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
On the music Steen comments, “I have
worked a lot as a studio musician, which
means that in most cases I haven’t really
been in charge. My goal with making this
record was to try to free my mind and just
compose the things that came to my mind
without worrying about if it was saleable or
listenable. In most other relationships I
have composed together with other people and
there is a lot of advantages by doing that
but there are some too by sometime composing
alone and I really like both. This is one of
the few projects I have been involved in,
where I decided to compose and arrange the
entire thing alone. It was very hard to find
a bass-player that dared to test his skills
with some of the weird poly-rhythms. After
3-4 phone-calls with “uhhh....no..well...
thats.... not really my style...’s” I
finally called Nikolaj Storr who said ”no
problem - I’m used to that kind of music!”.
Vision Goggles in Steen's own words..
Timber: this song was actually one of the
last ones I composed. I was listening a
bit to a Greg Howe tune called Jump start
on the record ”introspection”,
and you can maybe call it a weird paraphrase
on that tune (before it got loose!). I call
it timber because the stabs in the intro
reminded me of a tree falling.
The Worm: the composition of this tune is
rather not-ostinate-like. One of the reasons
is that it is composed and arranged completely
without an instrument. It is actually ”written”(with
small bars) directly into the key-editor
of Cubase. It was one of the first songs
I composed and at that time I didn’t
have a midi-keyboard.
Playground: this track was a little yellow-jackets
inspired. It is a very simple melodic, very
soft and easy going. A fast composition,
it almost made it self.
Home planet: a melodic little space-pop
Run: when I composed this tune it was actually
meant to be a Satriani-like tune. I asked
a Danish R&B producer (named Ezi cut)
to mix it and the result is something-Joe-Satri-R&B-ani-like!
I don’t think I ever have heard that
before! (is that good or bad?). The solo
has at the beginning a conventional picking
sequence, next a long sweep-picking sequence
and after the B-part a long tapping sequence.
The sound you hear at the very end, is the
drumsticks that are being laid down on the
Bye: ohh haven’t we all tried that?,
Can’t fall a sleep because of a heartache.
A different version of an internationally
famous song, in Danish called ”Mester
Jacob”, nobody knows who composed
it, so I guess there’s no copyright
on that one!! (he-he).
Secret lab is like the brother for track
02 The Worm (Same-story).
My Butterfly: a nice and calm 8-finger tapping
Still Here: Josef is singing the intro while
he is slapping his leather pans in a very
Round and around: The bass is making a melody
and baseline at the same time, which is
typical of some west-African kinds of music.
The voice in the beginning saying ”one
two” is a Macintosh speaking (I think
it is Fred?). The flour-tam has been replaced
with a big-drum standing on its diagonal;
Which explains the grotesque flour-tam sound. Nikolaj is making a nice bass-solo.
What Mango?: if you love dancing to a sexy
Mambo-tune you’re probably gonna hate
this track. You will soon find out that
it is the Mambo from hell. It goes originally
in 7, but no one has apparently told the
guitarist! It is a song that plays a lot
around with poly-rhythms. Lars Ringgaard
is playing a nice blues-harp-solo, on this
Find the pick: This is a “slap-tune”
on a Spanish guitar. It is actually recorded
with 6-microfones, but we didn’t really
pay much attention to that in the mix. During
the slap, I’m holding a pick in my
right hand all the time (just a habit) and
when it suddenly slips out of my hand, you
can hear almost exactly where it lands because
of the overkill number of microphones.
Question: why does the synth-themes/solos
on NVG have such weird melodies?
Answer: All of the background keyboards
is programmed in Cubase, but all of the
synthesizer solo’s/themes is played
live on the guitar-synthesizer and recorded
directly onto the 16-track Tascam why they
can sometimes sound a little bit out of
that I have also tuned the guitar-synthesizer
in a totally different way. It is tuned
with a fifth between each string like a
Cello. So the tuning(from the low string)
will be: E, H, F#, C#, G#, D#. That gives
me almost an extra octave on the guitar
(a sharp 7 to be precise), but of course
the scales are different(stretchy –
stretchy!). The hard work of learning totally
different scales for the guitar- synthesizer,
pays of in fore an example in the pentatonic
benefits; it is easier to make fast pentatonic
sequences or even pentatonic sweep-picking.
» A very fresh sounding guitar instrumental
with lush melodies and great ambience.
» An appealing release for vintage
and modern guitar enthusiasts.
» Reviews in all relevant printed
media and webzines.