Initiation

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Returning to solo recording almost immediately after forming Utopia, Todd Rundgren continued with the synth-heavy prog rock he pioneered with Todd Rundgren's Utopia on Initiation. The differences immediately resonate with "Real Man," a terrific song that encapsulates not only his newfound fondness for electronics, but also his burgeoning spirituality and his knack for pop craft. "Real Man" is so good, it's tempting to believe that the remainder of Initiation will follow in the same direction, resulting in an inspired, truly progressive fusion of classic Rundgren and synthesizers. As soon as the second track, an a cappella vocoder opus called "Born to ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Returning to solo recording almost immediately after forming Utopia, Todd Rundgren continued with the synth-heavy prog rock he pioneered with Todd Rundgren's Utopia on Initiation. The differences immediately resonate with "Real Man," a terrific song that encapsulates not only his newfound fondness for electronics, but also his burgeoning spirituality and his knack for pop craft. "Real Man" is so good, it's tempting to believe that the remainder of Initiation will follow in the same direction, resulting in an inspired, truly progressive fusion of classic Rundgren and synthesizers. As soon as the second track, an a cappella vocoder opus called "Born to Synthesize," it's clear that Rundgren has no intention of following that path, choosing to push the limits of synth technology and recorded music instead of constructing an album. Initiation suffers accordingly. At times, particularly on the first, song-oriented side, it is pretty intriguing, but too often, the results are simply frustrating because it doesn't go anywhere. That's particularly true with "A Treatise on Cosmic Fire," a half-hour "suite" that comprises all of side two and doesn't really go anywhere, despite hitting many stops along the way. It's enough to erase the memory of "Real Man," "Eastern Intrigue" and "Initiation," the moments where it all comes together on the first half of the record, but another spin of the first side reveals that Rundgren could have made Initiation something special if he had the discipline.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/25/1990
  • Label: Rhino
  • UPC: 081227086626
  • Catalog Number: 70866

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Todd Rundgren Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Synthesizer, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Strings, Electric Piano, Sitar, Vocals, Electric Sitar
Rick Derringer Bass, Guitar
Dan Hartman Bass
David Sanborn Saxophone
Roger Powell Synthesizer, Flute, Trumpet, Keyboards
Barbara Burton Percussion
Edgar Winter Saxophone
Kevin Elliman Percussion
Mark "Moogy" Klingman Organ, Keyboards
Barry Lazarowitz Drums
Roy Markowitz Drums
Rick Marotta Drums
Chris Parker Drums
Lee Pastora Percussion, Bongos, Conga
Bernard "Pretty" Purdie Drums
Bob Rose Rhythm Guitar
Ralph Schuckett Bass, Clavinet
John Siegler Bass, Cello
Jon Wilcox Drums
John Miller Bass
Kevin Ellman Drums
Technical Credits
Todd Rundgren Arranger, Producer, Engineer, String Ensemble, Keyboard Computer
Jack Malken Engineer
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Todd's break with critics

    One of Todd Rundgren’s most ambitious recordings, Initiation took a battering from critics who felt that he was becoming self-indulgent musically, and too intense lyrically. This CD is decidedly NOT for the casual Todd fan who never got past “Bang the Drum All Day” or “Hello It's Me”. Side One opens with “Real Man”, and Todd lays out the personal investment he has staked in this recording, joyfully revealing his new found spirituality. The experimental “Born to Synthesize” which features vocals run through synthesizers segues nicely into the heavy metal riffs of “Death of Rock and Roll” in which Todd poignantly declares war on critics and those who would seek to limit rock’s reach. In “Eastern Intrigue” Todd indulges in some self-deprecating humor as he parodies his own preoccupation with eastern religions. As this songs fades, gongs and bells announce “Initiation”, a celebratory song for anyone who has sought for meaning behind this superficial existence. A rave-up song that breaks into a wonderful David Sanborn sax solo, followed by a powerful Rundgren guitar solo, “Initiation” builds in intensity before ending with multi-layered vocals declaring “It Shall Be Revealed”. The offering with vocals is “Fair Warning” which borrows heavily on Motown riffs and an almost conversational tone that indicates the artist’s declaration of freedom, challenging the listener to follow if they will. "A Treatise on Cosmic Fire," a thirty-six minute instrumental in which Todd plays all the instruments, seemed to some as an egocentric display of electronics and keyboards, but in retrospect it is a pre-curser to future keyboard instrumentalists (like Vangelis and Yanni) who decidedly lacked Todd’s depth. Truly, Initiation is a thoughtful piece of music: a celebration for anyone who has ever made a quest for spirituality and knowledge.

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