Strange Beautiful Music

June 25, 2002

Track List

  1. Oriental Melody
  2. Belly Dancer
  3. Starry Night
  4. Chords of Life
  5. Mind Storm
  6. Sleep Walk
  7. New Last Jam
  8. Mountain Song
  9. What Breaks A Heart
  10. Seven String
  11. Hill Groove
  12. The Journey
  13. The Traveler
  14. You Saved My Life
  15. The Eight Steps
  16. Slick


Produced by Joe Satriani
Co-produced by John Cuniberti & Eric Caudieux

Recording and engineering: John Cuniberti at The Plant, Sausalito, CA
Additional Recording: Joe Satriani and Studio21
Digital Editing: Eric Caudieux
Second Engineer and Digital Editing: Justin Phelps
Mix: John Cuniberti, Joe Satriani at The Plant
Mastering: Bernie Grundman
Tech Crew: Mike Manning, Michael Sandoval

  • Joe Satriani (guitar, banjo, bass, keyboards)
  • Jeff Campitelli (drums)
  • Matt Bissonette (bass)
  • Eric Caudieux (keyboards, programming)
  • John Cuniberti (percussion)

Special Guest Musicians:

  • Robert Fripp: Electric Guitar
  • Gregg Bissonette: Drums
  • Pia Vai: Harp

Art Direction and Design: Rex Ray
Photography: Jay Blakesberg
Additional Photography: Eric Caudieux
Direction: Mick Brigden / BGManagement


Album Review

This is not Satriani’s first attempt with this 11th discographic work. After Engines Of Creation that was oriented towards the electronic music, Strange Beautiful Music had been eagerly awaited by the crowd. Joe came back to the real drums and regular 4/4 songs, producing what his public was waiting for after the release of the incredible Live In Francisco.

At first sight, this record inspires a complete tranquility, seems like Joe wanted to came back to a calming, aetheric music. However, Strange Beautiful Music is a very rich CD considering the variety of styles. We have charming ballads like « Starry Night » or « You Saved My Life », or songs like « Journey » that reminds the utilisation of harmonics in «  Not Of This Earth », this album is impressive in the number of new rhythm and style approaches. We are going from arabic rhythm on « Oriental Melody » to a 60’s pop song on « Chords Of Life », even going through groovy jazz on « Hill Groove » and ska (!) on « What Breaks A Heart ». Only Jeff Beck would do that as good as Joe.

Strange Beautiful Music is miles away from the 80’s guitar-hero, the music is more even more intimate, and tries for the first time to use a seven-string guitar and makes heavy rhythm parts in « Seven String » where he’s playing a solo that will intimidate every neo-classic player. Same thing for « Mind Storm » who reminds a bit Crystal Planet and Not Of This Earth in the solo and his strange sonorities, sweepings and harmonics.

A special mention for « Belly Dancer » and his rock groove, his melody innovations and the realisation of the song that justifies the title of the album: sometimes strange, usually beautiful, and what an album! We can relate the Pia Vai (Steve’s wife) participation on a song and Robert Fripp (the famous guitar player of King Crimson) on « Sleep Walk », an old song from Santo and Johnny (1959), that sounds Hawaian with it’s bottleneck parts. Once again, Joe Satriani shows his talents in composition, and this album is today one of the best he realeased.