Moroder by Giorgio
15 January 2021-
While Daft Punk recently released new tracks for the Tron deluxe soundtrack, their last album dates back to 2013, including the now famous track "Giorgio by Moroder". When it comes to paying tribute, that is pretty much the gold standard...
The history of electronic music is paved with genius ideas — and individuals. Think of Germany’s Karlheinz Stockhausen, who almost singlehandedly bridged the gap between contemporary music and modern electronic music. Or Joe Meek’s “Telstar“, one of the earliest mainstream showcases of the budding genre (and the first US #1 song by a British performer, way before the Beatles decided to invade…). Or Pierre Henry of “Psyché Rock” fame, a key architect of the Musique concrète movement instrumental in introducing looping and sampling into the world. Yet, one man may have done more for electronic music in the 20th century than any other. And that man’s first name is Giorgio; last name — Moroder.
An Italian guitar and bass guitar player originally, Moroder quickly understood that he would have to travel away from his small native town to find fame. Settling down in Munich and opening the seminal Musicland studios, the man first made his mark in a highly topical genre of the era — that would the mid-70’s: disco. For one of the artists he was working with, a certain vocalist by the name of Donna Summer, he managed to convinced both her and her team to go into a somewhat new and different direction with her 1977 song “I feel love“. The almost 6-minute long track effectively signaled the beginning of a new era in popular music, one that would increasingly blend in instruments and computers to create ever more intricate (electronic) sounds.
That achievement, in itself, would have been enough for Moroder’s name to feature in the history books. The man was far from done, however: in the decade or so that followed, he was involved in many of the most important hits of the day, effectively influencing the direction of 70’s disco and 80’s pop towards what is now known as EDM — electronic dance music, one of the most successful worldwide trends music has ever seen. Perhaps the most notable in this string of projects is the song for which Moroder earned his first — of three — oscars: “Chase“, as featured on the soundtrack of 1978’s Midnight Express.
In its original maxi-single version, the song is a 13+ minute-long instrumental piece, what some might rightfully call monumental. Further, its absolutely relentless beat, from the rapidly building intro and all through the entire piece, successfully conveys a feeling of urgency and unease, perfectly paralleling the theme of the movie: a young man sentenced to years in a Turkish prison for a minor drug offence. While the movie itself was a significant success upon release, it is unquestionably the soundtrack that has truly stood the test of time.
No wonder current electronic superstars Daft Punk had to pay tribute…