Newest Review: ... it will probably grow on you as it did me. As the title suggests, there is an eastern feel throughout, with the verses having an underpinn... more
Music, Beautiful and Strange
Strange Beautiful Music - Joe Satriani
Member Name: ed2288
Strange Beautiful Music - Joe Satriani
Advantages: If you have only a slight interest in guitars, you should love this.
Disadvantages: I admit, may not be absolutely everyone's cup of tea.
This CD should be played on the best speakers you can get your hands on because every track has a rich tone, full arrangement and interlacing melodies that deserve a sonic super system. That says something of the skill of Satriani and the session musicians he employs, the equipment they use, and the expert production. Although there is never more than about five instruments being played during the tunes, at times, the music feels almost orchestral, such is the detail and intricacy.
Inevitably, some songs are better than others; some of the tracks feel less complete than others and I would view them as concepts that have not quite made the finished article. That said, there is very little filler on this album.
Every track on the album is instrumental: a good idea due to Satriani's weak voice. Also lyrics sometimes spoil your interpretation of a piece of music and are usually wholly unoriginal, with just a few exceptions.
1. Oriental Melody.
A slow burner. On first impressions it doesn't seem very memorable but it will probably grow on you as it did me. As the title suggests, there is an eastern feel throughout, with the verses having an underpinning drone provided by the bass and synths. One of the slower tracks.
2. Belly Dancer.
A more upbeat track than the previous, making use of a wah-wah lead guitar sound. Beautiful harmonising in the interlude, which is reminiscent of Thin Lizzy. Similar to the previous track in that it too has an eastern feel to it, thanks to the pentatonic scales and sitar.
3. Starry Night.
Back to a western style now with both the chord progressions and the accompaniment: acoustic guitars and banjos. A very laid back affair and possibly one of the more unoriginal on the album, critics may even go as far as describing it as cheesy. Nevertheless, a pleasant, easy-on-the-ear track.
4.Chords of Life.
One of the standout songs on the album. Likeable the first time you hear it. Beginning with a Bach-esque harp and guitar introduction, it progresses to a series of beautiful chord progressions as the drums kick in. Then a killer guitar solo, and a return to the star to follow the same format. Very good.
5. Mind Storm.
We start to reach the heavier stuff on the album now. This song is very listenable and has a good melody despite it being heavy metal. It has a very interesting conceptual interlude which makes use of many guitar techniques such as slides, percussive effects and a very impressive sweep picking section.
6. Sleep Walk.
Simply the most beautiful song on the album. A remarkably sweet cover of the original Johnny and Santo verson. The tune is a very peaceful slide guitar ditty that I could picture perfectly as the "slow one" that everyone dances to with their date at the high school prom. I'd be surprised if you hear a more delightful tune all month.
7. New Last Jam.
A much darker track that makes use of an irregular 5/4 time signature in some parts which works well to convey the uneasiness of the song. It then progresses into a more upbeat '80s rock section which reminded me of the theme tunes to those retro action programs.
8. Mountain Song.
This begins with a climbing broken chord accompaniment and a clean, simple lead. The middle section has a busy solo with few notes not played.
9. What Breaks a Heart.
Another lovely tune with slightly unpredictable but still gorgeous chord progressions. The wah-wah on the lead works well as do the harmonies. The interlude sounds a bit like ska as the accompaniment comes in on the off-beat. A pedaltone and a beautiful neoclassical solo follow, one of the nicest on the album.
10. Seven String.
This track rocks! Joe dons his seven string guitar and blasts out the meanest track on the album. Pinched harmonics, string bends and killer riffs are rife. The chords feel so right, you will love it the first time you hear it. Play this one loud!
11. Hill Groove.
A happy kind of track with a memorable tune and a funky little beat. However it does slightly remind me of one of those naff polyphonic ring tones that came with your knew nokia! Ok, but not one of my favourites.
12. The Journey.
This kicks off with a really heavy intro and then goes into a soft verse which provides a nice variation. It's a shame that the rest of the track doesn't quite live up to the start.
13. The Traveller.
Although it takes a while to get going, good things come to those who wait, and this track is lovely. It's one that grew on me and when I listen to it now, I can hear shades of the Foo Fighters, particularly "Learn to Fly".
14.You Saved my Life.
I don't know why, but every time I listen to this song it just seems so cheesy. Sure, it's easy to listen to but the chord progressions are unoriginal and predictable. The other tracks more than make up for this one, though.
So there you have it. The album was quite expensive when I bought it, £15.99. It will surely be cheaper than that now (a quick check on amazon - £6.98), so I really urge you to buy it. Check him out on YouTube to sample his delights, I'm sure you'll be impressed.
Summary: Give it a listen!