When asking electronic jazz recording artist Paolo Rustichelli about his new single, “Hypnofunk,” which goes for playlist adds on Monday, the eclectic artist’s hodgepodge response careens from celebrating 70s funk and early 80s sounds to UFOs to his pioneering use of keyboard technology and computer plug-ins that enable him to be a “genuine solo artist” and concludes with a story about dining with legendary Italian film director Federico Fellini.
An Italy-based composer, pianist, keyboardist, singer and producer, Rustichelli’s latest music offering is a spacy, melody rich and funky trip, an unconventional flight of keyboard harmonies that jet in, out and in between techy hip hop beats and imaginative synth passages. Accompanying the single is the vivid video he crafted (http://bit.ly/2YWHZWK).
“The song ‘Hypnofunk’ is meant to be a celebration of the psychedelic era of the late 70s and the funk years of the 80s. In fact, there are typical synths sounds of that time along with a modern hip-hop rhythmic drum base. The colorful minimalist video salutes late 70s elements, ranging from psychedelia, Graeco-Roman symbols and includes some UFO images. UFOs are being seen more and more in our friendly skies lately,” said Rustichelli.
“Hypnofunk” offers a preview of Rustichelli’s forthcoming album, “Tempus Fugit,” that is slated to drop in March 2020.
“The album title, ‘Tempus Fugit,’ comes from the ancient Latin term meaning time is running away from us. Time is running and we humans are inside this mechanism that we cannot escape, but music is capable of being eternal,” Rustichelli explained.
Rustichelli has created music alone ever since he began his career in the late 1970s as a 16-year-old prodigy playing progressive rock and writing film scores like his three-time Oscar-nominated father, Carlo Rustichelli. His approach comes from the belief that a solo artist expresses oneself individually, that a record made using other musicians, writers and producers is interpreted by others therefore making it a collaboration, not the true work of a solo artist.
“I create a song from A to Z - from composition to production - all by myself, playing every instrument represented by a plug-in, which mimics the sound of real instruments or creates new sounds. I believe it is extremely important to give the public a genuine and sincere product that reflects the artist and their vision. Accordingly, my recordings can be considered genuine because I do everything myself without outside input. There are superstar ‘solo artists’ who are making ‘solo records’ with creative input from literally a hundred or more people. I cannot consider these works as genuine solo albums.”
Rustichelli has always been on the forefront of innovation, pioneering the use of synths, Moog synthesizers, samplers and organs such as the ARP 2600, Mellotron, Fairlight CMI and Hammond C-3. He was among the first to score a film entirely with synths. His 1995 debut album, “Mystic Jazz,” was seminal in the “chill” movement while two years later, the follow up, “Mystic Man,” was influential in progressive smooth jazz. The latter collection was a collaborative album featuring legends Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Andy Summers and Jill Jones. “Mystic Man” spawned the Billboard No. 1 single “Paisa.” In 2002, Rustichelli produced a song, “Kyrie,” for Placido Domingo’s “Sacred Songs” album, a feat that required him to command a 250-piece orchestra. His first disc made entirely using plug-ins was 2006’s “Neopagan,” which found success with the single, “My Geisha.” Since then, Rustichelli has issued a series of singles and videos, including the top 10 “Soul Italiano” (2011) and “Med Groove,” which had lengthy runs atop the SmoothJazz.com and Amazon Top Sellers charts in 2014.
That brings us to dinner with Fellini.
“When I was a kid, I went with my father and his friend, director Federico Fellini, to several of the best, lesser-known restaurants in Italy. They really liked the food because it was authentic, genuine and traditional. This impacted my entire life and how I approach my art. Genuine music cannot be manipulated like most music is today. To be real and genuine musically, in my opinion, the artist needs to compose and play the music themselves. Like a good restaurant that has a few signature dishes and would become something entirely different if it took on a mass production mentality, the artist needs to express their music and vision singularly,” said Rustichelli. “I also clearly remember that the dinner ended with a discussion about UFOs. Fellini, who was a good illustrator, drew bizarre and funky alien faces on the restaurant’s paper napkins. They were hypnotic faces…or should I say ‘Hypnofunk’ faces.