Night Vision Goggles by Steen Grontved is a very professional sounding recording. Labeled Jazz/Fusion/Rock it goes much deeper than that, covering many different styles in the instrumental guitarist canon. This talented guitarist has assembled a collection of songs that sure to please anyone looking for variety. Much of it is real upbeat and jazzy, yet there is always a bit of difference if you’re looking for it.
The use of guitar synthesizers and his intelligent compositions are very appealing to those of us weened on a diet of past progressive rock guitar giants like Hackett or Howe on their solo recordings. I believe that this could have been a direction that the band GTR might have gone in if their aim was not so commercial in the 80’s and produced a fully instrumental jazz influenced album.
Some of the more interesting cuts include “The Worm,” aptly named for the way it curls around and twists and turns. “Playground” has a shuffling Caribbean feel and some excellent synth solos. “Home Planet” is unexpected and ventures into the Satriani school of rock. I liked “My Butterfly” and its Hackett/Howe-inspired finger picking. “Round and Around” impresses this listener as an Ozric Tentacles style song, its repeating sequenced synthesizer moving round and around. Hey, that’s the title. Clever. The CD closes with the solo acoustic playing a fast paced, very pleasant piece. A kinda bluesy-flamenco thing, like Ant Phillips on amphetamines.
Night Vision Goggles has some strong material on it, but is not quite consistent enough for me to give it an unqualified recommendation. It is varied enough to hold interest however, and the guitar synthesizer used has a charming and warm resonant quality. If you enjoy guitar instrumental fusion and progressive rock, this is a nice blend.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on February 19th, 2008