Magazine article Guitar Player

Production Strategies: Joe Satriani's Joy of Letting Go

Magazine article Guitar Player

Production Strategies: Joe Satriani's Joy of Letting Go

Article excerpt

Joe Satriani typically approaches his recorded works like an electrified, 18th-century composer--painstakingly crafting melodies and countermelodies, formulating and revising arrangements, continuously tweaking guitar tones, and moving timbral doodads around in space and time to build an impassioned and evocative soundscape. And, of course, every single element must be precisely "right," as that term is defined by Satriani's creative muse and policed by his ears. But as he plays iTunes versions of his as-yet-untitled new album in his modest (but well equipped) home studio, Satriani's exhilaration and tranquil smiles betray a slightly less obsessive fixation over his latest compositions.

"When I was thinking about writing the new album, I started coming back to all this psychedelic-era music that I loved," he explains. "I even assembled an iTunes folder full of songs such as Donovan's 'Hurdy Gurdy Man' as a reference tool. But the plan was never to consciously evoke psychedelic guitar tones or production techniques or song forms, because what attracted me most to those songs was their extremely strong vibes. If something added to the mood, they kept it--even if it was recorded poorly or if the performance had some quirks or outright mistakes. So my listening was more to remind me that everything doesn't have to be perfect. I was teaching myself that if a part works--or if it possesses a special atmosphere--then you go with it. You don't 'fix it' or 'do it better' later, because that ruins it."

Lest GP readers think Satriani has turned himself into a garage band, rest assured that the new album is beautifully recorded, and it's full of the guitarist's dazzling technique. …

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