By MATT CARTER // Iconic producer of film music and grandfather of EDM will appear at Soul'd Out next Friday.
In the Summer of 2013 something happened on the Daft Punk album “Random Access Memories”. Track 3 starts with the first-person account of one man’s iconic life story. As the song continues, you can hear in his gentle European accent the passing of time, as though he was some primordial force at the origin of electronic dance music.
“I knew the synthesizer. Why don’t I use the synthesizer? Which IS the sound of the future,” he recollects candidly, before explaining how he discovered synthetic drum sounds through the beats of a metronome.
Who is this man? And could this be some sort of melodrama? Quickly your eyes move to the track list: “Giorgio by Moroder.” And if either of those names don’t ring a bell of association, there’s a good reason why. The iconic 76-year-old producer has been taking a much needed siesta for more than twenty years. And this Daft Punk track was his official relaunch as a hitmaker since his storied career took a hiatus in the early 90s.
Looking back at his catalog, you’d be hard-pressed not to discover one of your treasured childhood films among his scores. And if you were a young person in the late 70s, there wasn’t an ass in the disco that went unshaken when Moroder produced Donna Summer hits such as “Hot Stuff” and “I Feel Love.”
David Bowie, Blondie… the song during the sex scene in Top Gun. His list of producer credits reads like one at the center of major pop culture epochs. And yet he still had time in the 80s to collaborate with men who had for more bizarre hair styles than his own. Phil Oakey of the Human League worked with Moroder on a collaborative album in 1985, while Limahl from Kajagoogoo sang on the Moroder produced theme to “The Neverending Story.” The German composure Harold Faltermeyer, who was responsible for the synth-pop hit "Axel F" in Beverly Hills Copy, was even one of Moroder's proteges. His synthesizer aesthetic would become a movie score hallmark until he went dormant in 1992.
So why the comeback now? Because Daft Punk put him on their disco yacht rock album? Well… yes. Moroder has found a rebirth with a younger generation of dance music fans, and it’s not exactly by resting on the laurels of his studio work. He’s now going back to basics by rolling up the sleeves, putting on the headphones, and spinning for his fans, young and old.
During his DJ sets, Moroder’s performance is a funky historical tapestry of his chart toppers and film themes; you’re essentially seeing a production giant awakened from slumber. He may appear to be human, but within him is a supernatural spark to create millions of happy moments for his fans and moviegoers alike. And this guy refuses to stop, leading us to believe that his pivot to DJ is of the “don’t-call-it-a-reboot” variety.
Even if you learned that Moroder was recently connected to a vast money laundering scandal through a Swiss bank, would that really tarnish his musical legacy? Hardly, not when his music so powerfully stands the taste of time. If you close your eyes while listening you can see a giant flying dog soaring through Fantasia, or Richard Gere on a late night drive turning tricks.
Moroder’s performance at Roseland on April 21 will not only be a rare occasion to see a mastermind at work, it’s also your chance to pay tribute to the work of a man that is unmatched as a titan of the music industry. Don’t delay, euphoric nostalgia is just a ticket away.