Satriani Proves He’s Still Got Plenty Of “Momentum” On New LP

Courtesy:  Epic Records/RED Distribution

Courtesy: Epic Records/RED Distribution

Joe Satriani’s latest release, Unstoppable Momentum is the famed guitarist’s best release since his 2006 album, Super Colossal.  This new record is the album that fans have waited for since the release of Super Colossal.  It is just as bombastic as Super Colossal and more at some points.  It’s also just as gentle as SC, too at different points.  Perhaps a big reason for the success of this record is the Satch opted for a different backing group than he typically uses on his records.  Many of Satriani’s past records were recorded with Jeff Campitelli on drums and Allen Whitman on bass.  This time out, Satch opted instead to have drummer Vinnie Colaiuta man the kit and Chris Chaney add the low end on bass.  Another change to the lineup that could have created such a difference on this record from his other works was the inclusion of Mike Frasier behind the glass once again.  The two are quite familiar with one another, having worked together on no less than six of Satch’s previous records, including his most recent album, Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards (2010) and Super Colossal.  He also helped with the creation of both of Chickenfoot’s current releases on which Joe played guitar.  That familiarity and friendship between the pair—and the inclusion of new musicians–obviously played a role in the record’s sound as it has proven to be not just his best record since Super Colossal, but one of his finest records to date.

Right from the opening number of Unstoppable Momentum, long-time fans of Satriani’s work know they are in for quite a ride.  The album opens fittingly with its title track.  Simply listening to the song, one can’t help but hear that perhaps Satriani is making a statement early on that even fourteen albums in, he still has a lot left to offer audiences.  He still has that “unstoppable momentum.”  The song’s seeming ABA structure starts off easy before really kicking things up in the middle section.  Joe shows without a doubt that he’s still got plenty left in the tank with his “solos” in this section while drummer Vinnie Colaiuta gives an added intensity with his musicianship behind the kit.  He proves to be just as solid as [Jeff] Campitelli, if not more so.  His ability to handle polyrhythmic patters without missing a single beat is impressive to say the least, both here and throughout the record.  This is just one example of what makes this such a solid record.

Another good example of what makes Unstoppable Momentum a success is the almost Beatles-esque, ‘I’ll Put a Stone on Your Cabin.’  The song’s “A” sections have something of a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club influence.  Somehow, Satriani and his band mates manage to tie in a sound that is quite the counterpoint to this vibe, making the song into a piece unlike anything that Satriani has ever recorded throughout his career.  It is one of those songs that simply must be heard to be appreciated and understood.      

There is at least one more example of what makes this new record one that fans will enjoy.  And it is the album’s absolutely shortest, but most touching piece.  That song is the one minute and forty-three minute long, ‘I’ll Put a Stone on Your Cairn.’  For those that don’t know, one of the traditional uses of a cairn is as a monument to one who has passed on.  Its use roots all the way back to prehistoric Eurasia.  So placing a stone on one’s cairn would be an act of tribute and remembrance to the deceased.  Keeping all of this in mind, the gentle, dulcet tones of this short opus are sure to create thoughts in the minds of listeners of perhaps those that they have lost.  It offers some of the album’s deepest emotions and is sure to generate among listeners some of the deepest emotions, as well.  Without a doubt, this song may end up being a favorite for fans, even as short as it is.  And it is just one more among so many that listeners will enjoy throughout the course of the album’s eleven total tracks.  The album is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via Joe’s website, http://www.satriani.com, where he has links to iTunes, Amazon, and through his own website.  Fans can also order the new album and all sorts of Joe Satriani gear through his official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/joesatriani.  Fans can keep up with the latest tour updates and news from Joe on his Facebook page, too.

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“Satchurated: Live in Montreal” one of 2012’s top 3 live releases

Courtesy: Epic Records/cine musica

Summer is here.  And that means that the annual tours are making their way across the country fast and furious.  The problem is that with all the tours out there, who has the money or the means to even try to make them all?  For that matter, what are fans to do when their favorite band and/or artist doesn’t make a stop in their city?  This is where the importance of live recordings comes in to play.  Anyone out there who is like this reviewer has seen their favorite act(s) shun their city in favor of other markets time and again.  So live recordings become that much more important to being able to experience given acts live.  And one of the best of this year’s live recordings is Joe Satriani’s recently released live blu-ray “Satchurated:  Live in Montreal.”

“Satchurated:  Live in Montreal” is not Joe Satriani’s first live recording.  But it is one of his best yet, if not his best yet.  This live show is as close as fans will come to a career retrospective from Satriani.  The show clocks in at just under two and a half hours long.  And it lifts from nearly every one of the fourteen albums that this guitar legend has released in the twenty plus years that he has been making music.  That includes more than half of the songs from his most recent album, “Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards.”  The whole show kicks off with the hit, ‘Ice 9’ from his album, “Surfing With The Alien.”  All the hits are there, including:  ‘Satch Boogie’, ‘Summer Song’, ‘Crowd Chant’, ‘The Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing’ and so many more.

The mega set list on this performance is just one part of the whole that makes “Satchurated:  Live in Montreal” the standout live recording that it is.  The songs are great.  And thanks to Mike Fraser (Aerosmith, AC/DC, Sliipknot, etc.) and everyone behind the scenes of the show, the finished product came out just as impressive as the set list itself.  The audio mix is spot on even for those who might not have a surround sound home theater system.  Though as impressive as the audio mix was, it’s enough to make a person want to buy a home theater system if only for the one show.  It should come as no surprise that the final mix was so impressive.  This show wasn’t the first time that Satriani and Fraser have worked together.  They also teamed up for Satriani’s albums, “Crystal Planet” and “Super Colossal.” 

The finished video presentation was just as impressive as the audio mix.  Even those who don’t have a 3-D TV get stunning clarity with the concert’s blu-ray presentation.  On top of that, the general shooting, helmed by the brothers Lamoureux–Pierre and Francois–will make audiences feel as if they’re right there in Montreal with the rest of the audience.  The brothers took the emotion of every one of Satch’s songs, and somehow adapted that energy to the filming, giving shots at just the right pacing to keep audiences hooked.  Combine the filming with the show’s setlist, and audiences will be pulled right into the show.  they won’t even realize that nearly two and a half hours have passed until the show is over.  That is the sign of a truly impressive live recording.

Joe Satriani has been making music for over two decades.  He has released fourteen albums, and earned numerous honors as a result of those albums.  Now, he can add one more honor to that already long list with the release of “Satchurated:  Live in Montreal.”  That honor is of having one of the top live recordings of 2012.  From the superior audio mix and video presentation to the career spanning set list, Joe Satriani has never looked or sounded better.

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