sun 25/02/2024

CD: Todd Rundgren, Hans-Peter Lindstrøm and Emil Nikolaisen – Runddans | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Todd Rundgren, Hans-Peter Lindstrøm and Emil Nikolaisen – Runddans

CD: Todd Rundgren, Hans-Peter Lindstrøm and Emil Nikolaisen – Runddans

A warm breeze of ambient electronica that takes in dance beats, distorted vocals and proggy textures

Runddans: a one-track ambient beast

Todd Rundgren is not known for sitting on his laurels and churning out the same old stuff year after year. Since Runt, his debut solo album from 1970, he has tried out a vast array of genres from heavy metal to prog rock, EDM and power pop, as well as having a prominent role in Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell.

Runddans, his second album of 2015, sees him venture further into pastures new by teaming up with Scandinavian electronica boffins Hans-Peter Lindstrøm and Emil Nikolaisen for a one-track ambient beast – albeit one with a hefty injection of prog sounds.

Runddans came about after Rundgren remixed Lindstrøm’s “Quiet Place to Live” in 2012, after which they and Emil Nikolaisen of Serena-Maneesh spent a couple of years emailing half-finished tracks to each other and tinkering with them. The result is a 40-minute warm breeze of ambient electronica that takes in dance beats, distorted vocals and proggy textures. Unsurprisingly, it also suffers from a distinct lack of soul.

While Runddans is technically one track, it is divided into 12 parts. The first three sections, “B for Birth”, “Liquid Joy From the Womb of Infinity” and “Oppad, Over Skyene” form a suite of sci-fi flavoured electronic noodling that suggests The Orb’s “Backside of the Moon” but with its dub reggae influences removed. It’s serene and spacey stuff, but feels just that little bit too blissed-out with no grit whatsoever. From this point, prog sounds creep into the mix bit by bit. Bubbling synths support wordless vocalisations, and things wander worryingly deep in 1970s ambient lift-music territory before finally fading out with a fragment entitled “Ohr… Um… Am… Amen”.

While it is thoroughly commendable that Rundgren refuses to let the grass grow under his feet by trying new angles with each new album, it’s a shame that Runddans is all head and not enough heart – and feels like the work of a millionaire hippy for whom making music has become a hobby.

It feels like the work of a millionaire hippy for whom making music has become a hobby

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Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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Guess you're not too familiar with TR and his work --- for you to say "for whom making music has become a hobby" shows just how little you do know. The man is touring constantly; writing with and playing with Ringo & his All Star Band, as well as with most of his Utopia band, etc. It's his lifestyle. You should also know that he always writes albums for himself, more than for us. So . . . there'll be a good chunk you may not like. Oh well.

Rundgren is one of the hardest working musicians in the industry. Not only does he tour constantly, but he composes new music, records it, performs it, and draws a good audience. It is clear the money he makes is secondary.

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