Rundgren, Todd - Initiation CD (Mega Blowout Sale)

SKU 23-EDSA 5032
Hey, it’s JUST RYM ponitificating below, but as an old, long time Toddler, IF you catch me in the right mood, I might agree that this is his ‘last great recording’.

"In the wake of the classic Something/Anything came A Wizard A True Star (73); Todd (73); Utopia (74); Initiation (75). If Another Live (75) had been expanded and taken into the studio, it too might have been another classic. We can argue the merits of Faithful and The Hermit Of Mink Hollow but they are overshadowed by S/A and, as far as Ra is concerned, it lost the conviction required to continue the adventurous music of Utopia's previous albums. This is clearly demonstrated in the change of direction this 2nd Utopia took, abandoning the eclectic in favour of the democratic.
Trying his hand at other styles on later albums, Todd produced much admirable music but usually in more generic forms. The parodies on AWATS and Todd are genuinely original and, more importantly, inspired. Ironically, it was when he dropped the attitude and opened himself up that he found inspiration enough to experiment again and Healing (80), though less radical, came closest to his best 70's work. (With the possible exception of the controversial No World Order).
On The ballad of Todd Rundgren and S/A, Rundgren proved his genius by being meticulous rather than innovative and he himself admitted that halucinogens brought about the shift to the more progressive style of AWATS, but of course he must also have been aware that S/A was not cutting edge, it wasn't Yes or Mahavishnu orchestra... the scene was there and Rundgren joined it.
Initiation represents the culmination of his progressive experimentation. On this album he was both meticulous and innovative and still had enough inspiration to complete his great run in grand style. It's an album of two sides! Side one has six tracks, side two has one. The six are a return to the shorter song-based format and signaled the beginning of the end of his progressive period. Never-the-less they are excellently written and arranged, superior to those on Faithful and The Hermit Of Mink Hollow despite some EQ problems. It's not all perfect but there are touches here and there that make critical differences. Real Man is a catchy pop soul number, upbeat to get things started. Halfway through he subjects most of the mix to heavy phasing. On Born To Synthesize it's his voice- acappella- that gets the treatment. Here his cosmic mysticism is at its most incomprehensible, it's no wonder the critics were so scathing. By explanation The Death Of Rock And Roll sees Todd blasting these critics with a fantastic guitar riff-based rocker sparing them the 'synthesized noise' they seem to object to. Rundgren's song writing is close to its best on Eastern Intrigue, (not unlike Alladin Sane). He is typically tongue in cheek on this multi-part number which has lots of ethereal keyboards to counterbalance the guitars of the previous track. Some of the vocal arrangements, including chanting religious names, are quite ingenius. The title track is a high spirited affair that dispels any drug induced lethargy and replaces it with a forward-looking posivitism. The chord sequence keeps it bouyed-up on suspended 5ths and apart from an out of time interlude towards the end, it runs at close to a gallop. Exuberant and affirmative it lifts you up so you can see where you want to be, after all 'in 75 something comes alive'. But just as Todd assures us that 'it shall be revealed' a plaintive guitar picks the poignant chords that begin Fair Warning. It's an over-blown torch song with a sort of resigned melancholy that drags a little but a great soundscape with some delightful moments, not the least Todds singing. He warns us that we are now on our own, 'now its goodbye' and apart from the "Real Man" reprise that's what it is.... side two is an instrumental! Six classic numbers and we are not even halfway through the album!...
Side two is over 35 minutes long and, to the truly initiated, the main course. I think this was Rundgren's last great recording, one on which he shows genius and originality. If you love the more daring experimentation of AWATS then you will marvel at the bizarre trip that is A Treatise On Cosmic Fire. Parts of it might come unstuck but that's the nature of the beast. This is the synthesized noise they all hated, unleashed without a muzzle. It's like The Ikon without the catchy melodies, apart, that is , from the opening and closing sections which, ironically, sound more like Utopia of 74 than anything on side one. Rundgren experiments to his hearts content and achieves an originality he never quite managed imitating The Who or Laura Nyro. Here we have a highly personal approach to music making, almost avant-garde. It's a testament to the freedom recording artists were afforded at the time. Todd uses as much electronic gadgetry as he can control, some of what he creates is easily recognizable composition, some of it tends towards the abstract. There are subtle and not so subtle guitar parts, sequenced rhythmic devices that speed up and slow down, almost unbearable at times, you love it or hate it! This album, recorded on the cusp of great upheaval just prior to the punk explosion was ridiculed in the press. Subjectivity is everything and the way I see it, born in 1959, nothing was ever the same again."-Rate Your Music
  • LabelEdsel
  • UPC740155503239
Your Price $6.00

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