Joe Satriani: Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards

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You can immediately tell what light-year a Joe Satriani album is traveling in by the way the first song definitively captures you with your first listen.  The vibrations of his initial entrance are defining points of both his live shows and studio records which electrify listeners time and time again.  To further prove my point, examine "Engines of Creation", "Strange Beautiful Music," "Is There Love In Space?" and "Super Colossal"; take note of the opening song and observe it’s reflection of in comparison to the rest of the album. 

A short while after the 2008 release of Professor Satchafunkalis and the Musterion of Rock, Joe Satriani teamed up with former Van Halen members Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony along with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith to form their new collaboration, what we now know as Chickenfoot; and what has become the latest installment of the modern day “supergroup.”  Since the release of his last record, Satriani has been quite busy with Chickenfoot, the Experience Hendrix tour and the continuation of his tremendous solo career.  With a new band lineup in place, Joe Satriani has brought forth his virtuosity and latest mind storm in the form of his latest record titled Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards

The album lifts off quickly as Satriani opens with a song titled “Premonition” that takes you on a fast-paced celestial journey through the universe.  Background synths provided by keyboardist, Mike Keneally, are distinctly heard on this driving track and the aggressive transition bridges the piece together while acting as the catalyst to take the song to another level and making way for the solo.  Beginning with what sounds similar to the opening cuts on “Voodoo Chile,” something that may have carried over from the Experience Hendrix tour, Satriani takes the melody to a more bluesy realm on “Dream Song.”  The phases throughout the song give it a “Flying in a Blue Dream” feeling though it embodies a floating and cloud-like structure.  Immediately returning with an incredible instrumental on “Light Years Away,” Satriani sharpens the edge with grungier tones and piercing solos that leave you in awe.  The back half of the song exits with a two hand tapping run combined with octave leaps that bring the piece to a halt. 

“Solitude” acts as a segue into a more mellow feeling midway through the record, but only lasts for a short while before Satriani bounces back with an overpowering song titled “The Golden Room.”  Almost acting as what could be the response to an “Oriental Melody,” the track opens with a gypsy clapping rhythm before it is overtaken with a driving distortion chord progression.  One the best songs on the album, the reoccurring tone in the chorus gives it an almighty high and controls the nature of the piece.

“Wind In the Trees” is another down to earth track that actually carries you in the circular path the wind and features an extended piano solo intertwined with wavelike drum rhythms from Jeff Campitelli.  The song totally sets the stage for the ultimate climax on the record as Satriani unleashes everything on “God Is Crying.”  From the get-go you can tell that this finish is something special as the groove gradually builds and explodes into this intense storm of instrumental distortion.  Rather than crying, it’s like God is rejoicing in celebration of this amazing guitar virtuoso.

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