Eager to emerge from the “trance” and “lack of imagination” plaguing electric guitarists for the past several decades, Corrado Rustici devoted six years to exploring sounds and expansive musical contexts utilizing only the guitar as his field of experimentation and expression. The imaginative results are the nine songs he composed that together form “Aham,” an audacious collection of ambient fusion, progressive jazz, ethereal rock, moody pop, and dramatic classical performed and produced by Rustici set for release in the U.S. on July 15.
Rustici’s aural pursuit began in conjunction with a spiritual quest, an existential search into his being, which conjointly led to exploring the essential nature of his perception of music. Everything that you hear on “Aham,” a Sanskrit word meaning “I am,” from what sounds like drums, bass, strings, woodwinds and voice were created exclusively using electric and acoustic guitars through analog pedals and digital plug-ins. The only exceptions are two vocal tracks – one by Rustici on the poetic confessional “The Guilty Thread” and another featuring the soulful tenor voice of Andrew Strong (“The Commitments”) on the fantastical adventure “Alcove Of Stars” – and handclaps on the meandering balladic sojourn “The Last Light Spoken.” The artist did not use synthesizers, samplers or electronic instruments anywhere on the album.
“When I started to write the music for this album, I wanted to find out how far this wonderful instrument and I could go. During six years of work and experimentation, I’ve been incredibly surprised by the guitar’s versatility and sonic capabilities , which have been seldom used or almost totally ignored up to this point. The deeper I went, I became more and more enthused and excited about the little and big secrets that the instrument kept revealing to me. The way in which the music was conceived and produced created some limitations, constrictions and a distinctive sonic palette, all of which contributed to the overall sound and mood of the album. I hope that after six years of R&D, I was able to create a musical space within which one can hear the first baby cry of what I like to call the ‘Transmodern Guitar,’” said Rustici, who as a byproduct of his work on “Aham” is designing and developing a couple of guitar pedals with DV Mark that will be unvieled in January 2017 at the NAMM Show.
To Rustici, it was important that the songs on “Aham,” including the epic two-part title track opus, connect with listeners meaningfully and are capable of shining on their own merits, and do not simply become guitar demos for his revolutionary techniques and ingenuity.
“I was absolutely not interested in recording a ‘shredder’ project. In the end, it’s not important how we construct a piece of music, but only if and in which way a musician is capable of creating that emotional and – always virtual - space within which both the artist and the listener find a way to share the joy, the pain and the very reason for our ‘Existence.’”
The Naples, Italy native will perform music from “Aham” on home soil in November in support of the album, which Sony Classical is releasing in that territory next month. After leading his own band (Nova) in the mid-to-late 1970s, which included collaborations with Phil Collins and hit-maker Narada Michael Walden, Rustici relocated to California and has been a San Francisco resident since 1978. As an award-winning producer, Rustici helped craft a library of No. 1 Billboard singles in Europe and multi-million selling albums working with global superstars such as Zucherro, Paul Young and Luciano Pavorotti. In 2007, he became the first producer to simultaneously occupy the top 3 spots on the Nielsen chart with three different artists (Ligabue, Negramaro and Renga). Over the years, his passion for sonic innovation has resulted in unearthing now widely accepted and used production methods such as Push & Pull, which combines the irreverent approach of rock and pop with the softer and more evocative effect of ambient music. As a solo artist, his previous releases are “Deconstruction Of A Postmodern Musician" (2007) and “Blaze & Bloom: Live In Japan” (2014), the latter of which was also issued as a DVD.
Rustici’s “Aham” contains the following songs:
“As Dark Bleeds Light”
“Ananda’s First Steps”
“The Duke And The Hare”
“The Guilty Thread”
“Roots Of Progression”
“Alcove Of Stars”
“The Last Light Spoken”
Part 1: “The Enquiry”
Part 2: “Aham”