Joe Satriani – Surfing With the Alien (1987/2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Joe Satriani – Surfing With the Alien (1987/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 00:37:41 minutes | 871 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks |  © Epic Records

Surfing with the Alien is Joe Satriani’s second album and one of his most successful albums to date. Originally released in 1987, it peaked at #29 on the Billboard 200 chart and stayed on the chart for 75 weeks. The album was nominated for Best Rock Instrumental Performance and Best Pop Instrumental Performance Grammy awards in 1989, and was certified platinum in February 1992, Satriani’s only release to do so. Remastered by John Cuniberti, analog mixes are 30ips 1/2″ tape, transferred and mastered to digital at 96/24.

Surfing with the Alien belongs to its era like Are You Experienced? belongs to its own — perhaps it doesn’t transcend its time the way the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s 1967 debut does, but Joe Satriani’s 1987 breakthrough can be seen as the gold standard for guitar playing of the mid- to late ’80s, an album that captures everything that was good about the glory days of shred. Certainly, Satriani was unique among his peers in that his playing was so fluid that his technical skills never seemed like showboating — something that was somewhat true of his 1986 debut, Not of This Earth, but on Surfing with the Alien he married this dexterity to a true sense of melodic songcraft, a gift that helped him be that rare thing: a guitar virtuoso who ordinary listeners enjoyed. Nowhere is this more true than on “Always with Me, Always with You,” a genuine ballad — not beefed up with muscular power chords but rather sighing gently with its melody — but this knack was also evident on the ZZ Top homage “Satch Boogie” and the title track itself, both of which turned into rock radio hits. This melodic facility, plus his fondness for a good old-fashioned three-chord rock, separated Satriani from his shredding peers in 1987, many of whom were quite literally his students. But he was no throwback: he equaled his former students Steve Vai and Kirk Hammett in sweep picking and fretboard acrobatics and he had a sparkling, spacy quality to some of his songs — particularly the closing stretch of the Middle Eastern-flavored “Lords of Karma,” the twinkling “Midnight,” and “Echo” — that was thoroughly modern for 1987. The production of Surfing with the Alien is also thoroughly of its year — stiff drumbeats, sparkling productions — so much so that it can seem a bit like a relic from another era, but it’s fine that it doesn’t transcend its time: it captures the best of its era and is still impressive in that regard.

01 – Surfing with the Alien
02 – Ice 9
03 – Crushing Day
04 – Always with Me, Always with You
05 – Satch Boogie
06 – Hill of the Skull
07 – Circles
08 – Lords of Karma
09 – Midnight
10 – Echo

Remastering Notes by John Cuniberti:

When I was first told about this box set project, I suggested that we remaster the entire catalogue. I made this suggestion for two reasons.

First and most importantly, Joe’s albums were first digitized in 1987. While they were well done by the standards of the time, there have been vast improvements in digital audio since then. To achieve this goal, we started by searching through Sony’s tape vault in New York. Then, each original analog two-track tape was carefully transferred to high resolution digital using a Pacific Microsonics Model Two converter at 96k / 24bits. This produced outstanding sonic results that are closer in sound to the original mix tapes than on previous CDs. This process even reveals a few flaws, but if you have any of the original Joe Satriani CDs, you’ll appreciate the improvements in sound quality in this remastered box set.

The second reason for remastering was to provide more dynamic consistency between the albums themselves. Since the advent of the CD there has been a steady increase in their volume levels. This practice started with 7” vinyl records to gain more attention when played in jukeboxes. Unfortunately, the competition continues with CDs and in extreme cases, clipping and other audible distortion is introduced when too much digital processing (limiting) is applied during mastering. My approach to this box set was to use only the smallest amount of limiting to balance the perceived levels of each song presented. This approach produces a cleaner and more dynamic presentation of the entire catalogue. It also allows the listener to move freely between the older albums and the newer ones without the need to adjust their playback volume.

Turn it up and enjoy.

John Cuniberti