Space Cadet Disco
American rocker Todd Rundgren has teamed up with Norwegian musicians and producers Emil Nikolaisen, of Serena-Maneesh, and Hans-Peter Lindstrøm, of Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas, to create the astro-electric pop-rock album, Runddans. Not long after Rundgren used Lindstrøm’s “Quiet Place to Live” in his first remix, a collaboration among the three ensued. The 39-minute album is broken into 12 parts. However, they constitute one long, synthy movement, broken not by sound but merely by titles.
If R2-D2 gave up serving the Royal Engineers of Taboo and Queen Amidala and decided to open up a swank disco club and become a DJ, this album is probably what R2 would be spinning. The album begins with “B is for Birth,” and sounds like a shimmering spaceship, full of blinking lights and buttons, getting ready to blast off—from the womb? Then something is born and the track, “Liquid Joy from the Womb of Infinity” follows, a dizzying and cosmic array of even more shimmery and shiny sounds.
Vocals come into play in “Solus,” but they are just a minute and 40 seconds of strained “oo”s and “ah”s with a little beat from a keyboard drum as backdrop. The album doesn’t really get the ball rolling until the track “Put Your Arms Around Me” brings a more psychedelic-rock sound as Rundgren electrically solos, albeit somewhat similar to the turbulent soundtrack of Mario Kart. The album finishes—or perhaps restarts its cycle—with “Ohr…Um…Am…Amen,” with more crooning of “oo”s and “ah”s and some lyrics from previous tracks.
Runddans can get a bit messy at times and, as one long and even circular movement, does not really come to a climax or resolution, but rather leaves you floating about in space. The galactic soundscape and hanging around the stars and planets is fun. But, in keeping with Newton’s third law, you can’t move in outer space without force or friction, and that’s perhaps what this trippy album seems to be lacking.