Grøntved, Steen CD's and DVD's

Night Vision

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Danish guitarist Steen Grøntved is a veteran of the session music scene having appeared on countless releases over the last few years (within Denmark mostly) across many genres.  Steen makes his debut onto the instrumental guitar platform with the fusion/jazz/rock rich ‘Night Vision Goggles’.  The album is home to 12 tracks that travel through a myriad of tonalities and cultural expressions with an end product that is very accessible and possesses strong melodic content.


STEEN GRONTVED - Night Vision Goggles
Lion Music

Metal Express Rating: 9.5/10

Release Date: 2007-04-23


Lion Music Chalk one up; make that another one for Lion Music. They signed this Danish guitar virtuoso before you could say ready, set … go. Lion Music must employ some highly skilled and motivated people who can not only spot or find talent when they see it, but also sign them before someone else can scoop them up.

So who is this guitar virtuoso? His name is Steen Grontved. He is a well known commodity over in Denmark, recognized as an incredible session guitarist. He has been on countless releases in the past; however none have ever been his ... until now. Listening to his debut release, one can’t help but wonder why he has waited so long to let the world in on his own creative work?

The new release, entitled Night Vision Goggles, covers several genres. This eclectic mix is a blend of the Rock/Jazz/Fusion genres. Their are twelve tracks taking up 39 minutes. The musicians involved are Steen Grontved (guitar, guitar synthesizers, arrangement/compositions, keyboard programming), Josef Aarskov (drums, vocals on “Still Here”), Nikolaj Storr (bass), Kim Adrian (percussion), and Lars Ringgaard (Blues harp on “What Mango”). Listening from beginning to end seems like a flash, the whole time you'll be eagerly waiting to hear what’s next. The variety is random and abundant, making it a very different type of listen, but thoroughly enjoyable.

The opening track, “Timber,” throws you for a second or two. There are four variations of genre in the matter of less than a minute. It opens with what almost sounds like a Live Rock guitar sound, quickly changing to Jazz/Fusion beat, back to the Live Rock guitar sound, back to Jazz/Fusion, then just Jazz guitar. You get the picture.

The second track, “The Worm,” is composed and arranged completely without an instrument. It was actually written directly into the key-editor of Cubase (a digital studio). It is entirely synthesizer stuff with a 70’s sound to it.

“Playground” almost wrote itself according to Steen, and is very soft and easy-going with a simple melody behind it. A very nice Jazzy touch makes this a definite listen.

The fourth track, “Home Planet,” is more of a Spacey tune with some Pop added. It has a tight bassy beat with equally impressive percussion work.

“Run” is actually inspired by none other than Mr. Joe Satriani. The tune has a nice moving beat from beginning to end.

“Bye” is actually a different version of an internationally famous song in Danish called “Mester Jacob,” and since nobody seems to know who composed it, there is no copyright on it, much to Steen's pleasure.

“Secret Lab” is just a groovy little ditty that is Jazzy and a bit Bluesy at the same time. It is very catchy and addictive listen.

The eighth track, “My Butterfly,” is a special treat with some fantastic 8-fingered tapping. It was Eddie Van Halen that first introduced fans to this technique, further improvised on by Joe Satriani and others. Steen Grontved takes this unique skill to another level.

The ninth track, “Still Here,” catches you off-guard for a moment with its strange-sounding opening, but after that, a beautiful sounding guitar takes over for the remainder of the track. The guitar work is truly inspiring and this track is a must listen.

“Round and Round” is an added treat. In this track you have the bass setting the melody and baseline at the same time. This may be typical in some West-African types of music, but this album seems far from that. This is a very rare and unique style that one doesn’t hear too often. Nikolaj is just outstanding on this tune.

“What Mango?” has a South American beat to it right from the start. Well after all, it does have the word mango in the title, doesn’t it? Lars Ringgaard plays incredible Blues harp on this one. This track takes polyrhythms to the limit.

The last track on the album is “Find The Pick.” Another tune that is quite different. Steen plays a slap-tune on a Spanish guitar while holding the pick in his right hand that he actually drops while recording. The song was recorded using 6 microphones.

Overall, this is an outstanding piece of work with some extraordinary guitar playing. It's extremely enjoyable to listen to from start to finish with not one bad song among the bunch. Steen was noted to say that making this record was to try to free his mind without worrying about if it was saleable or listenable. The truth be told, he doesn’t have to worry about that at all.

To learn more about this incredible talent, try Steen's Web site (via label).

Steen Grontved - Night Vision Goggles (Lion Music) By: Joe Florez
Lion Music has snapped up this Danish guitar virtuoso who, like everyone else, has a solo record that he wants the world to hear. Basically, he’s a session musician who has performed with other folks on his home turf. Since he had no control of what he would like to hear and play, he took it upon himself to release 12 instrumentals that are in the jazz/rock/fusion vein. I am at the point right now where I don’t want to hear anymore solo artists unless they have something unique to offer.
“Timber” opens up with a very upbeat and energetic riff that is spiraling out of control before quickly calming down and going for the mid tempo jazz route complete with nice percussion work. It bounces back and forth, but with each jazz interlude inserted, the composition is slightly different. The second time around offers a little bit of a funky beat and a rockin’ guitar solo that is electrifying. It’s smooth, sophisticated and pleasant. “The Worm” goes for that weird and funky vibe with the synths getting all goofy and adding a dated 70’s atmosphere, but it works on here. The thing that intrigues me about Steen is that he builds his songs up slowly. You may at first want to turn the song off after a minute or two, but if you stick around you get this highly combustible solo that’s kind of Satriani-ish and it’s great. He really knows how to hold your interest. “Playground” offers a more smooth jazz approach and is laced with lots of Latin like rhythms that moves along at a perfect pacing. Amazingly, Steen proves to be an interesting musician. He’s not limited to just one style of music. In fact, it’s dynamic, rich in sound and mature. Thank God he’s not trying to be the next great shredder. This is intelligent music for people who want to think outside the box. This isn’t metal music like most would hope and sometimes that’s a good thing. Hail to Lion Music for picking something worthwhile. Now, if we can just get back on track and discover new bands worthy of our ears.  

Grøntved, Steen – Night Vision Goggles

2007 Lion Music

Here’s something different, a shred record that is hard to categorize, but regardless of the musical approach that Grøntved takes within each track on Night Vision Goggles, his music is filled with experimentation, melody, & soundscapes that invigorate the sophisticated fretwork that is brought to the table. Having spent years as a session musician, this instrumental guitar record has its elements of Craig Chaquico relevant jazz ambiance, Satriani shredding, and Fripp-ian toyings; nevertheless it’s a personal album, no doubt about that.

The melodies flow throughout the record, eased back jazz fusion takes the cake on cuts such as “The Worm,” “Round and Around,” & the Latin infused “What Mango;” while clean guitar soundscapes like “Bye” & “My Butterfly” offer an eased back approach. He does add metallic crunch to the mix, the burn fest “Run” is an example of his full-on metal skills, however he tends lend the ‘crunch’ sound album on both the ballad “Still Here” & the jumpy “Home Planet,” so moves all over the place as far as his musical stance is concerned.

Night Vision Goggles is a fusion album that doesn’t go flat as you keep listening and the fact that Grøntved is able to mix up his melodic prowess is what keeps this record both interesting and intriguing.

Added: April 12th 2007
Reviewer: Tommy Hash

Steen Grontved - Night Vision Goggles

Lion Music

Rating - 7.8/10

Review Al Hay

Danish guitarist Steen Grontved is a veteran of the session music scene having appeared on countless releases over the last few years (within Denmark mostly) across many genres.” Night Vision Goggles” sees Steen making his debut onto the instrumental guitar platform and features twelve tracks that span the styles of fusion, rock and jazz.

When one mentions the words jazz and fusion a lot of guitarists and general music listeners often shy away as they often believe they” won’t get” the music. This release does have its “high brow” moments but overall as a whole the songs are really accessible and anybody who enjoys say Pat Metheny, George Benson, Larry Carlton, Toto in their fusion moments, John Schofield or Greg Howe will warm to this c.d.

Before describing the music I’ll quote what Steen has to say." I have worked a lot as a studio musician, which means that in most cases I haven’t been in charge. My goal with making this record was to try and free my mind and just compose the things that came to my mind without worrying about if it was saleable or listenable. This is one of the few projects I have been involved in, where I decided to compose and arrange the entire thing alone.”

The music on this release has some intricate rhythms and Steen says, “It was very hard to find a bass-player that dared to test his skills with some weird poly-rhythms. After three or four phone calls with ”uhhh…no. well…that’s…not really my style” I finally called Nikolaj Storr who said “no problem-I’m used to that kind of music!”

The opening track” Timber” starts in startling style with a gorgeous note pattern crossing the beats. It has a lovely sense of forward movement and is a real attention grabber. Steen gets funky in a Nile Rodgers way with his wah pedal before putting a superb rock solo over the top. Lovers of the music of Greg Howe will really go for this in a big way. At the three minute mark the song gathers pace and Steen fires off some great licks which are very reminiscent of Steve Vai. There is almost a sort of rock/fusion hoe down going on.

“The Worm” is a song, which was “written” (with small bars) directly onto the key-editor of Cubase with no instruments around. I have friends who regularly use digital studio’s to record on and also their computers. One such friend tells me that what Steen has achieved here is fabulous and the man must have the patience of a saint. At the nigh on three minute mark Steen gives us a solo which reminded me of the great Steve Lukather.

“Playground” has a hypnotic rhythm, which flits around like a breeze and allows Steen to go into mellow and melodic jazz mode. The song itself is straightforward and all about pretty melodies and the great George Benson came to mind as the track progressed.

“Home Planet” is a great melodic rocker with just the right amount of jazziness thrown in. Steen gives us some fabulous extended legato runs and also some tightly picked and right on the money phrases. This track has a great sense of freedom and joy and is perfect for driving to

“Run” is the albums rocker with its driving straight-ahead beat. I couldn’t put my finger on it but even after repeated listens this track just sounded a bit stiff and didn’t flow like the rest of the album. Steen's playing is of the highest quality and he plays with a bit of added fire but somehow it feels like the track is “tied down”. I can only think that it’s the slightly similar drumming throughout which just keeps the song in check.

“Bye” is an interpretation of a Danish song melody and it is a thing of pure melodic beauty. It’s short but oh so very sweet and is a fabulous solo arrangement.

“Secret Lab” has us in jazz-fusion territory and just gets better on each listen. The shifting harmonies and rhythms make this a track, which one may not get on the first listen but it eventually gets under the skin. It has some very original phrasing in the main guitar solo and it really keeps the listener on his or her toes, as one never knows just where the melodies are going to go next.

“My Butterfly” is another track of real beauty. It is all fuelled by a very pristine and delicate eight finger tapping technique. For many of us the first introduction to tapping was via Eddie Van Halen and then Joe Satriani on the track " Midnight”.”My Butterfly” has a lot in common with Joe Satriani's work but Steen takes things just that little bit further.

“Still Here” is a mid tempo song which moves along steadily. There is a lot of soloing going on which is kept back in the mix of the song and the tune itself didn’t quite grab me like the rest of the album tracks.

“Round And Round” brings to mind the African plains with its big expansive sound and takes the listener on a great journey.

“What Mango?” is a very cool track, which takes polyrhythm's to the limit. Steen’s guitar tone on this track is sweet and round with just the right amount of distortion and. Lars Ringgaard gives us a super blues harp solo.

The final track is “Find The Pick” which showcases a slap guitar technique on a traditional Spanish guitar. It’s an intriguing number, which did have me trying to visualise just what Steen was doing.

“Night Vision Goggles” is a very entertaining release from a player who one senses feels comfortable with many musical genres. It’s great to hear a player who delivers great melodic playing but also notes which just hover on the edge and take the listener to new territories. The nice thing about this release is that it will just get better on each play as it doesn’t give up all its surprises on the first listen. Steen shows on this outing that he has something for everyone.

Track Listing

The Worm
Home planet
Secret lab
My Butterfly
Still Here
Round and around
What Mango?
Find the pick

 Line Up

Steen Grøntved - Guitars
Josef Aarskov - Drums/Vocals/
Nikolaj Storr - Bass
Kim Adrian - Percussion