Review by Paul Sabin for MPM
Joe Satriani, teacher to Steve Vai and Kirk Hammett amongst others, has released his eighteenth studio album which contains fourteen instrumental tracks.
This album stretches boundaries and challenges the norm for a guitar based instrumental release. Satriani has had time to toy with ideas and produce fresh thinking on many plains.
Even the album cover is simple but very clever; outlines of a guitar body form elephants’ ears whilst guitar necks are their trunks!
Track one, `Sahara’ is the first to be lifted as a single. A middle eastern rhythm rings out as Satriani’s trademark guitar sound riffs over the top pausing midway for a Gilmour-esque clean solo before the whammy bar gets a good workout.
The title track starts with a modern fizzy drum and synth beat before zooming off in a wah infused Jazz Rock affair. Are we hearing the elephants roar here?
`Faceless’ lightens the mood as a gentle piano piece floats seamlessly with Satriani’s creamy distorted soloing making this a beautiful, dreamy track.
Blue Foot Groovy’ lives up to its name with a sassy bass and rhythm guitar laying the foundations for some sweet electric blues.
Tension And Release’ has a funky wobbly rhythm to it that wouldn’t be out of place on a Led Zep album. Here the fretboard wizard seems to make is guitar resemble and take the place of a brass section at one point.
A thick, fuzzy tone makes the solo part leap out of the track. `Sailing The Seas Of Ganymede’ is loaded with echoes and delays which gives the track an air mystery and transports the listener to another world.
We return to a middle eastern vibe on `Doors Of Perception’ as traditional instruments and drums blend with eerie guitar phrasings and soft keyboard padding. Another hauntingly exquisite track. `Pumpin’ struts its funky stuff as a Hammond wails and classic seventies synth sounds duel with the guitar maestro’s licks.
`Dance Of The Spores’ is a heavy, dark, futuristic track filled with synth fizz basslines and long, thick slow guitar riffs until the solo kicks in and dive-bombs, fast licks and finger tapping lighten the track which then brings in a choir and a fairground like melody before returning to its darker roots.
Night Scene’ contains Synth rhythms that Jean-Michel Jarre would be proud of and an upbeat tempo that works as a fine vehicle for Satriani to lay down a bright chirpy guitar element on to.
Moving close to Pink Floyd territory comes `Through A Mother’s Day Darkly.’ Spoken commentary, symphonic string sections and refined, delayed guitar parts sing out on this epic track. `22 Memory Lane’ is a calmer, sweet track which meanders along sweetly in readiness for the final track, `Desolation’ which is just pure guitar and synth padding. This is a symphony for electric guitar!
Anyone who hears this album will intuitively know it is Joe Satriani playing. His compressed, saturated guitar tone is unmistakable, but what is different here is how outside influences and musical flavours have blended to make wonderous soundscapes that move the listener to other worlds. So, when the stress and pain of todays world gets to much, hitch a ride with `The Elephants Of Mars’
2. The Elephants of Mars
4. Blue Foot Groovy
5. Tension and Release
6. Sailing the Seas of Ganymede
7. Doors of Perception
8. E 104th St NYC
10. Dance of the Spores
11. Night Scene
12. Through a Mother’s Day Darkly
13. 22 Memory Lane
CD Jewel case, Ltd. CD Digi sleeve (incl.14 images created by the artist himself), 2LP Gatefold, Ltd. 2LP Gatefold Orange, Ltd. 2LP Gatefold Purple, Ltd. 2LP Gatefold Pink, Digital
Pre-order Album: https://joe-satriani.lnk.to/TheElepha…
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