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.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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