OK, I admit it, there are some really talented guitarists I have never heard much of and some leave me with the feeling of wanting to kick myself so hard up the backside and say "Why the hell did I never hear their music before" which is why, on the strong recommendation of the Editor, I am examining this album which, ladies and gentlemen, brings me nicely onto this fella. Hailing from Westbury, New York, Joe Satriani has a very impressive resume to rival any. Multi-instrumentalist, producer, songwriter, and guitar instructor, he has a number of famous proteges under his tuition (Steve Vai, Kirk Hammett e.g.) as well as collaborating with the nobility of Mick Jagger, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple but to name a few.
Joe Satriani's also recorded a few albums under his own name, fourteen in almost thirty years in all, demonstrating his distinctive stylings, tapping, volume swells, and some rather gratuitous use of the tremolo that gives him an enviable reputation as a trendsetter. So it turns out that what he doesn't know about the guitar isn't worth knowing about. Virtuoso is more or less a befitting title of his skills and knowledge. He does sing on occasion, but he prefers to let the six string do the talking.
Surfing With The Alien is his second album, released in 1987. Despite being an instrumental, it's one of the most successful of this genre. The title track takes inspiration from the Marvel superhero Silver Surfer (his image is also on the album cover, see above) and has been popularised as a radio backdrop on numerous stations. It's such an amusing track to listen to but the audio pleasure doesn't end there. Ice 9 and Crushing Day are frenetic but well executed numbers with much emphasis on hammer-on techniques.
There is a softer side to the album as highlighted in Always With Me, Always With You, which many Nicki Minaj fans will instantly recognise as a sampled piece on Right Thru Me. Satch Boogie is another addictive tune which reminds me of the dexterities of Steve Morse and Eddie Van Halen. Circles is a curious one that mixes smooth riffs into chunky heavy leads at the drop of a hat, while Echo has a rich feel of texture to it.
Amazed doesn't even describe my first impressions of Surfing With The Alien because an instrumental usually suggests that without vocals, the music hits its creative buffers. Not here though. Mr Satriani has the palms and foresight of coming up with something catchy, quirky and downright fun. Somebody has just found his way into my top ten guitarists now. M. Richardson 13/07/2013
9 out of ten. Almost perfect....Almost.
You can listen to the album here on Spotify
You can buy the album here on Amazon
Joe Satriani's latest activities can be followed here on his official website