Joe Satriani, one of rockâ€™s most accessible and melodic technical guitar virtuosos has released one of his strongest albums in a while, with the typically ambiguously title â€˜Black Swans and Wormhole Wizardsâ€™.
The man who surprised the world with the technical de-force of â€˜Surfing with the Alienâ€™ has found a new way of playing guitar, putting spare melodies and guitars against more diverse backgrounds. A strong support band of Jeff Campitelli on Drums and Percussion, Bassist Allen Whitman and most tellingly, Mike Kenneally on Keyboards add a lot of space and colour to the compositions that Satriani has provided.
The keyboards help to create a Jeff Beck/Jan Hammer fusion tone on such tracks as â€˜Two sides to Every Storyâ€™ and the title track, whilst â€˜Dream Songâ€™ features new keyboard sounds that would have previously been played on guitar. All of these new styles help to open up the sound of the album, adhering strongly to the maxim of less being more.
There is still plenty for air guitarists to play along to, with Satriani playing many styles that he is not as well known for. â€˜Littleworth Laneâ€™ is a strong tune, with bluesy guitar techniques pushed to the fore, whilst â€˜Premonitionâ€™, â€˜Pyrrhic Victoriaâ€™ and â€˜Light Years Awayâ€™ contain advanced guitar techniques and playing, and plenty that rewards further listening.