Tag: Donna Summer

Ten Years Of TEC: 30 TRACKS THAT SHAPED THE ELECTRICITY CLUB

So how did The Electricity Club arrive at its discerning musical ethos?

It probably all began with a very liberal and Bohemian junior school teacher named Miss Nielsen who played KRAFTWERK’s ‘Autobahn’, PINK FLOYD’s ‘Echoes’ and the soundtrack of ‘A Clockwork Orange’ to the class, with the unusual sound of all three providing an otherworldly, yet captivating listen.

Later on, various parts of the 22 minute ‘Autobahn’ track appeared on the end credits of BBC children’s drama ‘Out Of Bounds’ and opened ‘Newsround Extra’, but 1977 was to become the true Year Zero in electronic pop. With ‘Oxygène’, ‘Sound & Vision’, ‘Magic Fly’ and ‘I Feel Love’ all hitting the UK Top 3 within months of each other, this was effectively the beginning of synths designing the future.

To celebrate the 10th birthday of the site, here is a very personal list of 30 tracks that shaped The Electricity Club. These are primarily songs that solidified and expanded the interest in synth or later provided hope in the face of real music snobbery and the return of the guitar in the wake of Britpop.

There will be grumbles that the likes of YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA, HEAVEN 17, YAZOO, DURAN DURAN, TALK TALK, PROPAGANDA, CLIENT, RÖYKSOPP and others are not featured, and certainly if this list was a 40, they would all be included. But this list is an impulsive snapshot of The Electricity Club’s own journey in music, as opposed to being a history of electronic pop or a best of.

What? No industrial, acid house, techno or dubstep you ask? Well, that’s because The Electricity Club disliked the majority of it. While this is not always the case, the site has generally about synthpop ie pop music using synthesizers, as can be seen from this rather esteemed electronic roll of honour 😉

This is the history that the too cool for school media, who think everything jumped from KRAFTWERK to Detroit Techno in one fell swoop, don’t like to mention…

With a restriction of one track per artist moniker and presented in yearly and then alphabetical order featuring music from before the site came into being, here is why The Electricity Club is how it is…


JEAN-MICHEL JARRE Oxygène (1976)

For many including Jean-Michel Jarre, ‘Popcorn’ for their first experience of a synthpop hit and he released his own version under the moniker of THE POPCORN ORCHESTRA in 1972. But while working on his first proper full length electronic album in 1976, Jarre adapted a melodic phrase from the late Gershon Kingsley’s composition as the main theme of what was to become the project’s lead single. That composition was ‘Oxygène IV’ and the rest is history.

Available on the album ‘Oxygène’ via Sony Music

https://jeanmicheljarre.com/


DAVID BOWIE Sound & Vision (1977)

Exploring a “whole new school of pretension” with his new creative muse Brian Eno, ‘Sound & Vision’ saw David Bowie capture a tense European aesthetic. Utilising an uplifting rhythm guitar hook and an ARP Solina string machine, the most distinctive feature was the pitch shifted percussion, produced by Tony Visconti feeding the snare drum though an Eventide H910 Harmonizer. The half instrumental track was a taster of the approach that was to come with the half instrumental parent album ‘Low’.

Available on the album ‘Low’ via EMI Music

https://www.davidbowie.com/


SPACE Magic Fly (1977)

SPACE was the brainchild of Didier Marouani who went under the pseudonym of Ecama and formed the collective in 1977 with Roland Romanelli and Jannick Top. Together with compatriot Jean-Michel Jarre and a certain Giorgio Moroder also in the charts, the space disco of the iconic ‘Magic Fly’ heralded the start of a new European electronic sound within the mainstream. With its catchy melody and lush accessible futurism, ‘Magic Fly’ sold millions all over the world.

Available on the album ‘Magic Fly’ via Virgin France

https://marouani.space/


DONNA SUMMER I Feel Love (1977)

Working with Donna Summer on an album called ‘I Remember Yesterday’, producer Giorgio Moroder wanted to feature a track that represented “the sound of the future”. Employing the Moog Modular system with an 8-step analogue sequencer plus a triplet delay to create the pulsing synthesizer lines and metronomic beat, ‘I Feel Love’ changed the course of music. Summer’s hypnotic Middle Eastern falsetto was an accident, coming as a result of the track being laid down outside of her usual vocal range.

Available on the album ‘I Feel Love: The Collection’ via Spectrum

http://donnasummer.com/


KRAFTWERK The Model (1978)

Using a Micromoog for its iconic hook, ‘The Model’ was inspired by KRAFTWERK’s visits to night clubs in the more vibrant city of Cologne 30km down the road from Düsseldorf where their iconic Kling Klang studio was based. There, they would observe beautiful models drinking champagne and seek their company. It was quite the antithesis of the robot image that the quartet were portraying. Sonically ahead of its time, it became a UK No1 four years after its initial release in 1982.

Available on the album ‘The Man Machine’ via EMI Music

http://www.kraftwerk.com/


SPARKS No1 Song In Heaven (1979)

In a creative rut following their massive UK success in the glam-era, the Mael Brothers had found ‘I Feel Love’ awe inspiring. A journalist friend put SPARKS into contact with Giorgio Moroder who had aspirations to work with a band and set to work with them immediately. The first result was the tremendous ‘No1 Song In Heaven’ where Russell Mael’s flamboyant falsetto fitted well with the electro-disco sound, while the programmed backing meant Ron Mael could maintain his image of doing nothing.

Available on the SPARKS album ‘No1 In Heaven’ via Repertoire Records

http://allsparks.com/


TUBEWAY ARMY Are Friends Electric? (1979)

Still using the group name of TUBEWAY ARMY at the behest of Beggars Banquet, the astoundingly long ‘Are Friends Electric?’ with its diabolus in musica structure became the entry point for many into electronic music. It was Synth Britannia’s ‘Starman’ moment when it was featured on ‘Top Of The Pops’ and Old Grey Whistle Test’ during the same week. When it reached No1 in the UK, life was never the same for Gary Numan, the pale-faced front man of what turned out to be a phantom band.

Available on the album ‘Replicas’ via Beggars Banquet

http://garynuman.com/


JOHN FOXX Underpass (1980)

Departing ULTRAVOX after the ‘Systems Of Romance’ album and now making music along with an ARP Odyssey, Elka Rhapsody and a Roland CR78 Compurhythm, John Foxx realised his own starker vision of electronic music. Engineered by Gareth Jones who was to later notably work with DEPECHE MODE, ‘Underpass’ channelled the dystopian writings of JG Ballard in his lyrical imagery, with Foxx added that the English novelist was “addressing what I’d come to call ‘the unrecognised present’.”

Available on the album ‘Metamatic’ via Metamatic Records

http://metamatic.com/


THE HUMAN LEAGUE The Black Hit Of Space (1980)

A track that “weighed more than Saturn”, ‘The Black Hit Of Space’ sounded extraordinary when it opened the second album by THE HUMAN LEAGUE. The Sci-Fi lyrics about an infinite pop hit were strangely out there while harsh screeching frequencies from overdriving the mixing desk; “We were also experimenting with guitar pedals” Martyn Ware told The Electricity Club, “All that was a reaction to the cleanness of the previous album so we overcompensated.”

Available on the album ‘Travelogue’ via Virgin Records

http://www.thehumanleague.co.uk/


JAPAN Quiet Life (1980)

The resonant heart of ‘Quiet Life’ was a Roland System 700 driven by Richard Barbieri’s snappy eight step Oberheim Mini-sequencer. Complimented by Mick Karn’s distinctively fluid fretless bass, Rob Dean’s clean guitar lines and David Sylvian’s lyrical conclusion that the band were outsiders in the environment they were born into, it was a sure-fire hit… but not yet as Ariola Hansa release it as a single in the UK until 1981. But meanwhile, JAPAN had invented DURAN DURAN!

Available on the album ‘Quiet Life’ via Sony Music

http://www.nightporter.co.uk/


OMD Messages (1980)

Within the environment of colder electronic pioneers such as Gary Numan and John Foxx, OMD were perhaps the first of the warmer synthesizer bands. ‘Messages’ utilised a pulsing ‘Repeat’ function on a Korg Micro-Preset shaped by hand twisting the octave knob. Re-recorded from the original album version under the helm of producer Mike Howlett, he harnessed a template of basic primary chord structures and one fingered melodies, netting a No13 UK chart hit.

Available on the album ‘Souvenir: The Singles Collection 1979 – 2019’ via Virgin Records

http://www.omd.uk.com


ULTRAVOX Astradyne (1980)

Of ‘Astradyne’, Billy Currie told The Electricity Club: “Midge started with that strong melody, Chris’ bass was also a very strong feature. I played a piano counter melody behind. The track was so strong that we felt at ease to lengthen it with a long textural piano bit that is sort of bell-like with the metronomic bass drum beats and the violin tremolo solo… Midge came up with that final section lift taking it out of the long ARP solo. I double it! It is very celebratory at the end…”

Available on the album ‘Vienna’ via Chrysalis/EMI Records

http://www.ultravox.org.uk/


VISAGE Fade To Grey (1980)

Conceived during soundchecks under the working title of ‘Toot City’ while they were playing on Gary Numan’s first concert tour, Chris Payne, Billy Currie and Ced Sharpley had recorded the track at Genetic Studios as a souvenir keepsake. Midge Ure later came up lyrics and a melody when the track was added to the debut VISAGE album and the rest was history. Capturing the cinematic pomp of the New Romantic movement in all its glory, ‘Fade To Grey’ became a No1 hit in West Germany.

Available on the album ‘Visage’ via Polydor Records

http://www.therealvisage.com/


DEPECHE MODE New Life (1981)

Written by Vince Clarke and produced by Daniel Miller, DEPECHE MODE fulfilled the Mute label founder’s vision of a teenage pop group with synthesizers that he had imagined and conceived for SILICON TEENS. Despite its danceable bubblegum appeal and catchy synthesizer hooks, ‘New Life’ also featured some intricate folk vocal harmonies which made it quite distinct from the chanty nature of THE HUMAN LEAGUE’s ‘The Sound Of The Crowd’ which was also out at the same time.

Available on the album ‘Speak & Spell’ via Mute Records

http://www.depechemode.com/


SIMPLE MINDS Theme For Great Cities (1981)

The expansive instrumental ‘Theme for Great Cities’ was initially been given away as a freebie having initially been part of ‘Sister Feelings Call’, a seven track EP given gratis to early purchasers of SIMPLE MINDS’ breakthrough fourth album ‘Sons & Fascination’. Starting with some haunting vox humana before a combination of CAN and TANGERINE DREAM takes hold, the rhythm section covered in dub echo drove what is possibly one of the greatest synth signatures ever!

Available on the album ‘Sons & Fascination / Sister Feelings Call’ via Virgin/EMI Records

http://www.simpleminds.com


SOFT CELL Tainted Love (1981)

SOFT CELL’s cover of ‘Tainted Love’ became ubiquitous as Synth Britannia’s first true crossover record, reaching No1 in UK, Germany, Australia and Canada while also breaking the US Top 10 a year later. Written by Ed Cobb, ‘Tainted Love’ was recorded by Gloria Jones and became a Wigan Casino favourite on the Northern Soul scene. As a fan of that scene, David Ball knew the song and took it into haunting electronic torch territory, while Marc Almond added an honestly spirited vocal.

Available on the album ‘Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret’ via Mercury Records

https://www.softcell.co.uk/


ASSOCIATES Party Fears Two (1982)

With its iconic honky tonk piano line and sophisticated arrangement, ‘Party Fears Two’ was a magnificent song about dealing with the perils of schizophrenia, made all the more resonant by Billy Mackenzie’s operatic prowess. It also kick started a brief period when ASSOCIATES subverted the UK charts with an avant pop approach that fitted in with the Synth Britannia template of the times. A Top10 hit and emotive to the nth degree, the original single version is still the best and total perfection.

Available on the album ‘The Very Best Of’ via Union Square

https://www.facebook.com/theassociatesofficial/


BLANCMANGE I’ve Seen The Word (1982)

Harrow College of Art students Neil Arthur and Stephen Luscombe were unlikely pop stars, but an appearance on the ‘Some Bizzare Album’ led to a deal with London Records as well as support slots with DEPECHE MODE and JAPAN. Using a Korg MS20 synched to a Linn Drum Computer as its rhythmic backbone, the haunting melancholy of ‘I’ve Seen The Word’ fused the sombre lyricism of JOY DIVISION with the melodies and textures of OMD via a Roland Jupiter 8.

Available on the album ‘Happy Families’ via Edsel Records

http://www.blancmange.co.uk/


CHINA CRISIS Christian (1982)

Merseyside duo CHINA CRISIS are probably the most under rated band of their generation. The haunting ‘Christian’ was a song about the fate of soldiers in the trenches during World War One. Slow and melancholic, ‘Christian’ was as unlikely a hit single as ‘Ghosts’ by JAPAN was, but in a far more open-minded and diverse period in pop music than today, acts with a less obvious rock ‘n’ roll outlook were generally in with a chance; it reached No12 in the UK singles charts.

Available on the album ‘Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms, Some People Think It’s Fun To Entertain’ via Caroline International

https://www.facebook.com/chinacrisisofficial/


NEW ORDER Temptation (1982)

‘Temptation’ was NEW ORDER’s self-produced electronic breakthrough away from the haunting legacy of JOY DIVISION. The recording itself was marvellously flawed, with Stephen Morris’ overdriven Simmons snare panned too far to the right while band members could also be heard calling instructions and tutting. The pulsing hypnotism of the triggered ARP Quadra and the iconic “oooh-oo-ooh” vocal refrain made ‘Temptation’ rather joyous and magical.

Available on the album ‘Singles’ via WEA Records

http://www.neworder.com/


BRONSKI BEAT Smalltown Boy (1984)

When Jimmy Somerville, Steve Bronski and the late Larry Steinbachek made their first ever TV appearance performing on BBC2’s ‘ORS’, BRONSKI BEAT were nothing short of startling, thanks to their look, their minimal synth sound and Somerville’s lonely earth shattering falsetto. The trio had sought to be more outspoken and political in their position as openly gay performers and the tale of ‘Smalltown Boy’ about a gay teenager leaving his family and fleeing his hometown made an important statement.

Available on the album ‘The Age Of Consent’ via London Records

http://www.bronskibeat.co.uk/


PET SHOP BOYS West End Girls (1985)

It was with the re-recorded Stephen Hague version of ‘West End Girls’ that PET SHOP BOYS hit No1 in both the UK and US in 1986. Interestingly, the character of its distinctive bass synth was achieved by Hague coercing a reluctant Chris Lowe into hand playing the riff. Meanwhile, the track fulfilled Neil Tennant’s concept of the duo sounding “like an English rap group” with a dour demeanour that was the antithesis of WHAM! It started an imperial phase for PET SHOP BOYS which included three more No1s.

Available on the album ‘PopArt’ via EMI Music

https://www.petshopboys.co.uk/


CAMOUFLAGE The Great Commandment (1988)

In today’s world, DEPECHE MODE influenced acts are common place but in 1988, this was highly unusual. Taking ‘Some Great Reward’ as their template, CAMOUFLAGE developed on the industrial flavoured synthpop of ‘Master & Servant’ and ‘People Are People’ which the Basildon boys had all but abandoned from ‘Black Celebration’ onwards. Probably the best single DM never recorded. while ‘The Great Commandment’ was a hit in Europe and the US, it made no impression in Britain.

Available on the CAMOUFLAGE album ‘The Singles’ via Polydor Records / Universal Music

http://www.camouflage-music.com/


ERASURE A Little Respect (1988)

Produced by Stephen Hague, ‘A Little Respect’ was perfection from the off with its lively combination of Vince Clarke’s pulsing programming and strummed acoustic guitar. As the busy rhythmical engine kicked in, Andy Bell went from a tenor to a piercing falsetto to provide the dynamic highs and lows that are always omnipresent in all the great pop songs like ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Careless Whisper’. Something of a crossover record for ERASURE, ‘A Little Respect’ was covered by WHEATUS in 2000.

Available on the album ‘Total Pop! – The First 40 Hits’ via Mute Records

http://www.erasureinfo.com/


DUBSTAR Not So Manic Now (1995)

DUBSTAR straddled Britpop with a twist of Synth Britannia. ‘Not So Manic Now’ was a song by Wakefield indie band BRICK SUPPLY, but the trio made it their own with the Northern lass earthiness of Sarah Blackwood providing the chilling commentary of an attack on a helpless pensioner. Stephen Hague’s wonderful production fused programmed electronics with guitars and cello in fine fashion, while the incessant programmed rhythms drove the song along without being obtrusive to the horrifying story.

Available on the album ‘Disgraceful’ via Food Records

http://dubstarofficial.co/


GOLDFRAPP Lovely Head (2000)

It is interesting to think that GOLDFRAPP were initially labelled as a trip-hop act. Their superb stratospheric debut ‘Felt Mountain’ had Ennio Morricone’s widescreen inflections but to accompany an ascent to the Matterhorn rather than a trek through a Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. The opening song ‘Lovely Head’ was laced with deviant sexual tension. Will Gregory’s mad Korg MS20 treatments on Alison Goldfrapp’s operatic screaming produced some thrilling musical moments.

Available on the album ‘Felt Mountain’ via Mute Records

https://www.goldfrapp.com/


MISS KITTIN & THE HACKER You & Us (2001)

Describing the relationship between artist and fan, this was another throbbing Moroder-inspired cacophony of electronic dance from Michel Amato with a dirty clanking Korg KR55 Rhythm used to great effect. Deliciously hypnotic, the swimmy ARP synths drowned any sorrows as the pulsing euphoria took a hold. Miss Kittin didn’t sing as much as deadpan her thoughts, but her sexy Grenoble charm carried off what was a rather superb Electroclash anthem.

Available on the album ‘The First Album’ via Nobodys Bizzness

http://www.misskittin.com/


LADYTRON Seventeen (2002)

LADYTRON became one of the first bands for many years to primarily use synthesizers as their tools of expression and attain critical acclaim. Their debut ‘604’showed electro potential in their initial quest to find ‘yesterday’s tomorrow’. With octave shifts galore to satirical lyrics about the X-Factor/Next Year’s Top Model generation, ‘Seventeen’ demonstrated the tactile nature of analogue synthesis that was key to a revival in fortunes for electronic pop in the 21st Century.

Available on the album ‘Light & Magic’ via Nettwerk

http://www.ladytron.com/


THE KNIFE Silent Shout (2006)

Probably the most influential electronic act to come out of Sweden are THE KNIFE. Those long winter nights certainly had their effect on siblings Karin and Olof Dreijer. ‘Silent Shout’ was hypnotic understated rave with the a quota of creepy Nordic eccentricity. The sharp appregiator and ambient percussion melted with Karin Dreijer’s heavily pitch-shifted low register vocals providing a menacing counterpoint to her younger brother’s vibrant electronic lattice.

Available on the album ‘Silent Shout’ via Brille Records

https://theknife.net/


MARSHEAUX Dream Of A Disco (2007)

Is a cover or is it Memorex? This interpolation of ‘Space Age Love Song’ by A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS provided MARSHEAUX with their most immediate number yet. Borrowing the uniformed look of CLIENT but applying a pure synthpop template, Marianthi Melitsi and Sophie Sarigiannidou became notable for their marketing masterstrokes. The parent ‘Peek-A-Boo’ CD included a paper bag ghost mask. Fans wore it, took pictures and sent them to the duo… around 3,500 pictures were gathered!

Available on the album ‘Peek-A-Boo’ via Undo Records

https://www.marsheaux.com/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
13th March 2020

GIORGIO MORODER Live in London

Since his return to making music again with ‘Racer’ in 2013, GIORGIO MORODER has been in demand as a DJ thanks to his glorious catalogue of productions spanning over five decades.

Despite this, the ever modest three-time Oscar and four-time Grammy Award winning Italian from South Tyrol has downplayed his role as an electronic music innovator and disco pioneer.

Having once stated that ’74 Is The New 24’, the 78 year old brought his first ever live tour to London’s Hammersmith Apollo for what was billed as ‘A Celebration of the 80s’, but which actually covered material from 1969 right up to the present day.

Leading a 13 piece ensemble comprising of a five piece band, a string quartet and four vocalists, the evening began senza il Maestro with the exotic if haunting overtones of ‘(Theme From) Midnight Express’, the 1978 track which as good as invented the currently fashionable Synthwave sub-genre.

But if that was an unexpected if welcome introduction to proceedings, when Moroder finally took his place on the stage behind a Minimoog, no-one was quite prepared for the amusing Schlager Kasefest of his 1969 million selling European hit ‘Looky Looky’! “It paid my rent for four years” he endearingly quipped, effectively preparing the audience for a fabulous glitterball evening that was firmly aimed at the populist vote and not intended to be taken too seriously.

As a producer known predominantly for working with female vocalists like Donna Summer, Chris Bennett, Debbie Harry, Irene Cara, Terri Nunn, Britney Spears, Sia and Kylie Minogue, a fine British threesome in Amy Diamond, Shanice Steele and Raya Clark had been assembled to do justice to vintage disco numbers such as ‘Love To Love You Baby’, ‘Bad Girls’ and ‘On The Radio’.

Steele was particularly impressive on the Donna Summer material and a rapturous ‘Flashdance… What A Feeling’ while Diamond held her own on ‘Right Here Right Now’ and ‘Take My Breath Away’, although the latter was slightly let down by the band with the song’s iconic synthetic fretless bassline virtually inaudible. But that was the only time the band faltered as they successfully grooved on DAFT PUNK’s ‘Giorgio By Moroder’ and kept a strict metronomic tempo on ‘Chase’.

Fairing less well however was flamboyant Dutchman Simon Feenstra; although he pulled off the rockier voice required on ‘Danger Zone’ from ‘Top Gun’, his conventional approach was unsuited to the unique monotone forever associated with ‘Together In Electric Dreams’ courtesy of Phil Oakey while perhaps surprisingly, he was underwhelming on ‘Never Ending Story’ with both tunes saved by enthusiastic crowd singalongs.

Moroder took his turn on the microphone again with the hypnotic throbbing electro of ‘From Here To Eternity’ with dazzling neon visuals to boot while for the rest of the show, he happily acted as cheerleader and watched his ensemble perform his work while occasionally banging a tambourine or phrasing on his vocoder.

He then gleefully told the story of how he invented “the sound of the future” as David Bowie and Brian Eno labelled it as he went through the component parts of Moog, white noise, Farfisa organ and bass drum that formed ‘I Feel Love’ with his band before a euphoric and powerful rendition of the song that indeed changed music and still sounds like the future over 40 years on!

The closing section of the show saw Moroder play tribute to his departed friends Donna Summer and David Bowie with their heavenly voices making their presence heard on versions of the Gothic drama of ‘Cat People (Putting Out Fire)’ and Jimmy Webb’s heartfelt epic ‘MacArthur Park’. Appropriately ending the main set with ‘Last Dance’, Moroder wasn’t done yet as he left his pulpit to join his singers at the front of the stage for some ‘Hot Stuff’, before a rousing instruction to all those present to ‘Call Me’.

As far as hits were concerned, GIORGIO MORODER delivered, although those who were hoping for more “electronic live to digital” or cooler soundtracks like ‘Metropolis’ or ‘Scarface’ will have been disappointed, while ‘Love’s Unkind’ and ‘No1 Song In Heaven’ were notable absentees in a very crowd pleasing setlist.

Yes, perhaps proceedings occasionally bordered on cruise ship cabaret, but from the minute Moroder went “OOM-MOW-MOW, PAPA-OOM-MOW-MOW”  on ‘Looky Looky’, his intent was to entertain and have a lot of fun.

The man has nothing more to prove and is now touring because he really wants to, so mission accomplished. Appropriately for a gentleman totally free of ego, tonight it was Moroder’s songs that were the stars of his show.

Popular music has been effectively mining the Moroder legend since 1975, so it is only right for him to have a platform to remind the world where it all came from. And as the majority of those attending left the Hammersmith Apollo with big smiles on their faces, it was a truly enjoyable reminder.

Now ain’t that what it’s all about??


GIORGIO MORODER 2019 live dates include:

Brussels Ancienne Belgique (9th April), Brussels Ancienne Belgique (10th April), Berlin Tempodrom (12th April), Düsseldorf Mitsubishi Electric Halle (13th April), Frankfurt Jahrhunderthalle (14th April), Amsterdam Paradiso (15th April), Moscow Crocus City Hall (13th May), Vienna Gasometer (14th May), Budapest Papp Laszlo Arena (15th May), Milan Teatro Ciak (17th May), Florence Nelson Mandela Forum (18th May), Rome Auditorium Parco della Musica (19th May), Amsterdam Paradiso (21st May), Paris Grand-Rex (22nd May), Copenhagen Store Vega (24th May), Odense Tinderbox Festival (29th June), Brussels Summer Festival (16th August), Biddinghuizen Lowlands Festival (17th August)

https://www.giorgiomoroder.com/

https://www.facebook.com/GiorgioMoroderOfficial

https://twitter.com/giorgiomoroder

https://www.instagram.com/giorgiomoroder/

https://soundcloud.com/giorgiomoroder

The Spotify playlist ‘TEC Gets Morodered’ compiled by The Electricity Club can be listened to at: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/05D4jefsqlqNpDXs31gW1u


Text and Photos by Chi Ming Lai
5th April 2019

GIORGIO MORODER 74 Is The New 24

If there was ever a musical statement of intent, it has been made by GIORGIO MORODER’s most recent offering ‘74 Is The New 24’, the calling card for his brand new album out in 2015.

74 is the new 24It shows once again how electronic dance music should be done, and that there is no need to stoop down to guetta level or the retarded formulaic drops of harris and garrix… and no, their names do not merit the use of capital letters!

Distinctly Giorgio, with hints of his own ‘Chase’ from ‘Midnight Express’ as well as his defining productions for DONNA SUMMER and SPARKS, ‘74 Is The New 24’ could almost be a medley of all his pioneering work.

But he has given plenty to music so it is now time for him to grab it all back.

The record will be GIORGIO MORODER’s first solo album in 30 years and is set to feature SIA, BRITNEY SPEARS, KYLIE MINOGUE, CHARLI XCX and FOXES. Will ‘74 Is The New 24’ reach the heights of ‘From Here To Eternity’ or ‘E=MC2’? It really doesn’t matter because based on this single and its predecessor ‘Racer’, Moroder has shown those chancers on their laptops how it’s actually done!

As Da Maestro put it himself: “Dance music doesn’t care where you live. It doesn’t care who your friends are. It doesn’t care how much money you make. It doesn’t care if you’re 74 or if you are 24 because… 74 is the new 24!”

So if ‘74 Is The New 24’, then Team TEC must be the new teenagers!


’74 Is The New 24′ is available as a download single via Giorgio Moroder Music LCC under exclusive license to Sony

http://www.moroder.net/

https://www.facebook.com/GiorgioMoroderOfficial


Text by Chi Ming Lai
30th December 2014

A Beginner’s Guide To GIORGIO MORODER

Everybody Calls Me Giorgio

moroder-system700
There has been a resurgent interest in the work of GIORGIO MORODER thanks to his own life story being appropriately set to music by DAFT PUNK for the song ‘Giorgio By Moroder’ on the helmeted duo’s new album ‘Random Access Memories’. But it was DONNA SUMMER’s ‘I Feel Love’ that brought the legendary producer to the world’s attention.

Born Hansjörg Giovanni  Moroder in 1940, the Italian began his career as a solo artist in Germany before immersing himself in production with musical partner Pete Bellotte at Musicland Studios in Munich. In 1973, they came across an American singer who had been touring in a theatre production of ‘Hair’.

That’s singer was DONNA SUMMER and together they went on to record the unforgettably orgasmic ‘Love To Love You Baby’. It was submitted to Casablanca Records boss Neil Bogart who loved it so much, he kept playing it continuously at a party he was hosting. Bogart later contacted Moroder to make it longer. The final album version clocked in at over 17 minutes, but the edited single became Moroder and Summer’s breakthrough international hit in 1975.

Sometime later while recording a historical concept album with DONNA SUMMER which showcased various musical styles through the ages called ‘I Remember Yesterday’, Moroder wanted to feature a track that represented “the sound of the future”.

Most of Moroder’s previous work had utilised conventional instrumentation and orchestration, save the odd texturing using string machines or Minimoog.

But employing the Moog Modular system with an 8-step analogue sequencer plus a triplet delay to create the pulsing synthesizer lines and metronomic beat, the resultant song ‘I Feel Love’ changed the course of music when it hit No1 around the world in 1977. It was dance music without the funk, which at the time was quite unusual as it had been one of the main constituents of disco. Incidentally, Summer’s hypnotic, almost Arabic falsetto was an accident as inadvertently, ‘I Feel Love’ had been recorded in a key outside of Summer’s usual range.

It was a year which also saw electronic hits in the UK by JEAN MICHEL JARRE, SPACE and DAVID BOWIE. Bowie was at this time resident in Berlin recording ‘Heroes’ with BRIAN ENO and remembered: “Eno came running in and said ‘I have heard the sound of the future’. He puts on ‘I Feel Love’ by Donna Summer and said ‘this is it, look no further, this single is going to change the sound of club music for the next 15 years’, which was more or less right.”

1977 also saw the release of KRAFTWERK’s ‘Trans Europe Express’ album which had a big effect on the New York dance scene. Although KRAFTWERK had a big international hit single with ‘Autobahn’ in 1975 and there had been HOT BUTTER’s ‘Popcorn’ before it, both were considered novelty records at the time and did not indicate the start of any burgeoning movement. For that reason, 1977 can effectively be considered as Year Zero in modern electronic pop. So for ‘I Feel Love’ alone, GIORGIO MORODER’s place in music history is assured.

Relocating to Hollywood after his music for ‘Midnight Express’ won him an Oscar, the huge success of ‘Flashdance…What A Feeling’ for IRENE CARA in 1983 led Moroder to lucrative commissions such as the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. This resulted in the massive, but totally dreadful AOR hit ‘Reach Out’. He was then asked to contribute the love theme for an aviation action film called ‘Top Gun’.

Moroder has recorded many significant pieces of work; so here are twenty pieces of interest that tell the story of the pioneer’s creative journey in electronics with a nomination restriction of one track per project, but also omitting some of his more obvious hits which the world already knows and loves such as ‘I Feel Love’, ‘Call Me’ ‘Flashdance…What A Feeling’, ‘The Never Ending Story’ and the inevitable ‘Together In Electric Dreams’…


GIORGIO Son Of My Father (1971)

son of my fatherFeaturing a distinctive Minimoog line and solo, Moroder’s first widely known composition with guitarist Pete Bellotte was actually his fourth German solo hit single. With catchy but bizarre lyrics, ‘Son Of My Father’ was a schaffel stomper coated with assorted effects such as phased drums from Keith Forsey. The prototype of the electro glam template later popularised by GOLDFRAPP, CHICORY TIP’s copycat cover with future SEX PISTOLS’ producer Chris Thomas playing the Minimoog part was a UK No1 in 1972.

Available on the GIORGIO album ‘Son Of My Father’ via Repertoire Records

https://www.discogs.com/artist/4205-Giorgio-Moroder


GIORGIO From Here To Eternity (1977)

from here to eternityOn a roll from his pioneering work with DONNA SUMMER, his first solo album for Casablanca Records centred around this throbbing electronic disco number. Almost trance-like, ‘From Here To Eternity’ featured vocodered and conventional voices. Often mistaken for being KRAFTWERK, it actually prompted the Kling Klang quartet to move towards a more computerised sound for their 1978 album ‘The Man Machine’… Moroder’s influence can be clearly heard on ‘Spacelab’ and ‘Metropolis’.

Available on the GIORGIO album ‘From Here To Eternity’ via Repertoire Records

https://soundcloud.com/giorgiomoroder/


DONNA SUMMER Working The Midnight Shift (1977)

once upon a timeFrom an ambitious double album called ‘Once Upon A Time’ consisting of four distinct approaches, ‘Working The Midnight Shift’ formed part of an all-electronic three song segued suite entitled ‘Act2’ that took up one side of vinyl. Developing ‘I Feel Love’ to the next level, Summer’s wispy falsetto was supplemented by raspier gospel-like harmonies and a grander cavernous setting within which the rhythmical electronics and descending synth riffs took a heavenly hold.

Available on the DONNA SUMMER album ‘Once Upon a Time’ via Casablanca / Universal Records

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialDonnaSummer/


GIORGIO MORODER Chase (1978)

Driven by an intense slamming and syncopated by popping pulses, ‘Chase’ was commissioned by director Alan Parker for the graphic prison drama ‘Midnight Express’ who wanted some electronic accompaniment to the crucial chase scene of the film in the style of ‘I Feel Love’. Working with Harold Faltermeyer who was later to find fame in his own right with ‘Axel F’ and as producer of PET SHOP BOYS’ ‘Behaviour’ album, the bassline from Moroder’s own 1976 cover of ‘Knights In White Satin’ was reappropriated.

Available on the soundtrack album ‘Midnight Express’ via Casablanca Records / Universal Records or the compilation ‘The Best Of Giorgio Moroder’ via Repertoire Records

http://www.moroder.net/


GIORGIO MORODER Evolution (1978)

battlestar gallacticaMoroder’s composition for the original ‘Battlestar Galactica’ film was a prolonged battle between man and machine, rather like the film itself. Wobbly treated bass, symphonic synths, and heavy rock guitar were augmented by the simple percussive style of Keith Forsey who was noted for being able to play a kick drum for up to 15 minutes at a time without fluctuating his beat… that skill was quite handy for this lengthy instrumental that took up an entire side of the album.

Originally on the GIORGIO MORODER album ‘Music From Battlestar Galactica & Other Original Compositions’ via Casablanca Records. Now available on the GIORGIO album ‘E=MC2’ as a bonus track via Repertoire Records

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0002380/


MUNICH MACHINE Introducing CHRIS BENNETT It’s For You (1978)

munich machineRumoured to be using songs written for DONNA SUMMER but rejected by Casablanca label boss Neil Boggart, MUNICH MACHINE was one of the many outlets for the extremely prolific Moroder. Fronted on the second album by jazz singer CHRIS BENNETT, ‘It’s For You’ was the standout song on an album that combined electronics, flutes and orchestrations with a coy playfulness. The album was noted for its depiction of a naked Bennett posing with two pre-‘Transformers’ robots on the back cover.

Available on the MUNICH MACHINE album ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’ via Casablanca Records

http://chrisbennett.com/


GIORGIO What A Night (1979)

E=MC²Having acquired Roland’s new System 700 modular and an MC8 Micro-composer to control it, work started on ‘E=MC2’ which was touted as the first “electronic live-to-digital” album with “music programmed as bursts of energy”. This concept allowed for an uptempo funkiness previously unheard on sequencer based music to come into play. And with the electronically treated vocals and euphoric energy of the marvellous ‘What A Night’, the sound of DAFT PUNK was inadvertently being invented!

Available on the GIORGIO album ‘E=MC2’ via Repertoire Records

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Giorgio-Moroder/108533245891626


JAPAN Life In Tokyo (1979)

japan-life-in-tokyoThe bridge between growly funk-rock JAPAN and the more familiar artier and mannered version of the group, David Sylvian submitted ‘European Son’ for the session in Los Angeles but it was rejected by Moroder. Instead, the Italian offered several of his demos, of which, Sylvian picked the one he considered to be the worst so that he could stamp more of his own vision for JAPAN’s developing synthesized sound. Ahead of its time, unbeknown to Moroder and Sylvian, they had just conceived DURAN DURAN!

Available on the JAPAN album ‘The Very Best Of Japan’ via Virgin / EMI Records

http://www.nightporter.co.uk/


SPARKS No1 Song In Heaven (1979)

In a creative rut following their massive UK success in the glam-era, the Mael Brothers had found ‘I Feel Love’ awe inspiring. A journalist friend put SPARKS into contact with Moroder who had aspirations to work with a band and set to work with them immediately. The first result was the tremendous ‘No1 Song In Heaven’ where Russell Mael’s flamboyant falsetto fitted well with the electro-disco sound, while the programmed backing meant Ron Mael could maintain his image of doing nothing.

Available on the SPARKS album ‘No1 in Heaven’ via Repertoire Records

http://allsparks.com/


DONNA SUMMER Our Love (1979)

ourloveEvery wondered where NEW ORDER got that iconic rapid-fire drum machine intro for ‘Blue Monday’? Then look no further than the brilliant ‘Our Love’. Not content with inventing Hi-NRG, Moroder thought he’d formulate Italo disco as well! Working closely with Harald Faltermeyer and Peter Bellotte, there was a distinct edge to the synthesizers too with the tight sequences synonymous with the Moroder sound considerably beefed up for a harder club impact.

Available on the DONNA SUMMER album ‘Bad Girls’ via Casablanca Records

http://donnasummer.com/


GIORGIO MORODER Night Drive (1980)

americangigoloEssentially a funky instrumental version of BLONDIE’s ‘Call Me’ in 4/4 time but without the chorus, the cool dramatics blended with slithering synth sweeps on ‘Night Drive’ could be seen as the forerunner of COLLINS and tracks such as KAVINSKY’s ‘Nightcall’ which coincidentally was co-produced by DAFT PUNK’s Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo. Incidentally, both ‘Night Drive’ and ‘Call Me’ from the Richard Gere film ‘American Gigolo’ were variations of a Moroder demo entitled ‘Man Machine’.

Available on the soundtrack album ‘American Gigolo’ via Polydor / Universal Records

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080365/


DAVID BOWIE Cat People (1982)

david-bowie-cat-peopleWith a moody slowed down introduction, the Dame croons over his only collaboration with Moroder before some gothic rock elements and female gospel backing singers take hold, before a powerful burst of tribal drumming from Keith Forsey. Fittingly as the song was for an arthouse horror movie, this now sounds like a blueprint for ‘More’ by THE SISTERS OF MERCY! Incidentally, ‘Cat People’ was one of Forsey’s last recordings with Moroder before moving onto his own production career with notably BILLY IDOL.

Available on the soundtrack album ‘Cat People’ via MCA Records and the DAVID BOWIE album ‘The Best Of 1980/1987’ via EMI Records

http://davidbowie.com/


DEBBIE HARRY Rush Rush (1983)

debbie-harry-rushWith Forsey and Faltermeyer flying the nest, Moroder employed new sidemen Richie Zito on guitar and Arthur Barrow who could handle anything thrown at him from slap bass and synths to Linn Drum programming! Having worked with Moroder on ‘Call Me’  DEBBIE HARRY returned for the soundtrack of the Al Pacino gangster flick ‘Scarface’ for ‘Rush Rush’. Premiering a new style that pushed a rockier energy, Moroder avoided using the Fairlight CMI to keep his productions as distinct as possible.

Available on the soundtrack album ‘Scarface’ via Geffen Records

http://www.blondie.net/


BERLIN No More Words (1984)

Berlin-No-More-WordsBERLIN were one of the first American new wave acts to be inspired by European bands like KRAFTWERK and ULTRAVOX, so it was natural that they would aspire to work with Moroder. By 1984, both were keen on achieving a more FM friendly sound following their synthpop beginnings. The Linn driven synth rock fusion resulted in BERLIN’s first Top 30 US hit single ‘No More Words’ which sounded not unlike HEART fronting ULTRAVOX! It was the start of a relationship that would ultimately end the band.

Available on the BERLIN albums ‘Love Life’ or ‘Best Of Berlin 1979-1988’ via Geffen Records

http://www.berlinpage.com/band


FREDDIE MERCURY Love Kills (1984)

Freddie_Mercury_Love_Kills_Single_1984Moroder acquired the rights to the cult Fritz Lang film ‘Metropolis’ and colourised the film with a contemporary MTV friendly soundtrack. The launch single ‘Love Kills’ featured QUEEN’s lead vocalist over a starkly percussive electronic track with an operatic rock fusion and neo-baroque interludes. The song’s guitar solo is often mistaken for Mercury’s bandmate Brian May but is actually Richie Zito who does the fret work. The title became sadly poignant when Mercury passed away in 1991.

Available on the soundtrack album ‘Metropolis’ via Columbia Records

http://www.queenonline.com/en/the-band/members/freddie-mercury/


GIORGIO MORODER Ivory Tower (1984)

Neverending_story_CDP7_92708The B-side of LIMAHL’s international hit ‘The Never Ending Story’ was a wondrous solo Moroder offering set at 6/8 called ‘Ivory Tower’. Also from ‘The Never Ending Story’ film based on a German fantasy novel by Michael Ende, this uplifting and rousing instrumental was also used as incidental music for the grid positions summary at the start of each F1 race during the BBC’s ‘Grand Prix’ programme… now Moroder and racing, that’s an interesting concept!!

Available on the soundtrack album ‘The Never Ending Story’ via EMI Records

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088323/


PHILIP OAKEY & GIORGIO MORODER Now (1985)

Despite the worldwide success of ‘Together In Electric Dreams’ in late 1984, the ever morose Philip Oakey was quite ambivalent, considering the music to be slightly old fashioned. However, it did better than anything from THE HUMAN LEAGUE’s lukewarm ‘Hysteria’ album. Virgin Records swiftly despatched Oakey to record an album with Moroder. ‘Now’ was an epically stabbing song with Oakey’s heartfelt commentary on economic corruption with mighty backing from Moroder sidekicks Barrow and Zito.

Available on the album ‘Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder’ via Virgin / EMI Records

http://www.thehumanleague.co.uk/


BERLIN Take My Breath Away (1986)

take my breath awayMoroder and Terri Nunn got on very well during BERLIN’s ‘Love Life’ sessions so he asked her to sing on a ballad he had written with his Ferrari mechanic Tom Whitlock entitled ‘Take My Breath Away’. With its distinctive fretless bass line played on a DX7, heartfelt lyrics and unforgettable key change, it was a No1 around the world but the success was bittersweet. The song was unrepresentative of BERLIN’s previous work and the band fell apart. Meanwhile Moroder won his third Oscar!

Available on the soundtrack album ‘Top Gun’ via Columbia Records and the BERLIN album ‘Best Of Berlin 1979-1988’ via Geffen Records

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092099/


SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK 21st Century Boy (1986)

Sigue_Sigue_Sputnik_21st_Century_BoyThe hype surrounding SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK and an alleged million pound advance from EMI caused much resentment in the press. Developing the Cyberpunk sound which crossed frantic rockabilly with modern technology like SUICIDE on speed, Moroder threw in the kitchen sink on the quintet’s debut album ‘Flaunt It’. ’21st Century Boy’ was the superior younger brother to the slightly formless collage of ‘Love Missile F1-11’, even if to the untrained ear, the two songs sounded virtually identical!

Available on the SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK album ‘Flaunt It’ via EMI Records

http://www.sputnik2.com/


DAFT PUNK Giorgio By Moroder (2013)

giorgio by moroder-Photography Hedi SlimaneIn an unusual collaboration, Moroder recorded some autobiographical monologue for DAFT PUNK to build a musical homage around. Although influenced more by the conventionally flavoured disco of his ‘I Wanna Funk With You Tonight’ and ‘Love To Love You Baby’ period rather than his pioneering electronic phase, ‘Giorgio By Moroder’ possesses a wonderful groove assisted by all manner of machines, freeform drumming, guitar solos and some jazzy improvisation over its 9 minutes.

Available on the DAFT PUNK album ‘Random Access Memories’ via Columbia Records

https://www.daftpunk.com/


GIORGIO MORODER Racer (2013)

giorgio-moroder-racer-1With his story being told to a brand audience courtesy of DAFT PUNK and his DJ services being sought after around the world, Moroder returned with a new solo recording. Commissioned by Google Chrome for their online game ‘Racer’, the piano line is like ULTRAVOX gone disco while the whirring synths, octave shifts, robot voices and trancey gates are like a history of electronic dance music.  Moroder is making club music today that is as vital as any young pretender with a set of double decks and laptop.

Available free via https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Giorgio_Moroder_Racer

https://twitter.com/GIORGIOMORODER_


Text by Chi Ming Lai
23rd July 2013, updated 1st May 2018