Initiation (Todd Rundgren album)
|Studio album by|
|Released||May 23, 1975|
|Recorded||Secret Sound Studio|
Media Sound Studio
Bearsville Sound Studio
|Genre||Psychedelic rock, progressive rock|
|Todd Rundgren chronology|
|Singles from Initiation|
|Rolling Stone||(Not rated)|
Initiation is the sixth solo album by Todd Rundgren, released in the summer of 1975. With this album, Rundgren fully embraced the synthesized prog sound he had begun exploring in more depth in his work with his band Utopia. However, unlike Utopia, in which Rundgren had limited himself to playing guitar, most of the synthesizers on Initiation were played/programmed by Rundgren himself.
Initiation was a concept album that could be broken into two parts corresponding to its two sides, each of which was over 30 minutes long. The first side was made up of Rundgren's songs from various rock genres, similar to previous Rundgren albums such as Todd; all of the members of Utopia appeared, as well as many of Rundgren's friends such as the members of the Edgar Winter Group on "Fair Warning". The second side, however, was entirely made up of the heavily synthesized instrumental work "A Treatise on Cosmic Fire", named after a 1930 book of the same name by theosophist Alice Bailey (whose works, influenced by the writings of H.P. Blavatsky, also included the concept of "initiation" and the "seven rays"). Rundgren performs all of the instrumental parts, with an enormous amount of the work being programmed and performed as well as co-written by a (largely uncredited) Roger Powell.
Album opener "Real Man" (which featured all of the original members of Utopia except for M. Frog Labat) and the modulated a capella "Born to Synthesize" have Rundgren acknowledging that he should face himself and follow his dreams of experimenting more with music than creating conventional pop records. "The Death of Rock and Roll", the hardest rocking song on the record, takes a stab at the critics that rejected his previous rock albums A Wizard, a True Star and Todd. At the same time, Rundgren was also experimenting with Eastern religious concepts, exploring these themes on "Eastern Intrigue", as well as forming the basis of "A Treatise on Cosmic Fire". The closing tracks of the first side, the "disco-prog" title track and the soul music-inspired "Fair Warning", cryptically state that Rundgren is ready to push forward and that it is up to the listener to follow along or tune out.
The second side, the side-long, multipart "A Treatise on Cosmic Fire," (evidently based on the occult treatise by Alice Bailey) is a springboard for synth experimentation. On vinyl and in the iTunes Store, "A Treatise on Cosmic Fire" was indexed into four tracks, each consisting of one of the four movements of the piece (with "Outro - Prana" appended to the fourth track); track times for the individual movements are given below. Both the CD and vinyl erroneously list the song as being 36 minutes exactly.
The album is one of the longest single LPs of all time, totaling almost 68 minutes of playing time. Due to the length of the LP, Rundgren sped up the master tape for the first 3 songs on side one as well as the entirety of side 2 to eliminate 2-3 minutes per side as well as EQ'ing and limiting the recording's dynamic range to fit the entire album onto one piece of vinyl. The album's original inner sleeve included a "Technical Note" stating "Due to the amount of music on this disc (over one hour), two points must be emphasized. Firstly, if your needle is worn or damaged, it will ruin the disc immediately. Secondly, if the sound does seem not loud enough on your system, try re-recording the music onto tape. By the way, thanks for buying the album". All CD copies contain the same audio and it is unknown if the dynamic range has been restored on these pressings.
All songs by Todd Rundgren.
- "Real Man" – 4:27
- "Born to Synthesize" – 3:41
- "The Death of Rock and Roll" – 3:48
- "Eastern Intrigue" – 5:05
- "Initiation" – 7:03
- "Fair Warning" – 8:08
- "A Treatise on Cosmic Fire" (Instrumental) – 35:22
- "Intro - Prana" – 4:21
- "II. The Fire of Mind - or: Solar Fire" – 3:50
- "III. The Fire of Spirit - or: Electric Fire" – 7:33
- "I. The Internal Fire - or: Fire by Friction" – 19:38
- "Outro - Prana"
- "Real Man” (Recorded at Secret Sound Studio)
- Todd Rundgren – vocals, guitar, piano, synthesizer, RMI Keyboard Computer, ARP String Ensemble, percussion
- Moogy Klingman – RMI Keyboard Computer
- Ralph Schuckett – clavinet
- John Siegler – bass
- Kevin Ellman – drums
- "Born to Synthesize” (Recorded at Bearsville Sound Studio)
- Todd Rundgren – vocals
- Roger Powell – synthesizer treatments
- "The Death of Rock and Roll" (Recorded at Media Sound Studio)
- Todd Rundgren – vocals, guitars
- Ralph Schuckett – clavinet
- Rick Derringer – bass
- Kevin Ellman, John Wilcox – drums
- "Eastern Intrigue” (Recorded at Secret Sound Studio)
- Todd Rundgren – vocals, electric sitar, electric piano, RMI Keyboard Computer, ARP String Ensemble, additional percussion
- John Miller – bass
- Roy Markowitz – drums
- Lee Pastora – congas, bongos
- Barbara Burton – percussion
- Roger Powell - nose flute
- "Initiation” (Recorded at Media Sound Studio)
- Todd Rundgren – vocals, lead guitar, clavinet, synthesizer, RMI Keyboard Computer, ARP String Ensemble
- Bob Rose – rhythm guitar
- John Siegler – bass
- Rick Marotta, Bernard Purdie – drums
- Lee Pastora – congas
- David Sanborn – saxophone solo
- Roger Powell – synthesizer solo
- "Fair Warning” (Recorded at Media Sound Studio)
- Todd Rundgren – vocals, piano, electric sitar, RMI Keyboard Computer, ARP String Ensemble
- Moogy Klingman – organ
- Rick Derringer – guitar
- Dan Hartman – bass
- Chris Parker, Barry Lazarowitz – drums
- Edgar Winter – saxophone
- "A Treatise on Cosmic Fire" (Recorded at Secret Sound and Bearsville Sound Studios)
- Todd Rundgren – writing, production, arrangement, mixing, and engineering ("Real Man", "Born to Synthesize", "A Treatise on Cosmic Fire")
- Jack Malken - engineering (all other tracks)
|1975||Billboard Pop Albums||86|
|1975||"Real Man"||Billboard Hot 100||83|
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2011). "Initiation - Todd Rundgren | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
- Miller, Jim (2011). "Todd Rundgren: Initiation : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". web.archive.org. Archived from the original on January 16, 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
- "allmusic ((( Todd Rundgren > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
- "allmusic ((( Todd Rundgren > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-12-17.