Joe Satriani announces new album, The Elephants of Mars, unveils expansive first single, Sahara

Joe Satriani
(Image credit: Eduardo Peña Dolhun)

Joe Satriani has debuted a new song, Sahara – the first single to be taken from his forthcoming album Elephants of Mars.

The full album – Satriani’s 19th – is due for release on April 8 via earMUSIC and, like many artists’ recent efforts, it’s a pandemic baby – conceived and recorded remotely as the guitarist and his band waited out the storm in various locations. 

Beyond those constraints, or perhaps because of them, it seems Satriani wanted to do something more ambitious with Elephants of Mars, using his time off the road to create a wide-ranging set of songs that pulls in a rich variety of influences.

The first single, Sahara, certainly fits that bill. It incorporates hints of the sub-Saharan styles found on 2020’s Shapeshifters track Ali Farka, Dick Dale, An Alien And Me with meaty rock rhythms and, at one point, a cut-glass lead tone that’s straight out of David Gilmour’s gigbag. 

“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,” says Satriani.

“We did everything. We tried the craziest ideas. And we entertained every notion we had about turning something backwards, upside down, seeing what could happen.”

Given Satriani‘s recent fine art tour it also makes sense that he has seen fit to incorporate more of his visual artwork into Elephants. As such, there will be a limited run digipak CD release including seven cards of original artwork, plus a run of limited-edition coloured vinyl. 

Interestingly, Satriani will distribute one of these editions – a purple version of the vinyl – exclusively via Guitar Center. What can we say? He’s a man who clearly knows his audience…

Joe Satriani

(Image credit: Joe Satriani / earMusic)

The Elephants of Mars tracklist

  1. Sahara
  2. The Elephants of Mars
  3. Faceless
  4. Blue Foot Groovy
  5. Tension and Release
  6. Sailing the Seas of Ganymede
  7. Doors of Perception
  8. E 104th St NYC
  9. Pumpin’
  10. Dance of the Spores
  11. Night Scene
  12. Through a Mother’s Day Darkly
  13. 22 Memory Lane
  14. Desolation

Head to Joe Satriani’s official store (opens in new tab) to order your copy of The Elephants of Mars.

The album is one of two records produced by Satch during the pandemic – last year, the guitarist also teased a vocal-led release, which has yet to see the light of day.

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Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk (opens in new tab), which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.