Last time out, Uwe Gronau was more firmly placed in a classically prog oriented release, Midsummer (here), whereas this time, he's managed to bridge jazzier elements with progressive strains informed by a psychedelic rock element and firm 70s eclectics—Novel Scene, for instance, featuring a very hip guitar patch before rolling into Night Tune, an evening's starfield composed of electronica, a mellowly flowing piano line, and grandeuresque synth. I mentioned Gandalf in the previous review, but there are also very marked strains of Pete Bardens, Mickey Simmonds, and Michael Hoenig (not to be mistaken for the Michael Hoeing who wrote lyrics for this release). The song is sheer pleasure.
Ignore the clunky cover picturing a kite-flying Elizabethan or Colonial scientist juxtaposed beside the Starship Enterprise, 'cause it doesn't do justice to this compendium. Gronau sings on a number of songs, and his voice is vaguely Andy Latimer-ish (Camel). The variety of centrally-based modes in Time Rider kinda reminded me of some of those cool but obscure old Dave Stewart (the Egg keyboardist, not the Euryhthmics gent) Ryko CDs by way of the kind of upper level Sky label materials—an imprint not always trustworthy but, when it was, yow!, as here. Gronau often favors a Vangelis lead voice on the keys, and one can hardly get enough of that, while his arrangement sense is along Pappathanissiou's line of temperament as well, Jardin Extraordinaire carrying a Soil Festivities air.
Time Rider fits well in that small corner of the prog world where one would place such artists as keyboardist Verity and a raft of largely unknown composer-players of former decades who crafted what I would call 'damn pleasant progmusik' tempering the too often syrupy New Age movement back into an intelligent context Romantic, Impressionistic, and Pastiche simultaneously. This disc is extremely efficacious as a sleep aid, drifting off to oft Arcadian visions but also quite diverting and engrossing wakefully.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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