Hear Joe Satriani go Gilmour on progressive new song Faceless

Joe Satriani
(Image credit: Rick Kern / Getty)

Joe Satriani has debuted Faceless, the second single taken from upcoming album The Elephants Of Mars.

Faceless is a spacious, emotive instrumental that feels like it has a little Pink Floyd in its DNA. Although Satriani‘s tones have a slightly more abrasive edge compared with Gilmour’s cut-glass sound, Faceless brings to mind the progressive icons in its meditative pace and the way it craftily evolves over its near-five-minute runtime. It’s a significant gear shift from the funky and frenetic fretwork of first single Sahara.

“It's about when the person you want to see you for who you really are, doesn’t seem to recognize you,” says Satriani of Faceless

“It’s also a comment on a society where people are truly knowing each other less and less, being separated by their differences rather than being united for their shared hopes and dreams. The solo section represents one’s true self finally breaking free.”

It’s another ambitious line in the sand for Satriani. The virtuoso has reportedly challenged himself to overhaul some of the tropes of the guitar instrumental on The Elephants Of Mars, telling fans, “I want to show people that an instrumental guitar album can contain far more creative and entertaining elements than I think people are using right now.”

Whether it’s the challenge, a new palette of sci-fi inspirations or the unusual global, remote recording process (thanks to a band split by lockdown), the guitarist does seem to have tapped into new territory across these first two singles. On Faceless, in particular, it feels as if he is doing more, with less...

If you like what you hear, you can pre-order and pre-save The Elephants Of Mars.

Earlier this week, Satriani said young Instagram guitarists "play so much better than I could ever play in terms of speed, dexterity and complexity".

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.