Veteran rock maverick Todd Rundgren, wall-of-sound Serena-Maneesh shoegazer Emil Nikolaisen, and space disco cadet Hans-Peter Lindstrøm announced an album collaboration in early 2014 and intended to release it a few months later. Runddans, however, didn't surface until May 2015. It shortly followed the release of Rundgren's Global, as Rundgren was engaged in an extensive U.S. tour -- for which he was backed by modern funk master Dâm-Funk -- unfortunately not billed as Dâm-Runt. Recorded in Oslo and on Kauai, Runddans began as an improvisation. In final form, it's a sculpted 39-minute album, divided into 12 segments, that could have been commissioned by a planetarium for a vaguely spiritual film about life cycles, landscapes, and maybe natural disasters. The input of all three musicians can be heard from front to back, through swirling layers of ever-shifting sounds and trance-inducing sequences that escalate, expansive and borderline theatrical, with shifts between light and heavy that occur gradually more often than abruptly. Rundgren's occasional vocal lines hover from above like he's some kind of deity, informing "You will never be closer than you are now" one moment and imploring "Put your arms around me" the next. When his guitar comes out, it tends to intensify -- in a rather volcanic manner -- the more turbulent moments. It adds to the unease and chaos, like the point where he echoes Little Anthony & the Imperials, woefully singing "I think I'm going outta my head," at the onset of "Alter of Kauaian Six String (Todd's Solo)." It's all roughly as dizzying as anything from the musicians' past -- a trippy and transportive diversion, if relatively trivial in comparison to their peak creative achievements.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman