Giorgio Moroder Week – more Summer than Donna

The late nod to a summer in the UK must have been down to this short season, one dedicated to the art of Giorgio…

To think Western culture peaked in 1984…

It’s bright and rather pleasant in London right now and I’m going to take all the credit.

In August I attempted to prop up the ‘British summer’ with an impromptu week of classics from the legend who should top everyone’s list of favourite Italians. Giorgio Moroder. The ‘tache, the glasses the disco, the cool. Since 2013 he’s been touring his classics around the world and found time to release Déjà Vu, his 17th studio album of collaborations (Britney, Sia, Kylie, Foxes…). Shamefully, I am not being paid a cent to promote it…

Giorgio Moroder Deja Vu
Sad face.

No, this was totally selfless. I don’t even like the summer that much. It was the modern equivalent of a sun dance, this time made to the arch-producer and King of Electro-Synth. And… It worked! Look outside, it worked! I know right, my X-Men powers grow! Surely it can’t last.

But before the weather front they’re affectionately calling ‘Beast’ brings snow to Northern Europe next week there’s just time to smugly collect it all together and bask in the collective glow of Moroder’s back catalogue.

A Sun Dance to the King of Electro-Synth

It was a week governed by my complete music snobbery, though considering that covers New Romantic, New Wave, Punk and Electro-Synth you’d barely notice. And as usual with these things, there were some unexpected findings.

If there were any rules it was to maximise the 12″ singles and cross a gamut of genres. Not as hard as you may think with GM, although there was pain. Donna Summer’s MacArthur Park didn’t make the cut.

What really struck me lining these up is the consistency across collaborations as diverse as Bowie, Sparks, Berlin and Mercury. While his self-proclaimed finest hour maybe that Top film tune with Berlin, it’s notably lacking the distinctive strong ‘sound and style’ that runs through much of his work. Daft Punk was right to pay the ultimate tribute on RAM.

A strong start and a quite unbelievable song. It’s almost bigger than disco itself. When I go on Event Horizon Discs, this would probably make my top five. “First up. 1977. I. Feel. Love. 12″. A great start, but it’s only going to get better…”

“Blondie was nowt but a disco band. Call Me. Version Discotheque – #SemaineMoroder” – oddly that attracted criticism, but it wasn’t sarcastic. Once I had a Love AKA the Disco Song and its variants proved the point in 1975.

If 2015’s done anything, it’s confirmed that Sparks as one of my main bands. I saw them just a couple of weeks ago. Extraordinary how fresh and full of energy they are nearly five decades on. Incredible that, as someone pointed out recently, they’ve successfully changed their style as many times as Bowie (after surfacing at the same time) but barely touched his renown. And they didn’t even give in to a decade long slump along the way. During the glorious disco period that produced their second-biggest song, there was one man they had to turn to. “Giorgio Moroder week continues – for most, two Sparks albums would be a career peak. The Number One Song in Heaven.”

“Moroder and Mercury – Love Kills in its originally intended Metropolis enhancing form.” One of my earliest albums was The Freddie Mercury album. I think it even affected my vocal range (pitch-perfect to my ear), but I went years without realising the origins of this song – managing to haunt with an oppressive wall of sound. I still haven’t seen this re-scored Metropolis. I will.

“Moroder week bursts into New Wave with the Life in Tokyo Maxi.” this song wraps itself around your mind. The Moroder rhythm is familiar not pastiche. If anything it proves how capable Moroder was of escaping disco and spearheading the extraordinary sonic adventures that awaited in the 1980s. Yes, sonic adventures.

You may be seeing a pattern by now, but it’s a brilliant one… So let’s dip back to film where he broke it. I mean, the video’s far better than the film…

#MoroderWeek pelts on to Moroder’s film scores and remember, his self-confessed “finest hour” 29 years ago.

While in film mode, I can’t remember what was rocking the streets of London on 8th August at all (roadworks?) Whatever it was, it prompted me to say this: “Perfect for the streets of London tonight. Moroder makes Scarface…”

“Moroder and Bowie. With an odd video that manages to give away nothing about Schrader’s 80s Cat People. At all.” It was hard keeping this under my cat-skin stovepipe hat. A song More recently used to brilliant effect in 2009’s Inglorious Basterds – one of that precious list of songs Quentin Tarantino is slowly rolling out in his films: Prime heist material if you ask me.

Right up to the present, and while the summer radio waves have been full of Déjà Vu, it’s hard to find the charm in it. “Modern Moroder – forgoing Sia for Britney… Complete with sound glasses.”

https://vimeo.com/126036394

Actually wait, as of right now – there’s a lyric video (warning: it’s flashy, very flashing light flashy)! And features a horrifically scary version of Tron-Moroder. In its way: Outstanding.

And then came the end, so quickly, the work is done. And a great cameo for Top of the Pops that mashes two Moroder tracks together, From Here to Eternity – huge and influential but no great favourite of mine, followed by more Donna Summer, because why not? . “An extended end to #MoroderWeek #tache. TOTP, Stewpot &… Edmonds- “It’s number one in the discos in the States”…

A great help to GM’s resurgence, Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories earned some swift criticism, but as it ran through the history of dance music it had the grace to save of its biggest honours for the main man. “Replacing Parkinson with Daft Punk was a wise choice. Moroder by Giorgio. #Moroderweek

Anyone who knows me understands that there’s only one place this could end. The single edit’s even better than the 12″ – utterly extraordinary. Inevitably, it’s the one video where the preview struggles to work, but as I write it comes on the radio. Pure magic and surely a big part of the sun still shining…

“And so #MoroderWeek ends. Is there a better pop song? To think Western culture peaked in 1984.”

To more Moroder…

7 thoughts on “Giorgio Moroder Week – more Summer than Donna

Add yours

  1. Blimey, breaking news: On Ken Bruce’s Tracks of My Years – Nick Rhodes of ‘the’ Duran Duran just proclaimed “I feel Love” the start of modern music. Hard to disagree.

    Like

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