When you enter the world of music created by Uwe Gronau — a top German musician, singer and composer — be prepared for exploration, existentialism, imagination and dreamtime. His latest recording, Time Rider, invites the listener to explore their past and future life by surfing the waves of time with his music providing both the impetus and the soundtrack for the adventure.
The music, which ranges from mellow-beats to meditative, has been embraced by new age music lovers, but his blend of acoustic and electronic sounds also contains elements of jazz, pop, prog-rock, avant-garde, techno, trance, chill, ambient and space music. On Time Rider, Gronau — a pianist, synthesist and organist — includes a dozen instrumental tracks as well as eight vocal tunes.
“The more knowledge and experience the listener brings to the music,” explains Gronau, “the more they get out of it. A ‘Time Rider’ must have a deep understanding of the concept of time by knowing the scientific aspects, by having experienced time through meditation and contemplation, and by voluntarily day-dreaming himself into other eras and places. I have the feeling that it is essential these days to be clearly aware of the difference of ‘civilized time’ and ‘natural time.’ In the so-called civilized world, there is an increasingly-distorted notion of time where it is utilized as a pusher, an accelerator and a rare possession. But the natural character of time is where it is a river-bed for reality, a carrier of harmonies, and a healer from any kind of stress. With this music I wanted to make the point how limitless, complete and divine ‘time’ can be for us as a source of inspiration, imagination and relaxation.”
Time Rider is available worldwide online from CDbaby.com and Amazon.com, and from various digital download locations such as iTunes. For more about Gronau, you can visit his English-language website at myspace.com/uwegronaumusic or his German-language website at uwe-gronau.de. Also at these sites is information about Gronau’s previous recordings including his last CD, Midsummer, which was one of the most-played new age albums of 2011 and went to #3 on the monthly international Zone Music Reporter Top 100 airplay chart. Fans should note that Uwe Gronau’s name is pronounced ooo-vuh grow-now with the first syllable of his first name sounding like “you” without the y.
On Time Rider, Gronau rejects preconceived and restrictive ideas of a musical album’s makeup by combining instrumental and vocal tracks, and by including a solo piano piece and other quiet tunes alongside tracks with drum pulses or electric guitars. The eclectic mix of music builds anticipation for what comes next.
“Time Rider is a work which resembles the ups and downs of real life,” says Gronau. “It has waves of moods, like the cycle of seasons, for instance, in Carl Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’.” Orff (1895-1982) was a German composer who often wrote music to go with poetry, and his musical composition “Carmina Burana” was based on 13th-Century poetry found in a Benedictine monastery. Similarly, Gronau composes music to go with the poetry of two of his oldest friends, Michael Hoeing and Ursula Goldstein. On Time Rider, Hoeing wrote the lyrics to six songs and Goldstein contributed words to two others. “I have a very special relationship with Michael and Ursula. We have a deep soulful communication. Their words perfectly fit my thoughts and seasonal moods, and provide me with continuous poetic and artistic input that matches my ideas and further inspires my music.”
Gronau plays most of the instruments on the new recording: primarily piano and keyboard-synthesizer, but also occasional Hammond B-3 organ. He shares the drum-programming duties with his co-producer Clemens Paskert. Four special guests make appearances — Martin Brom (The Dickies, Idjit Savant) plays electric guitar on the vocal version of “Far In The East,” Wolfgang Demming (Sternberg) plays electric guitar on “Interlude”, Andy Kohlmann plays percussion on “Time Rider,” and Angelique Damschen adds vocals to three tunes.
The music on Time Rider focuses on piano, synth and organ, but “Talking Keys and Congas” adds a high-pitched rapidly-played drum, “Night Tune” has the sound of a flute, “Time Rider” includes a didgeridoo drone, and several tunes feature prominent bass parts. Also heard are the sound of a paddle in water on “Novel Scene,” bird squawks and chirps on “Caged,” and a telephone operator and cars and other weird sounds on “Time Is A Sound.”
Gronau has numerous previous CDs (primarily available in Europe). Some are mostly instrumental music — Midsummer, Seven Paintings, Sonnentempel, Nightwalker and Intuition. Others feature Uwe singing on many selections — Children, The Beauty of the Sea, Someday, Ciel, Time is a Sound and Full Moon Forest. Additionally Gronau has played on recordings by other artists including Luna Blanca, Angelique Damschen and Severine Okomo. Gronau also is an author who wrote the acclaimed novel Señor Morales, a fantasy journey through Europe searching for a special Spanish musical instrument. The printed novel led to an audio-book version with music and spoken passages by Gronau (additional speaking by Karin Schweitzer).
Born and raised in the Rhineland in northwest Germany, Uwe grew up in Dusseldorf and Bocholt (where he currently resides) which is only a couple of miles from the Dutch border. “In the ‘70s and ‘80s the Netherlands were more involved in the evolution of jazz, pop, rock and soul music than Germany, so I profited from this situation and was influenced by much great music.” Uwe began playing piano at age six and grew up immersed in music as the son of a choir-leader, orchestra-conductor, music school-teacher and piano instructor.
In his early years Uwe studied classical music, but soon became passionate about jazz and rock artists such as Brian Auger, Keith Emerson, Patrick Moraz and Refugee, and Joe Zawinul and Weather Report. As Gronau got older, his musical tastes expanded to include Supertramp, Jethro Tull, Gilbert ‘O Sullivan, Keith Jarrett, Sting, Peter Gabriel and Dream Theater. When Uwe was 14 he began to play in a series of bands and built a reputation in the area for his musicianship and professionalism. One thing that always set Gronau apart from many other musicians is that from the beginning and continuing to today, Gronau has always played original material and has never covered compositions from others. In college, Gronau majored in music, German and theater-science.
Gronau’s band Sternberg recorded two albums, performed concerts frequently, won a regional music contest, was broadcast on Germany’s main radio channel (WDR), and also won a film music award (for the soundtrack of “Don’t Destroy the Rainbow Above Us”) at the International Santander Film Festival in Spain. One of Gronau’s current lyricists, Michael Hoeing, also was a member of Sternberg. Gronau’s next group was the synth-pop trio Fabrique. They performed the music for the German science-fiction TV-series “Orion Space Patrol,” made recordings and videos, appeared on TV shows, and wrote the song “Secret Land” which became a Top 10 global hit for the singer Sandra. Gronau moved on to the funky rock band Pont Neuf and recorded two albums before going solo.
Gronau states, “As an artist, for every musical poem conceived, I must dive deep into myself. Time Rider is a collection of musical short stories which creatively explores aspects of time-riding. It is all about moving your consciousness to another time. Obviously we sometimes do this with books, films and travel to certain places like the pyramids or ancient cathedrals. But music also is an ideal method for shifting time consciousness. While everything we are and everything we do is happening in the present ‘now,’ nothing can stop our consciousness, our mind, from taking a time-ride to the past with memories and to the future with imagination. Take a listen and come along for the ride.”
Please click here for Uwe’s website
Randall Davis & Ruthe Forbriger, publicists & radio promoters, THE CREATIVE SERVICE COMPANY, 719-548-9872, CreatServ9@aol.com, myspace.com/creativeservicecompany