Visions is Uwe Gronau's latest disc and the third in a trilogy released internationally (reviews for the other two can be read here and here). Previous to these three prog oriented discs and to the solo works preceding them, he'd brought together the bands Sternberg and Fabrique, then joined Pont Neuf, there writing the Top 10 global hit Secret Land for singer Sandra. His work has also accompanied European TV shows and films and won awards, the guy sat in with Luna Blanca and Angelique Damschen, and he even wrote a well received novel, a fantasy tour of Europe, Senior Morales, that was put into an audio version and narrated by Gronau himself…of course with music. Visions is kind of like an extension of Morales, a visit to the city of Paris, one of Uwe's favorite locales, in sound entablatures.
Eschewing former amateurish efforts, Jolanta Krym provided an atmospheric grey-toned watercolor, ink, pencil, and photo mixed-media piece heralding her entry into professional ranks, a striking contrast to the covers for Time-Rider and Midsummer and the perfect eventide visual accompaniment to what oft informs the music's timbre. Gronau of course plays all the keyboards but guests Pete Sayer on guitar, who provides a simple but dead-on set of lines in Under the Pont Neuf, and then Matthias Kreidel with his fat, mellow, golden sax sound in Through the Backyard Window. I could swear that's also a guitar in the majestically phantasmagoric A Passion Play…which contains elements of Refugee, Procol Harum, and perhaps even Quatermass—but, according to the notes, it isn't. This means Gronau's adopted a Jan Hammeresque approach, circa that esteemed gent's contributions to Billy Cobham's Spectrum. It's been a while since this has been attempted and carried off so well.
The follower, Confirming the Question, harks back to a cross section twixt Vangelis' work on Soil Festivities and Blade Runner, and, all through the generously lengthy Visions (over 70 minutes!), the listener discovers a lush and inventive conflation of the best of the New Age movement blent with savvy progrock antecedents resting within a vibe that's decidedly European, flow lines reaching into the best of the old IC and Musea labels. Nor is the classical element absent, frequently reflecting Chopin, who the French still adore, and sometimes a little Satie and Haydn, a bit of Rachmaninoff as well. Despite the catalogue already behind him, Visions is stark proof that Uwe Gronau is ever maturing, always breaking new ground, and this is far from the last we'll hear from him.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles