CORRADO RUSTICI
Aham
(Corrado Rustici Music)

 

Based in the San Francisco Bay area of Northern California, Italian guitarist Corrado Rustici is making waves with his solo album Aham, released in mid 2016. Taking the electric guitar in a bold and exciting direction, on Aham Corrado blends a range of instrumental guitar stylesfrom spatial New Age and atmospheric jazz to a more rock-centric instrumental sound that will appeal to fans of guitar fusion and cutting edge, cerebral rock metal guitar players. Featuring nine tracks, including the CD-closing “Aham Suite”, the mostly instrumental album also includes a pair of vocal tracks featuring Corrado and singer Andrew Strong. Speaking to mwe3.com about Aham, Corrado says, “My last album, Deconstruction Of A Postmodern Musician was released ten years ago. Around six years ago I started working on Aham. I really wanted to explore new sounds and “voices” that the guitar could produce.” A native of Naples Italy, Corrado was a member of the late 1970s Italian jazz-rock fusion band Nova, who worked with Narada Michael Walden, while recording a trio of album releases for Arista Records in the late ‘70s. His guitar sound might have tempered a bit since the intense, heady, jazz-rock fusion of the Nova Vimana days but there’s still plenty of scintillating tracks on Aham to welcome back Corrado Rustici’s inventive, instrumental guitar sound. www.corradorustici.com




mwe3.com presents an interview with
CORRADO RUSTICI


mwe3
: Aham is a musical masterpiece that blends rock and jazz. Is there a good story about how the album came together and does Aham signal the start of a new recording revival in your career? How long has it been since your last album release and where does Aham find you in your solo career?

Corrado Rustici: Since I’m not bound by market-pressures, I tend to release albums, when I feel I have something musically relevant to offer. My last album Deconstruction Of A Postmodern Musician was released ten years ago. Around six years ago I started working on Aham. I really wanted to explore new sounds and “voices” that the guitar could produce. I wanted to wake up from the trance that we guitar players seem to be in, since the revolutionary days of the 1960’s, when a few great innovators, on the strength of new technology, gave the guitar a new voice and role in music.

It took me six years to create Aham, because… especially, in the beginning, I had no points of reference and no model on which I could base my research on how to make the guitar sound like drums, or violin, or horns, without the use of midi, synths, samplers or electronic instruments. Needless to say, it was challenging at first but after my initial struggles, the instrument started to reveal some of its secrets to me, which inspired me to keep going.

mwe3: Do you sometimes look back on the amazing late 1970s jazz-rock period fusion of instrumental and vocal music? The Italian progressive music scene seemed to be exploding with creativity durng the second half of the 1970s. Do you feel your music comes out of that era and how does that historical edge reflect on Aham?

Corrado Rustici: I’m very grateful to have grown up in that musical era and to have been exposed to some incredibly deep musical languages. I don’t feel nostalgic about it. I carry those musical memes within me and, fortunately for me, they are part of my cultural baggage. There is one song on the album, titled “Roots Of Progression”, which is my way to acknowledge and pay tribute to the music from that period that inspired me.

mwe3: You moved to San Francisco in 1978. Do you live
there full time? Do you base your career in and around San Francisco and how do you like it there compared to Italy? What do you like best about San Francisco? There are so many great musicians around there so it must be really an interesting place to live. Are you also a US citizen yet and how often do you visit Italy, your cultural homeland?

Corrado Rustici: I’ve been living full time in San Francisco, since 1978. I really love the Bay Area. It seems like it’s one of those places that are magnets to innovation and creativity. I think that there is a reason why Silicon Valley and the new digital community was born here. I do travel to Italy and Europe quite often. I love Italy, also. I am an American and an Italian citizen, but I feel like more of a world citizen than anything else.

mwe3: On your Facebook page you mention influences from Nisargadatta and Ramana. Can you tell us more about those influences? Do you blend your spiritual side into the music on Aham? Seemed like the late 1970s was a much more spiritual and hopeful time.

Corrado Rustici: Since I was very young, I’ve been interested in finding out who and what I really was and where I came from. This interest has led me, throughout the years, on a quest that uncovered many false truths and concepts that contributed to my human sufferings. Many years ago, I discovered Ramana Maharshi and, subsequently, Nisargadatta, who, through their writings and lives, totally destroyed the last remnants of conceptualized beliefs which I still held so dear and which still caused endless misery in my human experience. I don’t think that hope belonged only the 1970’s. I find beauty, hope and peace in the ever-creating truth of this timeless “now”.

mwe3: I thought Nova was a Clive Davis era signing on Arista or one of their labels. Was Clive a fan of Nova? The whole music scene was so different back then. There was Arista and Ariola and then Narada knew Clive as well? How did you meet Narada Michael Walden and what was it like recording the Nova album with him as producer? Do you still keep touch with Narada?

Corrado Rustici: I don’t know if Clive Davis was a fan of Nova, but I think that he liked us enough to sign us to Arista. I met Narada in London in 1975. I was in George Martin’s Air Studios, mixing the first Nova album, Blink, in one of the studios and Narada was recording Wired with Jeff Beck in another studio. He heard our music, walked into the control room and introduced himself. That’s when our friendship and working relationship started. He played on Nova’s Vimana and produced Wings Of Love. I do still stay in touch with him. I consider him a great friend and the person who gave, this young inexperienced Italian guitar player the opportunity, in the beginning, to learn, grow and evolve as a person and as a musician.

mwe3: As a producer / studio technician, what albums did you work with Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck on? What’s your favorite role to play as a producer or session musician and does it ultimately help if the producer can play an instrument or two?

Corrado Rustici: I worked with Clapton and Beck on two albums that I produced for the Italian star Zucchero. Coming from the George Martin school of thought, I am absolutely convinced that you must have some musical knowledge to produce. It’s music, after all, and a producer must have the skills necessary to solve the various musical problems that arise when putting together an album.

mwe3: Americans don’t know too much about Italian singers and songwriters. Who are some of your favorite Italian singers and songwriters and what do you think about the Italian music scene these days?

Corrado Rustici: I’ve been fortunate to work and produce, for the past 30 years, with most of the big names in Italy. I’m proud of the work and of quality of music that we put together. Fortunately, or unfortunately, besides the projects in which I’m directly involved, I don’t follow the Italian popular music scene so I’m not a good judge of how good or bad it is.

mwe3: Are even the tambourine sounds on Aham’s track 2 “Ananda’s First Steps” also played on guitar? What guitars are your favorites and tell us about the new pedals and plug-ins you are designing. That tambourine percussion effect is truly amazing. The guitars on your web site are quite impressive. Did you use them all during the making of Aham? Do you consider yourself to be a gear head of sorts?

Corrado Rustici: Yes, everything you hear, except for the vocal tracks on “The Guilty Thread” and “Alcove Of Stars” and my handclaps on “The Last Light Spoken” was produced by me playing either acoustic or electric guitars, treated with some analog pedals and a couple of digital plug-ins. No, I don’t consider my self a gear head. (Lol) On the album I used the following guitars:

Godin Passion Custom
Gibson Les Paul HDX
HB Fretless
Peavey Corrado
Godin MultiAC
Martin D28

mwe3: On Aham, it sounds like you’ve tempered your European sound with San Francisco sounds for a remarkable new vision.

Corrado Rustici: Living here has obviously had an influence on me… but so has everywhere else I’ve been fortunate to visit and experience in my life.

mwe3: You must be getting asked about the meaning of the 2 part title track Aham. “The Inquiry” sounds almost funereal and it’s very minor key sounding and things don’t lighten up much for the part 2 title track. It’s a sobering finale indeed. Did you want to close the CD out with a somber, sonic sound?

Corrado Rustici: Interesting that you find the title track somber… I find it passionate! (lol)

mwe3: “As Dark Bleeds Night” is a great way to start off Aham. Is that your favorite approach to find a uniquely crafted melody and combine with some amazing riffing?

Corrado Rustici: I really don’t have a favorite… I just tried to be true to my emotional states during the making of the album.

mwe3: Tell us about your earlier solo album releases. Why didn’t they get more exposure and I was amazed that all the Nova albums in need of reissue. Your Deconstruction album is selling for big money on US Amazon.

Corrado Rustici: I never had major distribution outside of Italy, so my other two albums, just like Nova and my first band Cervello, have become some kind of niche musical products. (Lol)

mwe3: You have the ability to shred but you also like to temper the riffing with some clear melodic destinations that comes from a long time knowledge of music history. It’s amazing how well you combine the two on Aham. Are compositional skills more important than technical skills in your estimation?

Corrado Rustici: Yes. To me, the creation of a musical contest is paramount, because without it, it’s just notes. I was definitely not interested in making another shredder album… I think that, in the end, historically, what remains is the music and not the ability, as flashy as that can seem at the time, to play as fast as possible. Technique is only a means to acquire a vocabulary with which one can better express emotional memes and not to show the many years devoted to practicing on an instrument.

mwe3: Tell us about your amazing web site, it works great on my MacBookPro. I couldn’t believe you have every track on line for free and it looks and sounds incredible.

Corrado Rustici: My website, is a way for me to invite people to explore information about my human doings, using their imagination and sense of curiosity. I really don’t like being told how to behave, when navigating a, supposedly, artistic web site.

mwe3: Instrumentally, you are among the best and you also are a noted singer as well. Do you like vocal music as much as instrumental?

Corrado Rustici: Thank you for your words. I truly don’t consider myself among the best as a guitarist, let alone as a singer. I do love music in all its forms and I also very much enjoy some good pop music.

mwe3: What sort of project would you like to take on next and what other things are keeping you busy these days? Is 2016 a kind of transition year for you and the world in fact?

Corrado Rustici: For months to come, I will be involved in promoting Aham. I will be touring in Italy in December to support the album. I’m also finishing an album with guitarist Peppino D’Agostino, which we hope will see the light of day in 2017. I’m producing an Italian singer songwriter and, as a by-product of my R&D for Aham, I’m also developing a few guitar pedals and a guitar amp with the company DV Mark, which we hope will be ready in 2017. We are always transitioning into a new “Now”… as only in this now is our future happening!



 

 
   
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