January/February 1997

Paolo
Mystic Man
Island

Miles Davis called Paolo's one-man work "total music"-a musical soup with many ingredients. For the adventurous listener, the Roman-born musician's Mystic Man (Island Records/Guts & Grace 162-531-0652; 67:11), integrating a history of voices and textures into its electronic palette, provides a bracing sonic experience. Paolo's compositions start with futuristic electronic music, often employing house techno-dance rhythms and effects, but surprise at every turn. A hyper-driven track, "Black Isis," features ringing, mystic textures recalling Indonesian melodies, and "Rastafano" juxtaposes the haunting trumpet of Miles Davis with the rock guitar of Carlos Santana (who executive produces for his own "Guts & Grace" label). "Kyrie" mixes modern rhythm tracks into a wistful Davis tribute, with operatic vocals sweeping in for a fascinating, sentimental effect which is a complete departure from Mystic Man's heavier pieces. This is electronic music at its best-where each detail in the heady mix makes perfect sense. Paolo sings on "Free," "I'm free in the music of love." Those daring enough to explore Mystic Man will feel that freedom in Paolo's thoughtful compositions.

Originally published in January/February 1997
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