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Pop/Rock - Released October 15, 1987 | Epic

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Rock - Released May 25, 1992 | Epic - Legacy

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The Extremist lives up to its name, continuing Joe Satriani's tradition of exploring new musical and compositional ground. A vastly different array of musicians assists him in creating the songs displayed on this all-instrumental disc, and as such the songs are different from even the usual envelope-pushing Satriani fare. The chugging "Summer Song," the warm "Friends," the slamming "Motorcycle Driver," and the crunching "The Extremist" show Satriani's talents as a guitarist are undiminished, while the more traditional neo-folk approach to "Rubina's Blue Sky Happiness" and the bluesy "New Blues" are different from anything he has done before. So, too, is the droning rock of "War" and the plaintive, questioning funk-rock of "Why." © Phil Carter /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released October 1, 1995 | Epic - Legacy

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A guitar virtuoso and genius of instrumental composition, Joe Satriani explores deeper waters with a haunting yet richly entailed work of stripped-down blues-rock and improvisational jazz. This record, self-titled as Joe Satriani, puts the guitar wizard into a streaming new light of musical impression, as his efforts point toward a sincere evolutionary progression in composition and arrangement. With a collective of the most witty, crafty, and enticing musicians in jazz and blues, Satriani blends soaring, scintillating scale passages with pulsating, engaging melodic lines. With the help of his main group during these sessions -- Andy Fairweather Low on rhythm guitar, Nathan East on bass, and Manu Katche on drums -- Satriani reaches further into his musical self to bring out soulful grooves and mesmerizing yet catchy riffs, creating a relaxed, yet gripping intensity to these jams. Spontaneous in meter, rhythm, and melody, Satriani never fails to let the listener in on his enchanting and seemingly overabundant sense of creativity. Perhaps the only weakness throughout the majority of the album's 12 tracks is his intention to strip down and use only the effects of his Marshall amps, therefore, sadly diminishing his trademark flair for the highly alluring sonic territory he covered on his critically acclaimed Surfing With the Alien, Flying in a Blue Dream, and Time Machine. Still, with all due respect, his plethora of extremely gifted backup musicians sincerely adds a diverse range of textures and colors, bringing out a much-needed live feel to an otherwise bland album of blues-oriented jazz-rock. Perhaps the highlight of the record in the punch and volume of the progressive-oriented blues jam, "Killer Bee Bop" is a tune drenched with well-placed percussion and racing guitar lines. Because he is not afraid to seek the darker and once-unapproachable territories of guitar rock to find vibrant and refreshingly new sounds, Satriani puts forth once again a successful album, painting a mixture of blues and jazz in a variety of meters and keys. The single "(You're) My World," released over the airwaves as radio-friendly material in early 1995, is a misleading example of Joe Satriani's real development during the production of this record. A slow listen to the material on this release will captivate the listener's spirit for this guitar hero and reveal Joe Satriani's true nature, in that he and his Ibanez instrument are one and the same. © Shawn Haney /TiVo
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Rock - Released February 17, 1997 | Epic - Legacy

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Joe Satriani always stood apart from the legions of guitar virtuosos who surfaced in the late '80s, largely because he had a sharper ear than his peers. He didn't limit himself to hard rock or heavy metal, preferring to draw in elements of pop and jazz as well. At his best, he stood head and shoulders above his peers, many of whom were his former students. However, his records were a little uneven, especially those featuring his vocals, and it seemed like he had painted himself into a corner by 1995's eponymous effort. Remarkably, moving to Epic revitalized his career. Recording wih longtime bassist Stuart Hamm and drummer Jeff Campitelli, Satriani turns in an all-instrumental record with Crystal Planet. It's an instrumental record with a difference, finding the guitarist taking more chances than ever. There are some familiar hard rock and ballad workouts, but what's astounding about the album is that it shows his technique continuing to develop and deepen, reaching into new, uncharted waters. It's his finest all-instrumental effort since Surfing With the Alien. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released March 6, 2006 | Epic - Legacy

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The most frightening thing about "Super Colossal" is that it starts off sounding horrifically similar to the chorus of Billy Squier's "The Stroke." Thankfully, this is remedied immediately, and Satch returns to familiar territory. The sound of the title track is big and booming, but the tone and delivery are instantly recognizable. Satriani doesn't pull any new tricks out of his bag, but lets his fingers do the talking throughout most of the record. And, of course, it wouldn't be a Satriani record without a few midtempo numbers thrown in for good measure, and "It's So Good" certainly delivers a swaggering punch that is reminiscent of not only Flying in a Blue Dream but moments of protégé Steve Vai's epic album Passion and Warfare. There are moments of delicate frailty and instrumentals with a romantic and optimistic feeling, tempering the high-energy blues-driven guitar shredders and leaving Super Colossal with a nice sense of balance -- except for the album's finish. "Crowd Chant" is arguably one of the weirdest moments in a career full of eccentricity, but it's painfully out of place. However, with its catchy melody and call-and-response verses, it's going to make one heck of a concert singalong. On the whole, Satriani really doesn't push boundaries or stretch his guitar vocabulary too much here, but even on his worst day his productions could best any other shredder du jour based simply on the fact that he crafts songs rather than insipid guitar-scale exercises to flaunt and flail around carelessly. © Rob Theakston /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released October 5, 2010 | Epic - Red Ink

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Rock - Released May 3, 2013 | Epic

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Rock - Released June 24, 2002 | Epic

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What's a guitar hero to do now that the masses prefer electronic beats and rap-metal to killer scale runs? Joe Satriani seeks that answer on Strange Beautiful Music. Satriani set himself apart from other would-be kings of the six-string in the 1980s by combining impeccable technique with great feel and pop hooks. With those qualities, he produced great guitar-driven albums like Surfing With the Alien and Flying in a Blue Dream. On his 2002 release, Satriani tries to make his music fresh by incorporating world music influences and a bit of techno flava. To his credit, he succeeds more than he fails. "Belly Dancer" combines straight-up rock riffs with Middle Eastern-twinged melodies and faster-than-sound runs up and down the fretboard. On "Oriental Melody," Satch's world music sensibility shines with the help of ping-pong delay and keyboards. He still has a knack for great hooks, too, as is evident on "New Last Jam," which features a melody that bounces around in your head for days. But none of these tracks approach the pop brilliance of his Surfing With the Alien songs. In many ways, the experimental nature of songs like "What Breaks a Heart" hark back to his Not of This Earth release. But Strange Beautiful Music suffers from inconsistency. While the mix-and-match approach works on "Belly Dancer," it can also result in the bland discontinuity of "Chords of Life," which at times sounds like "All Along the Watchtower" and at others resembles scale and chord exercises from Yngwie Malmsteen -- not an enticing combo. And "Starry Night," while a nice ballad, feels like an attempt to rewrite his masterful ballad "Always With You, Always With Me." © Michael Gowan /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 12, 2004 | Epic

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Rock - Released October 26, 1993 | Epic

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Pop/Rock - Released April 1, 2008 | Epic - Legacy

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While a lot of guitar heroes sling their axes for the sole purpose of proving that they are the fastest shredder in the showroom, picking their Mixolydian scales to the nth degree, on the ridiculously named Professor Satchafunkilus and the Musterion of Rock Satriani shines in his ability to hold back and write tasteful verse/chorus songs with memorable hooks. Like the majority of his songs in his ever growing catalog, most of these are technically impressive numbers that never go overboard with the showboating and rely on a sense of feeling rather than virtuoso technique. When you're considered a guitar god, restraint is a virtue. Of course he can zip along on the fretboard with the best of the best, but the trait that has always separated Satriani from the other guitarists gracing the cover of Guitar World for more than 20 years is his ability to blend technique with guitar lines that are melodic enough for a vocalist to sing. Thankfully, he never takes the microphone on this recording, but on the first half of the gentle and bluesy "Come on Baby," it's easy to imagine substituting his custom Ibanez with a human voice that coos the words "Come on baby, come on babe" on the choruses. Similarly, the "Diddle-Y-A-Doo-Dat" sounds like the title might suggest, starting out with some Yes-style prog licks and flipping into a John Scofield-flavored jazz-funk jam with bends and pull-offs that are best described as "diddleys" and "doo-dats." Neither cut quite astounds, but both demonstrate his versatility on the instrument and his ability to adapt to the climates of various genres. Likewise, the flamenco-flavored "Andalusia" starts off as a warm "Spanish Fly" acoustic number, exploding into a furious distorted solo backed by longtime drummer Jeff Campitelli and former David Lee Roth bassist Matt Bissonette. Along with his backing band, Satch's son ZZ Satriani gets a taste of his pop's spotlight, just like Wolfgang and Dweezil, and provides a few sax flutters on the semi-funky "Professor Satchafunklius." With the exception of these tracks, the remainder of the album is purely rockin', and doesn't vary much from his prior 12 releases. The anthemic "Overdriver" could be an outtake from Flying in a Blue Dream and will surely find a place in his G3 set list, "Musterion" sounds like a Not of this Earth moment, and the two-handed handiwork and blistering riffage on "Asik Vaysel" will definitely have air guitarists salivating. With the good comes the bad, and at the album's most embarrassing moment, "I Just Wanna Rock" advertises cornball clichés with a proudly clanked cowbell, a talkbox Frampton-izing, and a boisterous crowd chant-along. This is a new low for Joe -- practically an open letter admitting that he's OK with the idea of becoming passé. At a time when his former pupil Steve Vai is experimenting with radical orchestral arrangements, it would be nice to see the professor branch even further away from his trademark style, ditch the '80s production, and try something more unconventional, but for the most part he's doing what he does best here, and fans will be content with that. © Jason Lymangrover /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released December 18, 1986 | Epic - Legacy

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Not of This Earth was the first studio release from guitar wizard Joe Satriani (not counting the hard-to-find Joe Satriani EP). This all-instrumental album was making ripples in the guitar-playing community not long after it was released, and it's easy to see why: superior compositions, a signature style, a unique tone, and playing that's out of this world. Satriani shifts musical gears deftly, often layering multiple tracks together to make a complex soundscape. The fiery sound of "Not of This Earth" and "Hordes of Locusts" is tempered by the cool, dark tone of "Driving at Night," the far-out Eastern approach of "The Snake," and the quiet, thoughtful "Rubina." Satriani's fluid playing and wicked licks are enough to drop jaws and widen eyes. There isn't a weak track on this disc, even though the guitarist was still maturing when he released it. © Phil Carter /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 7, 2000 | Epic - Legacy

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With Crystal Planet, Joe Satriani made an effective return to his signature sound following the erratic blues-rock detour of Joe Satriani. For the follow-up to Crystal Planet, Satriani is once again exploring novel territory in an effort to keep his music fresh, and Engines of Creation is the biggest stylistic shift he's made yet -- to electronic music. Satriani's guitar is still the focal point of the music, to be sure, but while his virtuosity is obvious, it's often submerged in the new demands of this musical idiom. That isn't a surprise either, given that Satriani is one of the few guitar shredders whose taste and musicality have never been in question. But fans who simply want to hear him rip through his typical jaw-dropping solos may be disappointed (even though, in the end, there are more than a few solos), as will those guitar fans who reflexively disdain all sounds electronic. Having defended it, though, Engines of Creation isn't a total success. While the music is certainly influenced by techno and electronica, it probably won't appeal to listeners coming from those arenas; overall, it simply isn't as adventurous as much genuine electronica, avoiding complex backing rhythms or edgy sonic textures; nor is it as hypnotic, meandering or drifting aimlessly at times instead of moving into trancelike states of consciousness. Plus, Satriani's songs are often more traditional than they may seem upon first listen; many of the compositions are based on repeated themes and riffs and standard rock-song structures, switching between recurring, identifiable sections rather than gradually building and unfolding. However, the album can also be quite inventive. Satriani has challenged himself to find ways of coaxing totally new sounds from his guitar, and he weaves them seamlessly into the futuristic electronic soundscapes. Moreover, his melodies and main themes have rarely been this angular and off-kilter, meaning that exploring this music has indeed helped Satriani refresh and re-imagine his signature sound. Even the pieces that aren't ultimately that revolutionary are still intriguing, since very few musicians have the technical training and innate sense of musicality required to mine this territory. Overall, Engines of Creation is a brave and sporadically successful experiment, and it's also a promising new direction for Satriani should he choose to continue this vein of exploration and take it out even farther. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 10, 2020 | Legacy Recordings

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Even the major dudes of Harry Potter can tell you: There are limits to wizarding. Consider the rarified realm of instrumental rock. For a long time the "holy grail" pursuits were mostly in the direction of mega technique – the ability to cram a zillion notes into spaces meant for four, the knack for creating intricate lines at speeds that register as brain-wave blurs. Joe Satriani has gone further and faster than most of his guitar peers (some of them former students); his "brand" is about facility and fluidity, and his records, starting with 1987's rightly acclaimed Surfing With the Alien, have displayed astounding command of the guitar. Yet somewhere along the way – most overtly at the turn of the century, with his still-underappreciated electronic-leaning Engines of Creation – Satriani shifted focus to long-tone melodies, asymmetrical post-rock rhythms, and more intimate musical gestures. This led to a "renewal" of sorts, a creative opening that continues on the remarkably varied Shapeshifting. Rather than dwell in a fixed genre, Satriani explores widely – several tracks travel dub spaceways, others (including the title track) situate everyday riff-rock phrases against fitful progressive grooves. But the most explicit clue to Satriani's intentions comes on track 4, "Ali Farka, Dick Dale, an Alien and Me." As drummer Kenny Aronoff pounds out a jaunty limbo-line pulse, the guitarist first conjures the fervent chants of legendary African bluesman Ali Farka Touré, then does some surf-rock hijinks a la Dick Dale, then takes off on lyrical, birds-soaring solo flights. It's a whiplash wizard journey that visits several completely different styles; Satriani masters all of them. © Tom Moon/Qobuz
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Rock - Released October 30, 1989 | Epic

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Recorded at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA ; Hyde Street Studios, Different Fur, Coast Recorders and Alpha & Omega Recording in San Francisco, CA. Mixed at Alpha & Omega Recording & Fantasy Studios. First release in November 13, 1989. Flying in a Blue Dream was certified Gold on January 25, 1990 and received a nomination for 'Best Rock Instrumental Performance' at the '1991 Grammy Awards'. First reissue on May 27, 1997 through Epic Records.
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Rock - Released July 24, 2015 | Legacy Recordings

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Pop/Rock - Released October 26, 2010 | Epic - Legacy

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Rock - Released January 14, 2020 | Epic - Legacy

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Surfing with the Alien belongs to its era like Are You Experienced? belongs to its own -- perhaps it doesn't transcend its time the way the Jimi Hendrix Experience's 1967 debut does, but Joe Satriani's 1987 breakthrough can be seen as the gold standard for guitar playing of the mid- to late '80s, an album that captures everything that was good about the glory days of shred. Certainly, Satriani was unique among his peers in that his playing was so fluid that his technical skills never seemed like showboating -- something that was somewhat true of his 1986 debut, Not of This Earth, but on Surfing with the Alien he married this dexterity to a true sense of melodic songcraft, a gift that helped him be that rare thing: a guitar virtuoso who ordinary listeners enjoyed. Nowhere is this more true than on "Always with Me, Always with You," a genuine ballad -- not beefed up with muscular power chords but rather sighing gently with its melody -- but this knack was also evident on the ZZ Top homage "Satch Boogie" and the title track itself, both of which turned into rock radio hits. This melodic facility, plus his fondness for a good old-fashioned three-chord rock, separated Satriani from his shredding peers in 1987, many of whom were quite literally his students. But he was no throwback: he equaled his former students Steve Vai and Kirk Hammett in sweep picking and fretboard acrobatics and he had a sparkling, spacy quality to some of his songs -- particularly the closing stretch of the Middle Eastern-flavored "Lords of Karma," the twinkling "Midnight," and "Echo" -- that was thoroughly modern for 1987. The production of Surfing with the Alien is also thoroughly of its year -- stiff drumbeats, sparkling productions -- so much so that it can seem a bit like a relic from another era, but it's fine that it doesn't transcend its time: it captures the best of its era and is still impressive in that regard. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 12, 2018 | Legacy Recordings

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The electric guitar world has been following Joe Satriani’s adventures since the middle of the 80s. A virtuoso - a magician even - of this instrument that he plays like no other, this American has die-hard fans as well as harsh critics. Blending rock, metal and blues, his music - mostly instrumental - never forgets to lean against strong compositions. Satriani’s writing even sent some sparks flying on his classic albums, Surfing With The Alien released in 1987 and Flying In A Blue Dream, released two years later… With What Happens Next that was created with drummer Chad Smith and bass player Glenn Hughes, the sexagenarian guitar hero still remains deeply rooted in his formula. Astounding solos, rhythmic and slick melodies, there’s no palace revolution in Satriani’s country, and just his impressive know-how is enough to amaze novice guitar players. A very solid album. © CM/Qobuz
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Rock - Released April 22, 2014 | Epic - Legacy

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