giorgio

Disco, EDM Godfather Giorgio Moroder Feels The Love

Entertainment  

Legendary music producer Giorgio Moroder recently blessed a crowd of “techno enthusiasts” with his presence at Schimanski in Brooklyn. The 77-year-old electric dance music pioneer performed as DJ, playing tracks from his four decades of recorded work. A good chunk of the audience had not yet been born when songs like “I Feel Love” (released in 1977) originally burned up the airwaves and discos. With its inventive spacey Moog quality, Brian Eno at the time prophesied that “I Feel Love” was “the sound of the future.”

Moroder is most famous for his collaboration with Donna Summer (and Pete Bellotte) that produced a string of chart-dominating hit tunes that typified the disco era. Songs like “Love to Love You Baby,” “Hot Stuff,” “Bad Girls,” “MacArthur Park” as well as “I Feel Love” have permeated pop music and culture for good. In 1978 Moroder expanded into film music scoring Midnight Express, for which he won his first Academy Award. That soundtrack includes “Chase,” an instrumental hit of classic electronica that remains a cha-cha party favorite to this day. He later won two more Oscars for Best Original Song: 1. “Flashdance…What a Feeling,” vocals by Irene Cara, for the soundtrack of Flashdance, a song that has been forever absorbed into humanity’s grey matter; and 2. “Take My Breath Away” performed by Berlin for Top Gun. Moroder scored dozens of other movies such as Foxes, American Gigolo and Scarface, working with pop luminaries like Cher and Blondie. In 2013 Moroder won his fourth Grammy with Daft Punk for Random Access Memories. He is featured on the album’s track “Giorgio by Moroder,” the occurrence supposedly marking his “comeback.”

Although he is an undeniable influence on EDM, so much so that hundreds of wannabes continue to ride his coattails, Moroder still stands out as an enduring, innovative music studio artist and composer with a substantial oeuvre, more parallel to the synthesizer genius of Kraftwerk than the formulaic producers currently holding a monopoly today. Upon his first visit to Studio 54 Moroder didn’t have a good time. When “I Feel Love” was played, the technical stickler was perturbed his song didn’t sound right. “It was the way I split up the bass between the left and the right side,” Moroder said. “It was a small thing which bothered me.”

Whilst the studio wizard has spent much of his time since the 1990s remixing, his so-called comeback with Daft Punk shines a new light on his prolific studio work, and sees him now playing ginormous festivals (and at boutique venues like Schimanski for diehards) with increased collaborations with the current top layer of glitterati. Moroder produced a cover of Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” with Britney Spears, accomplished remotely (an ideal arrangement). Spears sent her vocal track, and he “laid it down over an electro-ish beat.”

The waning-then-resurgence of his recognition is not of concern to Moroder, who is quite content to stride on as a model of artistic perseverance in an age of negative attention spans. His words, immortalized in the “Giorgio by Moroder” track, can be easily reinterpreted for any creative discipline and liberally applied everywhere:

“Once you free your mind about a concept of harmony and music being correct, you can do whatever you want. So, nobody told me what to do, and there was no preconception of what to do.”

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