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Todd Rundgren - Initiation CD (album) cover


Todd Rundgren


Crossover Prog

3.89 | 87 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars No doubt this comes closest to UTOPIA in Rundgren's solo output. For some part it's one helluva prog album - and probably the longest single vinyl ever made? - but several things bring it down from glorious heights. Let's see track by track. 'Real Man' is an effective synth-heavy rocker. Not very proggy but OK. 'Born to Synthesize' is almost accapella and the vocals are synthetically treated; the song brings to mind some 80's hard rock acts (I'm not expert in that field but maybe stg like Whitesnake, Van Halen or Def Leppard?). I could imagine a cocky vocalist with long, curly, blond hair doing this sort of performance in a concert. 'Death of Rock and Roll' is noisy and ugly, makes me wish the title was true!

The three remaining songs on the first side are very good and also pretty proggy. The title track gives an amazing jazz-rock rollercoaster ride, not far from the best of Frank Zappa (e.g. One Size Fits All) but with much finer vocal work. Yes, I like Todd's voice, even though he sometimes uses it over-the-top. He sounds a lot like Daryl Hall (the "blue eyed soul" duo Hall & Oates). My favourite here is 'Fair Warning' which goes in a more relaxed tempo, and is very emotional. This album often sounds like it could have come out in the eighties; I'm not saying this negatively but I refer to the ultimate technical level of the production, and also to the bold, near-commercial feel in the music here and there. An album ahead of its time, sort of?

The 36-minute instrumental epic 'A Treatise on Cosmic Fire' is the crown jewel of the album - which also sinks it lower simultaneously. It has gorgeous sounds and it comes near to the same territory as Tangerine Dream's Force Majeure (1979), ie. excellent symphonic electronic prog rock. But it goes on and one far too long and totally loses the direction somewhere amidst the massive ending part, if not already earlier. The work then returns to 'Prana', the theme heard in the intro. If you enjoy fusion-tinged, modern sounding, Neo-ish prog and prefer Todd Rundgren's adventures in prog to his singer-songwriter stuff, check this one out!

Matti | 3/5 |


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