Giorgio Moroder is without the shadow of a doubt one of the most influential artists from the past 40 years, thanks to his pioneering synth work in the Seventies, with hit singles such as Donna Summer's classic 'I Feel Love', Blondie's "Call Me", and his Oscar-winning 'Midnight Express' soundtrack.
The return of a musical legend is always welcome, and disco fans and synthesizer obsessives should be very excited about the soon-to-be-released new album by Giorgio Moroder, '74 Is The New 24' - his first full-lenght LP in over 30 years! On this album he collaborates with a host of singers such as Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Charlie XCX and Sia.
The time is right for a Moroder revival: the rise and rise of EDM owns more than just a little to Moroder's pioneering work, and in the past few years the legendary producer and songwriter has been more visible than he had been in a long time. He influenced a whole new generation of musicians who are into synthesizers, including chart toppers Daft Punk, who collaborated with Moroder on their last - and most successful - album, 'Random Access Memories'.
It seems that in 2015 Moroder is as relevant as ever, and still playing cutting edge instruments: on his most recent TV appearance (on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show in the US) he played a track from his new album, using a Roland AIRA System 1 Plug-Out Synth:
He's also become a high-profile DJ, appearing in festivals and events worldwide.
Exciting Giorgio Moroder news have hit the web recently: on the video for his new song with Sia, 'Deja Vu', the new Novation Moroder Nova synth can be spotted!
The MoroderNova is a limited-edition version of the popular Novation MiniNova synthesizer, as it shares the same design and controls:
Giorgio chose to use the Novation MiniNova for his recent American DJ debut at Deep Space in NYC in 2013, and so the idea to collaborate on a new limited-edition Novation synth seemed obvious. Based on the MiniNova, MoroderNova is pre-loaded with Moroder-approved synth patches from his greatest productions. The numbered run of 500 signature MoroderNovas have a custom design and come with a certificate of authenticity.
The MoroderNova will be instantly collectible, limited to only 500 units worldwide, and is available to pre-order now.
The signature sounds identify some of Giorgio's most seminal moments in music. From the timbres of his disco classics with bands such as Sparks and Donna Summer, to the incredible sounds of the Top Gun and Scarface soundtracks, and his recent work with Daft Punk, Novation’s sound designers have matched each and every one to the original. With access to these you'll be able to draw inspiration from the works of one of the most influential producers alive today.
Here's the video where the MoroderNova made its first, mysterious appearance:
THE GIORGIO MORODER GEAR GUIDE
In an era when analogue synthesizers where king, Giorgio Moroder was perhaps the musician who most successfuly used them. Donna Summer's iconic 'I Feel Love' was almost exclusively done on Moog Modular. Even hi-hat sounds were created with Moog Synths, by generating white noise and cutting certain frequencies.
Another landmark recording from the seventies is his 'The Chase' theme from the 'Midnight Express' soundtrack. Despite soem people thinking otherwise, no sequencers were used. The basslines were played on a Moog Minimoog, with some AMS Digital Delay. The main melody was played on an analogue Roland SH-2000. You can also a flanger throughout the song, which is believed to be the classic MXR Flanger. Other gear used on the soundtrack include ARP/Solina string ensemble, Fender Rhodes ep, Hohner Clavinet and piano.
One of the most classic Giorgio Moroder photos of the period is from 1979, when he released his solo album 'E=MC2'. The photo shows him standing in front of two Roland System 700 modular synths, a Roland MC-8 Microcomposer, a Minimoog and an ARP 2600 (the precursor to the popular ARP Odyssey).
Roland MC-8 Micro Composer:
The MC-8 was one of the earliest CV/Gate sequencers. It was called by Roland a "computer music composer" and was considered revolutionary when first released in 1977. The MC-8 provided eight control voltage outputs and eight gate outputs, as well as a six-bit multiplex output with a special seventh bit set aside for portamento control. It went on to be used by many other synth-based artists, from Kraftwerk to Tangerine Dream and Hans Zimmer.
By the Eighties, Moroder was well-established as one of the world's leading producers and film-score composers. He worked with names such as Blondie, Sparks, Human League as well as scoring hit films such as Scarface, American Gigolo, The Never Ending Story and Flashdance.
Some of the other gear he used over the years include:
Sequential Circuits Prophet 5:
One of the first fully programmable polyphonic analog synths, the Prophet 5 is considered by many the most classic synthesizer of the eighties! It is capable of a delightful analog sound unique to Sequential's Prophet series in which the P5 was King! Five voice polyphony - two oscillators per voice and a white noise generator.
Roland Jupiter 8
Alongside the Prophet 5, the other classic 1980s synth, an iconic instrument that's been used by a who's-who of eighties music, and is still considered the best ever analogue synth made by Roland. Moroder said he's used this a lot in the 80's, such as in the Scarface soundtrack.
The OB-8 is a very warm and rich sounding eight voice polyphonic synthesizer with a classic Oberheim sound. The OB-8 was used on Airwolf and possibly on Scarface as well.
Another classic synth, perhaps the most well-loved by Yamaha, the CS-80 (which many hope Yamaha will resurrect!) was used on Scarface, too.
Synclavier Digital Sampler Synthesizer
MORODER - THE DJ YEARS
In 2013, Giorgio Moroder surprised everyone, by staging his comeback... as a DJ! He said he's never been to clubs in the seventies, because he was too busy in the studio, writing the hits that the clubs would play! But it seems that, aged 73, he finally found some time to actually join the party, and since then he's been a regular at music events.
If there's one lesson Giorgio Moroder has taught us, is to always embrace new technology. Today, for instance, he only records on Pro-Tools, finding it much more convenient ("It’s easy, the recording is perfect... almost everybody mixes in Pro Tools, so why not record in it." he said on a Noisey interview).
There's no better way to finish this Giorgio Moroder Gear Guide than leaving with the words from man himself, who in a recent interview also said:
"I love digital, because anyone with a little bit of talent and some passion can make great music... whereas 25, 30 years ago it was much more difficult".
OH, ONE MORE THING... *THAT* MOUSTACHE
Giorgio Moroder's seventies moustache is the stuff of legend, as memorable as his many hits. It was even once described as "mythical". It's iconic. Well-groomed. Smooth. Legendary. So, what's it all about?
Moroder said it was the fashion at the time to have a big moustache. But he's not very sentimental about it, and even for a while, when he first staged his comeback in 2013, he could be seen without one:
"Now it looks ridiculous." Moroder has said "But back then I was never really out in the world. First of all I was busy working seven days a week until ten or 11 o’clock every day, so people didn’t really see me."
"I hated that moustache. I had the moustache in the 80s, and I hated it even then but I couldn’t get rid of it. But then one day, I remember, I was in New York with a girlfriend, and she said to me, “why don’t you just cut it off?” And in a second, I did it. I’d been thinking of doing it for years, and suddenly it was gone. But my wife is the biggest fan of that moustache. She’s 22 years younger than me and in the 80s she was dancing to the sounds I made with a moustache. When I started again, she said, “Giorgio, you have to get your moustache back.” I said, “I don’t want to!” But she convinced me."
"I’ll tell you for sure, once I do finally retire, the moustache is going for good."
If you're a Giorgio Moroder fan - enjoy the moustache while you can!