Essential: A masterpiece of hard rock music.
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.
The Alien Abduction Phenomenon features Syndromeda, nee Danny Budts, doing what he does best. This densely atmospheric and heavily sequenced CD is another sci-fi soundscape with massive walls of sound and expansive passages of dark minimalism. Danny weaves a tale of space exploration and the unknown dangers therein. Deep listeners will take the journey as well, carried by the rhythm. The rhythm is either overt (sequenced) or self-generated (minimal). It is always there. A deep synth drone provides continuity for the thematic integrity as listeners explore the mystic worlds of abduction. The dark minimalism forebodes mystery and, perhaps, danger lurking in the shadows. This is an early in 2001’s top ten!