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Joe Satriani's unmatched guitar power is on full display on the adventurous new album Shapeshifting, his 18th studio release.
Co-produced by Jim Scott (Foo Fighters, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers) and featuring the core band of drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp), bassist Chris Chaney (Jane's Addiction) and keyboardist Eric Caudieux, Shapeshifting brings Satch's superior six-string skill to the fore on another exciting collection of original songs.
Lead single "Nineteen Eighty" harkens back to the spirit of Joe's first band The Squares, while highlights like "All My Friends Are Here" and "Big Distortion" prove his gift of devising lyrical guitar leads that resonate long after they’ve leapt from your speakers.
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 4.96 x 0.19 inches; 2.24 Ounces
- Manufacturer : Legacy Recordings
- Original Release Date : 2020
- Run time : 47 minutes
- Date First Available : February 6, 2020
- Label : Legacy Recordings
- ASIN : B084CRGYDD
- Country of Origin : USA
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
Reviewed in the United States on March 29, 2022
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At first I was not tuned into the mood of the CD and that has been the case with many new albums and is often the case with new Joe Satriani CD too. It takes time to become familiar with the songs and listen to a song for the songs sake and not for the musicianship ( which is a given when its Satriani and company) As a fan one might say, " he's back to playing a Marshalls again", or "so and so is on bass or drums...." Its easy to get lost in looking for technical flash bang and think, "wow did you hear that sweeping arpeggio played over 4 octaves?" Remember Joe Satriani IS one of those guys BUT he writes and serves the songs on this CD as with all his music. It's his music over his playing and that is what makes the songs get stuck in your head. Melody is king and Joe's special guitar tone sings those melodies right into your spirit. Kenny Aronoff's heavy hitting rock drumming style propels each song with authority and again, being the musician he is along with Satch, serves the song with no bloated showmanship. There are also stylistically different pieces on this CD; they range from driving rhythm and Satriani-esque guitar gymnastics to an acoustic offering , a reggae song and a country flavored outing as well. This CD is not a one trick pony listening experience.
Is this his best CD? It could be if it becomes your favorite, but there are so many Satrinai classics that are hard to beat. I read some posts talking about mastering quality being off but I have not detected that on my CD. While I listen in the car, it is on a higher end player but still its in a a car is not in a studio listening on monitors ( which I do have) I'll have to check that out.
If you are a Joe Satriani fan it's a given that you would want to check this out. If you are an instrumental rock music fan and like songs rather than epic compositions, you might like this too. In the end, its about the music. It's the songs that stay with you. Enjoy.
Over time some of Joe Satriani albums, for me, seem to last longer, keeping my interest, this appears to be one of those. I have pretty much all of JS, except for the large boxset collection and some rarities. This CD is in the more masterful music category, like Super Colossal, Crystal Planet, What happens next, Surfing with the Alien, (and the self titled Joe Satriani, which is the source of all of Joe's powers).
I like all of Joe Satriani's music but somehow found myself gravitating towards certain albums much more. This is one of those. Enjoyed Unstoppable Momentum, but don't listed to it too much some how, it was a on the very cheerful upbeat side. Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards was a bit darker and lonely in comparison, probably fewer guitar tracks layered.
Once I start listening to Shapeshifting, it is hard to hit the Stop button. My wife, who listened to Taylor Swift and Gaga and what not, asked me in the car, "that is very nice music, what is that?" it was "Yesterday's Yesterday".
Anyway, here this is my silly review, I hope it is helpful.
Standout tracks are "Perfect Dust", "Nineteen Eighty", "Falling Stars" and "Spirits, Ghosts and Outlaws", but I find at least something to like about every song on here.
There are a few issues that set this release back. First, the running order of the tracks doesn't work for me. "Nineteen Eighty" is the most high energy song and the obvious choice for opener, yet it's buried in the middle of the album. Overall, I think having too many of the more up-tempo tracks fall into the second half causes the album to get off to a sluggish start. I rearranged the order into my own playlist which I think works MUCH better (see below).
Second, there is a bit too much compression in the mix. Joe gets a great groove going with Kenny Aronoff on many tracks, but the production unfortunately cuts out a lot of that wonderful space between the musicians.
Finally, some of the arrangements are maybe a bit simple and uninspiring by previous Satriani standards and the overuse of hand claps in particular causes a few to stray into cheese territory (think "Crowd Chant").
Despite the nitpicks, I would totally recommend this cd to any Satch fan. His tone is as beautiful as ever and his solos are sharp and on point. It's about time he recorded with Aronoff, undoubtedly one of rock's best drummers.
Here's how I would've sequenced the album though, which makes a big difference in enjoyment for me.
1. Nineteen Eighty
2. Spirits, Ghosts and Outlaws
3. Big Distortion
4. Falling Stars
5. Perfect Dust
7. All For Love
8. All My Friends Are Here
9. Ali Farka, Dick Dale, An Alien and Me
11. Here The Blue River
12. Yesterday's Yesterday
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Still it's not terrible but you'll see what I mean.
This CD has some lovely melodies on it and is very "accessible". If you are looking for the pyromaniac playing of Satriani from his youth, you will not find it here. You will instead find his hummable melodies.
However, I am sad to say that the mix on the album is very disappointing. The bass is a quiet muddy affair (sounds more like McCartney's "Memory Almost Full" due to the extreme amounts of compression on it) and sometimes completely disappears, as the drums take over and cause a serious amount of ducking and pumping. Satriani's beautiful melodies get lost when the bass drum or snare appear. The snare drum is the loudest thing on earth (even worse than Schenker's "Written In The Sand"; it's almost like a drum album with a guitar backing), and the album is riddled with crackle from start to finish.
I think this is Jim Scott's role (eg. RCHP Californication was mixed by him, one of the crackliest albums ever mixed) instead of the mastering, since the same artefacts do not occur on Cuniberti's other recent master on Paul Gilbert's album.
You won't be able to listen to even half the album because your ears will shut down. I truly hope they release a re-mixed version that isn't as butchered as this (no offence intended to whoever reads this).
I am not a fan of the last song as it starts with whistling and sounds like the music you'd get on a Homebase advert, but everything else is enjoyable if not a bit short, and crackley.
Headed over to amazon and had a quick nosey at the reviews which mostly said they were not that impressed with the album. I thought I would try it anyway. Downloaded the free mp3 version and have to say, bar a couple of tracks , 1980 being one of them , the album is pretty forgetful I'm not itching to listen to it like I was with live in Paris.
Oh well, they can't all be great, sorry Joe !