German composer, musician, and performer Uwe Gronau’s latest album is a 2-CD set of delightful, upbeat music that’s perfect for any season, not just the one indicated by the title.
The first CD features synth-rock in the vein of Jan Hammer and Tangerine Dream, while the second disc is more comparable to the quieter, pastoral reveries of Vangelis, George Winston, and Jim Brickman. Regardless of the style or tempo of the music, Gronau maintains interest throughout with gorgeous melodies, hook-laden grooves, lush sonic textures, and kinetic percussion channeled through his piano, virus-synthesizer, organ, bass, and acoustic guitar, as well as his and producer Clemens Paskert’s drum programming.
Standout tracks include “Magic Forest” and “Left Hand” (both featuring crazy wicked guitar by the U.S.A.’s Martin Brom – I want to hear more from this guy!), “Gliding Flight” (which includes clean, tasteful fusion lines by German guitarist Wolfgang Demming), “Steps in the Snow” with its gossamer, Knight Rider-like mystique, and “Midsummer,” “Passage,” and “Rivers Bound to Sea,” which are the perfect blend of New Age and art rock.
Although Midsummer is primarily instrumental, perhaps the most effective and moving tune on the album is its only vocal song, “Silence.” Both the lyrics and Gronau’s voice evidence an earnestness, honesty, and humility that are instantly appealing and perfectly encapsulate the spirit of the album.
If you like the aforementioned artists, as well as independent musicians such as Michael Stribling, David Wahler, David Mauk, and Al Conti, Midsummer by Uwe Gronau will be at home in your collection and deserving of several very good listens.