Probably recorded sometime during the '80s (no date is mentioned), the material on this album, volume three in Voiceprint's limited-edition "Bananamoon Obscura" series, was used by Daevid Allen in various meditation workshops. The musicians involved are mostly Allen and keyboardist Hakim Gilliam, with Harry Williamson providing various sounds (including a few new age cliches), and Gilli Smyth and someone named Joe offering a few spoken words of wisdom. The whole project is obviously extremely laid-back, even by Allen's solo standards. The first two pieces, "Hello Me" and "Hello You," are each roughly 15 minutes long. They mostly consist of loose confidence-building poetry and words of encouragement, over synthesizer washes. They manage to induce a fitting mood for meditation and, if you would like to have some of this kind of music handy, it might as well be by the one and only "Divided Alien." The 25-minute "Past Lives" goes beyond the previous formula and actually provides Allen with an extended vehicle for soft glissando guitar improvisations. Here things get much more interesting, as Allen drags us into his ethereal world of well-being, head floating above the clouds as flying saucers gently pass by and a gnomic transmission comes in during the final minutes. Sadly, sound quality is disappointing. Self Initiation sounds like it was salvaged from an old fourth-generation tape copy. Tape hiss abounds throughout the album, enough to be seriously distracting (which can be more than a minor inconvenience if you plan on meditating with the music). That -- and not the music content per se -- is the main reason why Self Initiation will be of interest only to the most dedicated fans and gets such a low rating.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture