Maybe one day we won’t need musicians anymore. We’ll just program the piano sound we’re interested in, maybe a little rock guitar solo, a steady drumbeat and some thumping bass. Who needs live musicians when just about every musical sample is available as a digital file? Italian film composer and producer Paolo Rustichelli doesn’t try to hide the fact that his new CD was made only with digital plug-ins; he even says so on the back cover. So does that mean that Rustichelli didn’t play the piano on his smooth-jazz single “My Geisha”? That’s right—it’s from the Native Instruments company’s popular Akoustik Piano software (yours for only $339).
But there’s a Grand Canyon-esque gap between your neighbor’s news blog and the New York Times: All the digital downloads in the world don’t mean diddly if you can’t put it together. Rustichelli can do it, and he does it well. As the title and record label suggest, this is a CD that fuses 1970s new age music, contemporary jazz and World Beat elements. It’s no snoozy affair, as Rustichelli keeps beats coming and synths swirling. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you dug early Yanni and Chris Spheeris, you’ll enjoy this. Top moments: Rustichelli’s guttural vocals in the anthemic “Gaia Mater” and the screaming rock-guitar excesses of “Mondorama.”