Todd Rundgren

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sanctuaryman
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Todd Rundgren

Post by sanctuaryman » Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:08 am

Could someone tell me what synths were used in "The Spark of Life"? (youtube included below if you haven't heard it before, with David Bowie tacked on at the end). And if anyone's familiar with the Todd LP, it'd be greatly appreciated if someone help me figure out how he got those sounds!

[youtube][/youtube]

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meatballfulton
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Re: Todd Rundgren

Post by meatballfulton » Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:27 pm

Todd himself owned a VCS3 (seen in the liner photo of Something Anything). Mark Klingman's nickname was Moogy so I guess that was what he used. No idea about M. Labat's synth(s).
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Re: Todd Rundgren

Post by cornutt » Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:38 pm

meatballfulton wrote:No idea about M. Labat's synth(s).
IIRC, he had a pretty extensively modified modular Moog.

The other synthesist who has done a bunch of work with Todd was Roger Powell, who was an ARP guy back in the day.
Switches, knobs, buttons, LEDs, LCD screens, monitors, keys, mice, jacks, sockets. Now two joysticks!

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Esus
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Re: Todd Rundgren

Post by Esus » Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:11 pm

By the time Roger Powell was gigging wih Utopia, he had jumped the ARP ship and had come over to Moog. Here's a sampling of what he was playing at the time:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3027/257 ... 6cb6_b.jpg

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Re: Todd Rundgren

Post by sanctuaryman » Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:38 pm

So would you guys say the above track sounds more like a VCS3 or a moog?

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Micke
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Re: Todd Rundgren

Post by Micke » Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:15 pm

I don't think Jean-Yves "M. Frog" Labat played on that album, so I'm suspecting it's Rundgren's EMS VCS3 we hear on this track. At that time Rundgren used to play his guitar through an EMS Hi-Fli and I've a feeling that's what he used for the
"lead sound".

Here's a description of Frog's setup:
"Jean Yves Labat had a setup of two large brushed aluminum
panels with around 6 EMS Synthi A's, at least one KS, an EMS PVC (Pitch-to-Voltage converter), RVG, & filter bank,
along with some effects devices..."


To the best of my knowledge "Frog" never used a Moog modular.

Roger Powell on the other hand did have a couple of custom Moog 55's when he joined Utopia back in late '74/early '75. He first used the them on side two of Todd Rundgren's solo album "Initiation" (Rec. in spring '75) and then on the live album "Another Live" from the same year. The dual Moog 55's also saw a lot of use on Powell's solo album "Air pocket" which was recorded in the spring of 1976 --but not released until 1980 (the drum sounds on this album were nearly all made with the dual Moog 55).
"The (Yamaha) CS-80 is a step ahead in keyboard control, and a generation behind in digital control" -- Dan Wyman, Jan 1979

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Re: Todd Rundgren

Post by goom » Fri Oct 31, 2008 3:17 am

Wow..that's weird. I pulled this CD out and listened to it two days ago. I haven't listened to it in 5+ years. It still sounds great. When Spark of Life came on, I was thinking those notes in the solo might have been played from a pitch to CV setup. It didn't sound like it was from a keyboard. Just past the minute mark, I was wondering if it could have been Todd's voice that was triggering/playing the synth.

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Re: Todd Rundgren

Post by Micke » Fri Oct 31, 2008 9:13 pm

In this video clip from '73 you can see M. Frog's synth contraption...

[youtube]C4vmlB7L6mQ[/youtube]
With that rig M. Frog would play some minimal keyboard riffs, sequences
but mostly he treated the other band members instruments or generated sound effects.
"The (Yamaha) CS-80 is a step ahead in keyboard control, and a generation behind in digital control" -- Dan Wyman, Jan 1979

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Re: Todd Rundgren

Post by cornutt » Sat Nov 01, 2008 12:34 am

I remember reading something in Playboy (when my parents weren't home to catch me :oops: ) about Labat having his own system for capturing synth parameters in sheet music. It was bizarre; instead of conventional note shapes, he had arrows that pointed various ways and got wider, narrower, lighter, darker, and changed colors to indicate things. It didn't exactly explain what meant what.
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Re: Todd Rundgren

Post by Micke » Tue Nov 04, 2008 5:28 pm

Here's more vintage live footage of Todd Rundgren; this time with Utopia (mk II) from 1975:

[youtube]I5wB3qcIEEQ&feature=related[/youtube] [youtube]e19jYE1YlBg&feature=related[/youtube]

Roger Powell: dual custom Moog 55 w/custom built 2-manual keyboard

Moogy Klingman: Sound City electronic piano (a rebadged Jen ep), RMI Keyboard Computer I, Mini-korg 700
and Rhodes electric piano.

Ralph Schukett: Solina string ensemble, Yamaha YC-45D combo organ, some electric piano and what looks like
a Roland SH-1000.
"The (Yamaha) CS-80 is a step ahead in keyboard control, and a generation behind in digital control" -- Dan Wyman, Jan 1979

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Re: Todd Rundgren

Post by keithlevine » Fri Jun 05, 2009 8:25 pm

can someone tell me what synthy organ sound i am hearing on todd rundgrend hermit of the Mink hollow
all the children sing and can we still be freind, I use a macbook pro on stage with all these vintage instruments, literrly everything, and i am trying to find a starting point, Appreciate anyones help and directionsl;
thanks
keith

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Re: Todd Rundgren

Post by WhinyLittleRunt » Fri Jun 05, 2009 8:55 pm

also curious about Hermit of Mink Hollow... Always thought it was
An early Prophet-5... Micke?
I like vintage synths....

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Re: Todd Rundgren

Post by Carey M » Sat Jun 06, 2009 12:26 am

HoMH is from 1978, so an early Prophet 5 is possible, however unlikely...

But just wanted to add, that Todd is the man! (and sounds a lot like Carole King ;) )

- CM

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Re: Todd Rundgren

Post by Esus » Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:35 am

Carey M wrote:HoMH is from 1978, so an early Prophet 5 is possible, however unlikely...

But just wanted to add, that Todd is the man! (and sounds a lot like Carole King ;) )

- CM
Agreed about TR. Having met both (CK in '75, TR in '86), IMO, there's a lot of space between them.
However, there's no denying that they're both amazing songwriters/artists...

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Re: Todd Rundgren

Post by Max Websta » Sat Jun 06, 2009 7:22 am

Carey M wrote:HoMH is from 1978, so an early Prophet 5 is possible, however unlikely...

But just wanted to add, that Todd is the man! (and sounds a lot like Carole King ;) )

- CM
Todd is great! He was actually a big fan of Laura Nyro, another great soulful singer songwriter. Of course Todd was so much more than a singer songwriter. After "Something/Anything" his music took some serious risks and he pushed the boundaries on "A Wizard A True Star","Todd" and "Initiation". That's not even including the Utopia stuff or all the huge albums he produced such as "Bat Out Of h**l", "We're An American Band" and "Skylarking" just to name a few!

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