Joe Satriani (a musician I first heard of through my brother’s constant attempts to clear Satch Boogie on Rock Band 2) has released his 14th studio album. I’m not sure where the title Black Swans And Wormhole Wizards (rather annoying, I keep typing that as ‘black holes’) came from but it sounds like it could be a band by itself. Although there is a track on the album called Wormhole Wizards, it only explains about half of the title.
Joining him are Mike Fraser (production duties), Jeff Campitelli (drumming), Mike Keneally (on keyboards, which sound more like the classical piano sound you would hear in a hotel lobby somewhere) and Allen Whitman (bass guitarist). They kind of fade into the background but help to complement the guitar work by Satriani, so it works on that level. However, on Two Sides To Every Story the drums seem to be more prominent than on the other tracks.
All of the songs are instrumentals and there are 11 tracks on the standard version of the album (there’s two more if you go online or get the Deluxe Version from Best Buy), ranging from less than a minute for one track (Solitude, which sounds calming, like an electric version of one of those self-relaxation tapes) to a long 7 minutes and 43 seconds for the aforementioned title track. My personal favourite track is the one with the pun-tastic title, Pyrrhic Victoria, which has a good blend of guitar work and bass guitar at the beginning of the song.
One of the tracks from the album, “Light Years Away,” has been released separately as a single, and it can be obtained for free from the official site in exchange for promoting it on your Facebook or Twitter page for others to see. This is quite a clever strategy, in my opinion, as it ensures exposure.
The cover features Satriani looking like he’s taken fashion education from Morpheus from The Matrix. The actual title of the album is quite small, to the extent that the elderly would most likely have trouble reading it. But that’s not who the awesome guitar work (that you will most likely be air-guitaring to) is meant for. When I requested the album for review first of all, I didn’t think I would like it but I thought I’d give it a go. The fact that I am currently playing the album while typing this and air-strumming along should give you some indication of how it has grown on me. Fans of Satriani’s other work should appreciate this one too.
The album is intended to lead into Satriani’s U.K. tour which starts on October 17th at the Manchester Apollo. It is now available in both the U.K. and U.S.