JOE SATRIANI - STRANGE BEAUTIFUL MUSIC (2002, EPIC)
Joe Satriani - guitars, banjo, bass, keyboards
Matt Bissonette - bass
Jeff Campitelli - drums
Eric Caudieux - keyboards, programming
John Cuniberti - percussion
Well, it might be strange, but it's not true. Yes, Satriani playing music according to the title of this 2002 penned album would be considered strange, but not unusual, given the mans' eclectic tastes. At least we are not subjected to weird and wonderful 'world music' from offbeat places like Nepal or Uzbekistan. However given the fact that Satch released a couple of albums called 'Not Of This Earth' and 'Surfing With The Alien', I wouldn't have put it past him to include something 'offworldly' to keep us bemused! Satriani has ridden the highs mostly of his recording career. Despite the climate not exactly being suited to his style of music (lets face it, do guitar instrumentalists really do that well on a major label?), Satriani has still managed to keep a deal going with Sony/Epic. The US recording industry is really a strange beast, so with tongue in cheek, I would suggest that the album title is a quirky little dig at those Execs who think the sun shines out of Britney's 'you-know-where', and nowhere else!!
Opening with the dreamy soundscape of 'Oriental Melody', the tune meanders along until the obligatory solos kick in. Rather muffled and scuffy sounding it must be said. The groovy near psychedelic tones of 'Belly Dancer' provide a contrast, particularly as the lovely lucid playing of 'Starry Night' unfolds, washing across the horizon like the setting sun at days end before the starry night arrives. A nice tune indeed, sort of new country sounding, similar to Eric Johnson
's material. Despite the low key entrance and gentile verse structure, 'Chords Of Life' powers to life (Excuse the pun) eventually, the acoustic strumming giving way to a sonic discharge (or is that dischord?). 'Mind Storm' on the other hand wades its way amid the turgid tone of detuned guitars. It's not grunge exactly (heaven forbid!), but it is dark. By stark contrast, Satch's rendition of 'Sleep Walk' (the same track made popular by that other guitar denizen Larry Carlton
), is an offbeat jazz flavored affair. 'New Last Jam' is an energetic piece befitting the title.. as it does have a loose improvised feel to it. I found though as we headed toward the end of the album, the interest level waned somewhat. 'Hill Groove' is a'sort-of' blues workout, while the six-string flurries of 'The Journey' are as entertaining as they are scuffy sounding!
Probably not the definitive Satriani album of his collective works.. a mixed bag to say the least. However, a one-dimensional guitarist is a tag he can never be accused of!
01 Oriental Melody
02 Belly Dancer
03 Starry Night
04 Chords Of Life
05 Mind Storm
06 Sleep Walk
07 New Last Jam
08 Mountain Song
09 What Breaks A Heart
10 Seven String
11 Hill Groove
12 The Journey
13 The Traveller
14 You Saved My Life
Joe Satriani - 2000 Engines Of Creation
Joe Satriani - 2002 Strange Beautiful Music
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