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Todd Rundgren - 'White Knight' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/01/14/b3/Todd-Rundgren-White-Knight-36-1503934217.jpg Hot

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This isn't a typical Todd Rundgren album, but it's a superb one nonetheless.

'White Knight' is a landmark album for Todd Rundgren who has been responsible for some of the most inventive music in the modern age. Huge praise indeed, but those in the know are aware he has pushed the boundaries on music production, music style, video and album patronage.

Why is this a landmark album though? Essentially it's due to its accessibility; the one criticism is that his musical direction sometimes turns left when it should turn right or go straight ahead. His last few albums, characterised by their one word titles ('Global', 'Arena', 'State' etc.), although musically brilliant, didn't make you want to play them time after time. The last album in that mould was 'Liars', a sublime piece with a Soul/R&B vibe making the songs musically challenging but still catchy.

Rundgren has caught lightning in a bottle again on 'White Knight'; he has perhaps grown his mojo by making this a collaboration album (don't get the meaning of my second paragraph wrong, he never really lost his mojo). The rationale behind this album is that he is introducing his audience to artists who he respects, and into the bargain gets a new audience segment to have a listen to his music. This album has set the bar high with the inclusion of no ordinary set of A-listers who span multiple age and musical style dimensions.

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So in no particular order, you will find Daryl Hall who duets with Rundgren on a very Rundgren meets Halls & Oates upbeat number (obviously), a droll ditty with Donald Fagen and a menacing piece with Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails). There are some surprises contained within; the Joe Walsh contribution is not the expected Bluesy/Rock affair, instead it's an electronic piano-driven quirky piece certainly more Rundgren in style than a typical Walsh number. Scandinavian R&B star Robyn appears midway with an up-tempo modern number and a trademark lavish Rundgren production that is tailor made for the singles chart. A further youthful appearance is Rundgren's son ReBop who appears on guitar and he's certainly no slouch on the six string. Last but not least, Joe Satriani appears along with Kasim Sulton (Blue Ӧyster Cult, Utopia) and Prairie Prince (The Tubes) on an astonishing finale where Satriani plays on a guitar what most computers could only dream of doing on a sequencer.

This isn't a typical Todd Rundgren album, but it's a superb one nonetheless.

Rob McKenzie

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