An idea that has been tried unsuccessfully for nearly two decades - combining jazz with techno. It would seem to work on paper, particularly for solo virtuosos like Satriani, who could make a magnificient song with nothing but a guitar and a metronome. "Engines of Creation" is his trial at this fusion, or perhaps his first experimental forays into it. Sometimes, it succeeds, as with "Devil's Slide," "Until We Say Goodbye" and the whimsically-titled "Borg Sex."
Continually, however, it becomes evident that something is missing - this music is merely a pleasant replacement for something that once demanded awe and respect. There are hints at brilliance, such as the excellently executed transition from fast-paced electro to a chill hip-hop interlude midway through "Attack." But equally often, there are moments of astonishing banality - an element that should not be a part of the work of one of America's greatest guitar luminaries.
I can't help but think, however, that the weak link here is the amateurish techno programming. Joe's guitar is as strong as ever, but the entire effort would have been much more satisfying if he had chosen to collaborate with Autechre or DJ Shadow - i.e. someone who remotely approaches his level of accomplishment at their respective instrument. Until Satriani finds such a thing, his techno fusion will probably never be as transcendent as his past work.