FAME Review: Uwe Gronau - Midsummer
 
Uwe Gronau - Midsummer

Midsummer

Uwe Gronau

Available from Amazon.com.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

In a 2-CD set of keyboard dominated songs, 35 in all, German composer Uwe Gronau displays a variety of progressive and New Age-centered wrinkles and extrapolations ranging all the way from Santana and Vangelis to Tim Story and George Winston, occasionally Steven Halperny. The first disc is a good deal more rhythmic, the second commencing as a processional of piano-centered sonatas that slowly ramps up to languidly dreamy ambience and atmospherics. Though Gronau is quite the fan of a bevy of estimables—Zawinul, Auger, Jarrett, Moraz, etc.—his own voice resides much more in pastures frequented by the old Sky label (krautische, y'all) , Knox Bronson (here), Gandalf, and others.

The recordings here are pristine, everything mapped with crystal perfection and careful attention to timbre, offering spacious vistas clearly delineated. At times, a churning velocity is achieved, as in Left Hand, where Martin Brom sits in, laying down a burning guitar solo a la Carlos Santana by way of Paul Speer. The follower, Gliding Flight, contrasts that in a smoothly flowing light jazz number with Gronau wielding an acoustic guitar and bass, Wolfgang Demming floating an electric axe above, very soothing and intelligently layered. Throughout, Gronau and his synths exemplify what Klaus Schulze started doing with the Innovative Communications label back in the 80s—especially in Dancing Fantasy and other more commercialized works—but Uwe interpolates a plateau of feeling from the old German school, far more Froese or Franke than Von Deyen, though his Froese comes by way of John Serrie.

The inspiration for this double-set derives in Wittgenstein, one of the globe's great philosophers and a cat who valued the transcendent elements emerging from language and thought, although, frankly, I get more the Schopenhauer vibe throughout, as ol' Artie was ever the aesthete first and last. The second disc demonstrates itself more in line with formalist thought and classicalist milieus, a set of tracks with broader sympathies first in Chopin and Handel running up to the aforementioned Tim Story and modern chamber New Age. Soon enough, though, it veers back into the atmospheres progrock generated in creating the New Age vernacular itself, pastorales spacey and terrene billowing with late afternoon vistas, positivist tableaus, and pleasantly moody pensees.

Track List:

Disc 1Disc 2
  • Steps in the Snow
  • Magic Forest
  • Into Clouds
  • Secret Meeting 1
  • Message
  • Poems like Islands
  • Royal Road
  • Thought
  • Watching the Sound
  • Dreamt of You
  • Evening Sky
  • Secret Meeting 2
  • It Happens
  • Silence
  • Faraway Countries
  • Left Hand
  • Gliding Flight
  • Coming Home
  • Storm Lantern
  • Big Sky Horizon
  • You Know
  • Childhood
  • Midsummer
  • Little Luck
  • Passage
  • Rivers Bound to Sea
  • The Messenger
  • Thinking
  • Dream Bridge
  • Garden of March
  • Snowy Wood
  • Heaven of Falling Stars
  • By the Fireside
  • Roxy
  • Brave Heart
All songs written by Uwe Gronau.

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

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Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 
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