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TODD RUNDGREN

Crossover Prog • United States


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Todd Rundgren biography
Hailing from Upper Derby in Pennsylvania, Rundgren played in several bands in New Jersey and Philadelphia during the mid to late 60's including the blues based Woody's Truck Stop, before forming The Nazz, in 1967. Playing both guitar and bass, Rundgren unapologetically drew inspiration from UK bands such as The Move & The Yardbirds, and, in signing to SGC records, they released Nazz Nazz in 1969.

When the band split, Rundgren simultaneously went in to producing and engineering for Bearsville Records, while forming his own band 'Runt'; a vehicle for his own solo career, the eponymous debut for which he released in 1970, which included the Top 40 hit 'We Gotta Get You A Woman'. It was however his reputation for production which ironically gained momentum, engineering The Band & Jesse Winchester, before Badfinger's 'Straight Up' gave him the hit 'Baby Blue'.

This success enabled him to produce his own, critically acclaimed power pop-oriented double album, 'Something/ Anything?' in 1972, upon which he played every instrument. With the door to success opening to him, he spurned it with future releases, such as 1973's eclectic follow-up, A Wizard, A True Star, and 1974's more progressive Todd, which contained several lengthy, experimental instrumentals. Rundgren's music was at its most progressive with his band Utopia (a band consisting of three keyboard players), which released Todd Rundgren's Utopia and Initiation in 1974 & 75 respectively, and Another Live, which showcased the bands experimental synthesiser work, with epics mostly over 10 minutes long.

During this period, his music addressed cosmic themes, a reflection of his strong interest in far Eastern religion and philosophy. It is this period of Rundgren's solo work, running parallel with 'Utopia' which will be of most interest to the progressive rock fan, as his music not only displayed psychedelic rock influences, but also the avant-garde Jazz Fusion of artists such as Mahavishnu Orchestra and Frank Zappa. This was underlined by Rundgren's increasingly lavish, ambitious stage settings, which echoed the space-themed shows of acts like Funkedelic & Parliament.

Rundgren's 1976 album Faithful, saw him return to the rock/pop genre which has brought him some success in the early '70s, with a side of original songs, and a side of 60's covers, such as Good Vibrations. This continued with 1978's Hermit Of Mink Hollow, which produced the hit single, 'Can We Still Be friends' which wa...
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Very Best ofVery Best of
Rhino 1997
Audio CD$4.67
$1.95 (used)
The Complete Bearsville Albums Collection (13CD)The Complete Bearsville Albums Collection (13CD)
Box set
Bearsville 2016
Audio CD$38.85
$54.25 (used)
Something / Anything?Something / Anything?
Rhino 2008
Audio CD$15.31
$7.00 (used)
A Wizard, A True StarA Wizard, A True Star
Rhino Records / Bearsville 1990
Audio CD$7.42
$3.51 (used)
Hermit of Mink HollowHermit of Mink Hollow
Rhino 1990
Audio CD$7.21
$1.99 (used)
For Lack of Honest WorkFor Lack of Honest Work
Import
Imports 2016
Audio CD$13.45
$13.44 (used)
Box O'ToddBox O'Todd
Box set
Purple Pyramid 2016
Audio CD$27.49
$25.99 (used)
GlobalGlobal
Esoteric Antenna 2015
Audio CD$12.76
$10.91 (used)
FaithfulFaithful
Rhino / Bearsville 1990
Audio CD$7.41
$4.95 (used)
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Todd Rundgren No World Order Cassette Tape Rhino Records 1993 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3h 33m
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TODD RUNDGREN Back To The Bars 1978 BEARSVILLE DOUBLE ALBUM LIVE USD $18.00 Buy It Now 4h 20m
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11h
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JESSE WINCHESTER 1970 Stony Plain CD robbie robertson todd rundgren levon helm USD $16.48 Buy It Now 11h 20m
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(SHRINK) TODD RUNDGREN A CAPPELLA VINYL LP RECORD ALBUM (1985) USD $4.99 Buy It Now 11h 31m
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TODD RUNDGREN FAITHFUL ORIGINAL LP USD $85.99 Buy It Now 12h 57m
TODD RUNDGREN HERMIT OF MINK HOLLOW ORIGINAL LP USD $125.00 Buy It Now 12h 59m
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TODD RUNDGREN - INITIATION (DELUXE EDITION) CD NEW+ USD $21.37 Buy It Now 20h 47m
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TODD RUNDGREN - Something/Anything? CD JAPAN VICP-64203-4 NEW 2008 USD $57.29 Buy It Now 22h 44m
TODD RUNDGREN - Healing CD JAPAN VICP-70068 NEW 2009 USD $102.63 Buy It Now 22h 44m
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TODD RUNDGREN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

TODD RUNDGREN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.02 | 36 ratings
Runt
1970
2.30 | 39 ratings
Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren
1971
3.30 | 62 ratings
Something/Anything?
1972
4.00 | 82 ratings
A Wizard, a True Star
1973
4.06 | 65 ratings
Todd
1974
3.80 | 58 ratings
Initiation
1975
2.93 | 37 ratings
Faithful
1976
3.11 | 35 ratings
Hermit of Mink Hollow
1978
2.86 | 29 ratings
Healing
1981
2.02 | 30 ratings
The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect
1983
2.48 | 25 ratings
A Cappella
1985
3.06 | 24 ratings
Nearly Human
1989
2.53 | 22 ratings
2nd Wind
1991
1.64 | 21 ratings
No World Order
1993
2.94 | 12 ratings
No World Order, Lite
1994
2.18 | 13 ratings
The Individualist
1995
2.71 | 9 ratings
With a Twist
1997
2.33 | 3 ratings
Up Against It
1998
2.13 | 11 ratings
One Long Year
2000
3.17 | 22 ratings
Liars
2004
2.85 | 18 ratings
Arena
2008
2.75 | 4 ratings
Todd Rundgren's Johnson
2011
1.67 | 3 ratings
(re)Production
2011
2.29 | 12 ratings
State
2013
2.60 | 5 ratings
Global
2015
2.51 | 3 ratings
Runddans (with Emil Nikolaisen & Hans-Peter Lindstrom)
2015

TODD RUNDGREN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 16 ratings
Back to the Bars
1978

TODD RUNDGREN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

TODD RUNDGREN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.20 | 6 ratings
Anthology (1968 - 1985)
1989
3.08 | 5 ratings
The Very Best of Todd Rundgren
1997
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Best Of Todd Rundgren - Go Ahead. Ignore Me
1999
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Definitive Rock Collection
2006

TODD RUNDGREN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

TODD RUNDGREN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Wizard, a True Star by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.00 | 82 ratings

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A Wizard, a True Star
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Whilst I found the subsequent Todd Rundgren's Utopia to be hopelessly overblown, on A Wizard, a True Star Todd Rundgren indulges his prog instincts in a more adept manner. The first side is a suite of hyper-short snippets, tape experiment, pocket songs, and sheer musical delirium, which puts me in mind of the first side of Absolutely Free by the Mothers of Invention less in terms of its musical style (quintessentially 1970s prog-tinged USA art rock) and more in terms of its structure. The second side finds Todd blending prog and classic 1960s Motown numbers in a number of longer, more developed pieces,

If both sides were like side 2, this would seem like a natural evolution from Something/Anything?, but with side 1 in place it becomes a sonic revolution, and a well-realised and intriguing one at that.

 Runddans (with Emil Nikolaisen & Hans-Peter Lindstrom) by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 2015
2.51 | 3 ratings

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Runddans (with Emil Nikolaisen & Hans-Peter Lindstrom)
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

3 stars Trying out pants with Todd

The biggest curve ball of 2015 has got to be this baffling release. It is always interesting to hear old timers doing something new, fresh and above all completely original. Teaming up with guitarist and front man off Norwegian alternative rock band Serena-Maneesh, Emil Nikolaisen, and space disco pioneer Hans-Peter LindstrÝm, Todd seems to have gone for a modern and altogether different sonic route than what he's accustomed to.....which, of course, is quite true. What you effectively get here is something so strange and unique that it literally had me reaching for my spare ears. 'Runddans' is Donna Summer without the bass boom and danceable vibe - it's disco heading for the avantguarde - upbeat and elusive like a fox in a sauna.

The music is build around LindstrÝm and Nikolaisen's electronic programming and synth bleeps - evoking a fluffy and airy cotton candy universe on which Rundgren's evocative vocals weave in and out like voices on the wind or in a hazy dream. The whole thing feels highly unorthodox. When a melody or a rare groove occasionally seems to take shape it rather quickly fades away into the aforementioned swirling candy world......which makes it all the more surprising that you actually remember the returning vocal theme 'Put Your Arms Around Me' sung affectionately by the old master himself.

More than anything 'Runddans' feels like an experiment. An experiment from three musicians who all professionally dabble in the high art of mixing...on here though you feel as if you're sat in a room where three different albums are playing all at once - challenging every player involved to listen intently to his surroundings yet without ever losing the scope of his own vision...and how it stacks up with what's zooming out of his playmates.

This album is one long story where tracks, ethereal vocalisations, airy synths and disco sensibilities are forged together with the occasional rock and pop cameo. The music though never sounds normal....even when it incorporates those beautiful recurring vocal themes. It is far too shapeshifting and elusive for that. On the contrary 'Runddans' seems determined to bend and writhe styles of music that, to most people, are sacrilegious to alter or even play around with. Mostly because it takes away the easy digestible hook and groove of the disco movement and splices it together with a remarkable ebb and flow effect that will have most listeners pulling out their hair. The main thing to remember about music, especially with an album like this, is that it often is the journey that counts. 'Runddans' is a continuous search for a lost melody - a memory of an old grandiose disco production - only delivered over to the listener as a rather charming if not wholly fragmented piece of experimental music.

If you're sitting out there with a girlfriend who's both an old extra from Saturday Night Fever and a raving schizophrenic, then 'Runddans' is for you. I tried dancing to it once and ended up on the floor with my legs in the air doing these strange elliptical shaking motions. 'Wow' I said to myself 'this is what John Travolta looks like when he simultaneously is doing mescaline and trying on pants'. 3.5 stars.

 Runddans (with Emil Nikolaisen & Hans-Peter Lindstrom) by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 2015
2.51 | 3 ratings

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Runddans (with Emil Nikolaisen & Hans-Peter Lindstrom)
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

2 stars I need to post a couple of things before getting into the actual review of this album:

First: In the Boston area, Tufts University's WMFO was one of the area's best radio stations for prog fans in the 1980s and 1990s. I almost always had a radio on in my bedroom tuned to WMFO, even when sleeping. In the late 80s, I happened to get of the worst cases of influenza I have had in my life. I went to be with WMFO playing in the background. After a short amount of sleep, I awoke to the DJ doing what they called "free mixing". This was a process of cutting up a song and playing the bits back in whatever order the DJ felt like using, while running it all through various studio effects, usually echo and reverb, with whatever other toys were in the studio. In my experience, this has never made for good listening. In this case, it was like a nightmare. I was too sick to get out of bed, and had to listen to this awful, repetitive mush of sound for the entire length of the perpetrator's on-air shift. To this day, I still cannot tolerate the Romantic's "Talking In Your Sleep".

Second: In 1993, Todd Rundgren tried to rebrand himself as "TR-i" (the "i" being for "interactive"). Into computers since the early days of music videos, he fashioned a TR-i web site, and released "No World Order", an attempt at electronic/hip-hop that mostly fell flat. He also toured the album in a small setup that placed him in the center of a bunch of keyboards, pads and devices, that allowed the audience to interact, that is to add their own sounds to Todd's music. I saw this at Boston's Cyclorama, a round cement room with absolutely no sound dampening. The result was an unlistenable barrage of noise, and one of the worst concerts I have ever been to.

So, this album by Todd and his Norwegian friends, Emil Nikolaisen and Hans-Peter Lindstrom, starts out promising. The first track has shades of "A Treatise on Cosmic Fire" from the 1975 album Initiation. The tracks then run together in a continuous stream, much like the "No World Order" album. But after the opening, and a couple of spacy but interesting pieces, the majority of this album becomes a mess of free mixing of what may be a song called "Put Your Arms Around Me" (the track by that name is just part of this).

There are a few lyrics ("Put your arms around me", "Going out of my head", and other short bits), but a complete song is never quite attained. Instead, as in free mixing, little pieces of the song are blended with other sounds and distorted by a variety of digital effects. I cannot deny that some of the parts of this are very good, but the majority remind me of the "Talking In Your Sleep" fiasco.

I also know that Todd was once one of the foremost producers in the business. His production on a large number of albums, from the 70s into the 90s was stellar. But I don't know what happened here. The distortion, reverb, and whatever make parts of this beast absolutely unlistenable (see the Cyclorama comments above for a reference).

Todd, I love most of your music, but I can only give this 2 stars.

 Initiation by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.80 | 58 ratings

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Initiation
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by CassandraLeo

5 stars Arguably Rundgren's most progressive solo release, Initation represents him standing athwart a mountain and telling the critics who wanted him to lay off the Eastern spirituality, synthesizer motifs, and progressive rock flourishes to deal with it, a subject he directly addresses in "The Death of Rock and Roll". The critics naturally didn't like it, but Rundgren likely didn't care.

The album is divided into two halves, one a thirty-two minute song suite bookended by "Real Man", the album's only concession to pop music, and the other devoted to the synthesizer experiment "A Treatise on Cosmic Fire", with movements named after the seven chakras and prana, the breath of life. The quality of the music is high throughout, with the too-long a cappella workout "Born to Synthesize" being the album's only arguable misstep, and while Rundgren never completely abandons the melodicism of his pop roots, the album nonetheless represents a bold leap into the unknown and stands as one of his most underrated efforts. Strongly recommended for progressive rock fans, and easily worthy of at least a 9/10 rating.

 Something/Anything? by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.30 | 62 ratings

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Something/Anything?
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Far more approachable, even in its bloated double album format, than the labyrinthine A Wizard, a True Star, Rundgren's Something/Anything is a deft and subtle cornucopia of progressively inclined songwriting which ranges from moments of delirium on a par with its infamous followup to pop perfection like I Saw The Light (a song which surely set the tone for the marvellous Matt Berry's own music career much more recently - indeed, Berry's been known to perform it live from time to time). An expert production job inspires Rundgren to essentially dare listeners to try and hunt down studio hiss, hum, and other hallmarks of sloppy production, but it's the solid compositions (often Rundgren's Achilles heel) which really push this one over the top.
 State by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.29 | 12 ratings

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State
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars In 1973 Todd released his fourth album where he made quite a statement, as he called it 'A Wizard, A True Star'. To me and many other fans he hit the nail firmly on the head, as here is a master songwriter, performer, producer, and someone who is able to do whatever he wants and be the master of that. Some of my favourite live albums are by Todd, and he has dared to do things such as perform without music, or allow fans to get on stage and pick up and play instruments and join in the fun. He has been a great band member (first in The Nazz and then the brilliant Utopia), and of course played guitar on and produced a certain album called 'Bat Out of Hell'. I was overjoyed a couple of years ago when I was able to tick another act off my 'must see' list when he appeared in NZ for the first time in his career to support an album of his interpretation of Robert Johnson material, and I stood in front of him as he blew me and the rest of the audience away with some brilliant guitarwork.

So, when I heard that he had a new album out and that it was in fact a double CD with a live concert on the second disc that I knew that it was essential and I eagerly put it into the player. It was then that I remembered something. Todd doesn't need anyone else around him to make a record as he can do it himself, and he is a musical magpie who isn't happy unless he is experimenting. Now, that's all well and good when he is in the area of hard rock or progressive rock, but when he goes off and does something within the dance area then that is something I can do without. I know that there must be those who think this is a wonderful piece of work, but I'm not one of them.

The only thing that comes close to saving this is the second disc which is a recording from last November where he performed with the Metropole Orchestra in Amsterdam but this lounge take on songs such as 'Hello It's Me' and 'Can We Still Be Friends' shows that he can sing, but isn't something that compares with 'A Cappela' or any of his other live albums. Overall this is a real disappointment and I call myself a fan, let's hope the next one is better. It can't be much worse

 State by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.29 | 12 ratings

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State
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by daisy1

3 stars Todd- a prophet without honour in his own country - why no hall of fame? This man is what progression is all about.Being a fan is a roller- coaster ride where you never know what will happen next,so prepare to be amazed when listening to State ( which has entered the dance charts would you believe?) Approach with an open mind.Judge on its merits.But listen a few times- it becomes more rewarding.Todd goes techno? - maybe- it bears the mark of a mac 'garage band' type of sound- but not in a bad way. 'In My Mouth', 'Ping Me','Something from Nothing' are heart- achingly classic Todd,vocally and melodically.- worth the admission. I recommend the deluxe version because CD 2 has a brilliant live concert recorded with the Dutch Metropole Orchestra in Amsterdam.His ineraction with the orchestra and his vocals are never better.If you like his singer- songwriter persona,this is a must. The opener'Another Life' from 'Oops' is a far superior version to the recorded one.On the other hand,another track 'Frogs' is one of those throwaway silly Gilbert and Sullivan type tracks that you either love or hate. I would say Todd is the most innovative rock musician the USA has produced- and he still has the creative energy to astound.This album proves he still progresses.
 State by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.29 | 12 ratings

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State
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by nat health

1 stars I suspect there are many other long-time fans out there who share my frustration with Todd. This (2 disc deluxe) release illustrates the problem most excruciatingly.

Included is a live disc of Todd interacting musically with other human beings and, after all these years, no one does it better. His voice has never sounded stronger or more heart-felt as he performs wonderful renditions of rarely heard songs such as Bag Lady, proves why he is criminally under-rated as a lead guitarist on Fascist Christ, and revamps gorgeous live tunes like Another Life and If I Have To Be Alone. I will cherish this live disc as a fine representation of what this brilliant song writer/musician was and IS capable of both live and in the studio. Four stars.

Oh, and Todd's computer released something called "State". Control - Alt - Delete

 A Wizard, a True Star by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.00 | 82 ratings

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A Wizard, a True Star
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by R-A-N-M-A

4 stars If you stick with the same old stuff, no matter how wild it is, sometimes it feels like you've heard everything there is to hear. Luckily, if stick with prog you'll eventually get completely blindsided by something you never saw coming. That's what just happened to me with Todd Rundgren's A Wizard, A True Star. Well, the first half at any rate.

The first half, bookended by International Feel and Le Feel Internacional is a stunningly complex and sprawling pop-prog cascade. Parts of it are reminiscent of the better clips of Tales from Topographic Oceans (released the following year I'll have you note) and the primal utterances of Tubular Bells, but for the most part it is a uniquely manic and ecstatic musical expression. Todd himself admitted that he was experimenting with drugs and wanted to replicate the experience on album, thus accounting for the unpredictability. Todd is clearly unhinged on this album and I love it. It unfortunately slows to a crawl through the middle section generic 60s/70s pop middle section, but is unexpectedly revived with an embedded cover of Cool Jerk by the Capitals part way through another track. From there it doesn't quite veer back to the frenetic joy of the first half, but Todd does manage some more excitement before the end of the album, particularly on Is It My Name.

In essence, this album is almost 40 years old and it's still one of the freshest things I've yet heard. I'm shocked only 36 people prior to me managed to review it. It isn't perfect, but damn is it close. I highly recommend it at 4 stars and am looking forward to the allegedly even more progressive follow up Todd.

As a slight aside, I recently posted in the forum bemoaning the lack of upbeat prog rock, anybody looking for the same should check this out.

 Initiation by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.80 | 58 ratings

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Initiation
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
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!

Thanks to Fandango for the artist addition.

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