary Memory" and "Comedian," which are unusual compositions already in that Ajay kind of way. Hence, it's interesting to hear this version, along with "My World (SOS To The Universe)" and "Walking On The Water." These are especially memorable.
There's a lot to cover in this release because of the study of music styles that are collected here. I'm not sure this release also flows from beginning to end during the first few listens. Perhaps it's not supposed to due to the initial intent. It makes me accept why music is consumed as singles over albums. Again, this is Ajay's collection of his own singles that he picked with a narrative in mind, but given the input from other artists, the flow is broken up. It's one of the things we discussed in our interview, where none of the tracks submitted were left out. Let's note all the musicians that collaborated for this album: Richard Koechli, Samuel Mosching, Michael Dolmetsch, Christian Winiker, Asuka, Rachel Gawell, Fausto Medici, Marvin Näpflin, and Mercedes Bralo.