Release Date: Jun 12, 2015
Record label: RCA
DISCO NEVER dies. Decades after short-sighted music lovers declared “Death before Disco,” one of the glitter ball-era’s main architects has returned to prove the genre’s resilience. Producer/songwriter Giorgio Moroder — who placed stars like Donna Summer, Irene Cara and Cher in perfect dance settings — has created zesty new club beats for stars as current as Sia, Charlie XCX and Britney Spears.
Sometimes living legends re-emerge quietly; Giorgio Moroder's second coming arrived complete with a theme song on a record that hit #1 in more than 20 countries. Daft Punk's latest, 2014 Album of the Year-winner Random Access Memories, featured a nine-minute tribute to the disco pioneer titled "Giorgio By Moroder," where the septuagenarian modestly recounted his early years in his Italian accent. The track celebrates musical experimentation; Moroder's oft-credited contributions—as the artist to popularize click tracks and synthesizers in dance music-not only revolutionized disco music as we think of it today, but can still be felt in modern EDM, pop, Italo, and soundtrack work.
Giorgio Moroder has had an amazing re-emergence. The man who helped establish disco music with some of the biggest hits of the late '70s and early '80s left it behind when he felt finished, opting to play a lot of golf. But thanks to numerous tributes and a massive co-sign by Daft Punk, the Italian producer is cashing in on his good name with a new solo album.For his first album in over 30 years, Moroder enlisted a list of pop heavyweights to work wonders on the record.
In the Seventies and Eighties, Giorgio Moroder crafted disco hits for Donna Summer, Blondie and David Bowie. Now, after a nudge from Daft Punk, the 75-year-old Svengali is attempting a decades-in-the-making comeback with a cast of A-list collaborators. Although a handful of dated, unimaginative instrumentals drag down Déjà Vu's momentum, Moroder has always been more of a singles artist.
Given the cyclical nature of contemporary popular music, it’s little surprise that the now 75-year-old Giorgio Moroder is experiencing something of a career renaissance. Massively influential during the 1970s with his proto-disco albums and production work for the likes of Donna Summer, Moroder’s sound has managed to find new life in a number of retro-minded musicians mining the depths of pop music’s history. Afforded new life thanks to innumerable name checks and a prominent appearance on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, Moroder now possesses a certain amount of cultural cache.
Disco’s era might have gone the way of pet rocks, skinny John Travolta, and widespread turntable ownership, but the genre itself continues to cast its glimmer all over contemporary pop (Grammy-winning groove cyborgs Daft Punk, nightclub prince Todd Terje, and dance-pop siren Kylie Minogue, to choose but three example). Each purveyor of flashing-floor sweetness owes a debt to 75-year-old, Italian disco monarch Giorgio Moroder, who has finally released Déjà Vu, his first full-length in three decades, and whose accomplishments are too many to list here. But we’ll try: On top of earning an in-demand electronic/house pedigree with vocoder-heavy efforts like 1977’s warbling From Here to Eternity and 1979’s rave-ready E=MC², Moroder is forever linked to Donna Summer discotheque smashes like “I Feel Love,” “Working the Midnight Shift,” and “Now I Need You” — and that’s not even counting film work like scoring Midnight Express (1978), producing and co-writing Blondie’s urgent American Gigolo hit, “Call Me,” and Berlin’s make-love-to-me Top Gun ballad, “Take My Breath Away.
By the time Giorgio Moroder released Déjà-Vu, the world was as ready as it could be for his return. His work on Daft Punk's Random Access Memories was the most vivid reminder of his influence on decades of dance music, but artists such as Goldfrapp and Chromatics ensured that his brand of atmospheric disco and synth pop was nearly as in vogue in the 2000s and 2010s as it was in the '70s and '80s. Despite its name, Déjà-Vu isn't entirely a blast from the past; instead, Moroder splits the difference between making contemporary-sounding dance music and reviving disco.
We have classic rock and pop radio stations freely available to digital listeners. So why no room for classic electro? Why should a form of music now longer than 40 years in existence be denied its own platform in this way? Should Classic Electro – ‘Switched On’, perhaps – make an appearance any time soon, one of the artists bound to be welcome through its doors will surely be Giorgio Moroder. He is after all the man behind Donna Summer’s I Feel Love, one of the most exciting and most influential electronic records of all time, as well as being a prolific composer of soundtrack albums such as Midnight Express and producer to the greats.
If you had single-handedly changed the direction of electronic music, you’d probably take a bit of time off, too. Deja-vu is Giorgio Moroder’s first solo album since a collaboration with Phil Oakey in 1985. During that time, he’s been playing “a lot of golf”, while the sound he pioneered has stretched across almost all modern pop. The guest list for this comeback – spurred on by his 2013 collaboration with Daft Punk – is a reminder of his status: Sia, Charli XCX, Kylie and Britney all appear.
As fellow disco survivor Nile Rodgers also evidently figured, why settle for tributes when you can seize the moment and pay yourself a long-playing compliment? Giorgio Moroder, who was among the dance-music legends honored on Daft Punk's middlebrow but salutary Random Access Memories (and, incidentally, the only one called out by name), keeps behind his signature 'stache throughout the new omnibus album Deja Vu, but otherwise there isn't a shred of sporting anonymity here. The music may bear his knob-twiddler-behind-the-curtain imprimatur, but the pose he strikes rips a page right out of the Calvin Harris/David Guetta/Steve Aoki playbook. If there's a mantra Moroder seems especially attached to throughout the album, it's “74 Is the New 24,” the title and refrain of one of the only tracks that doesn't feature a guest vocalist.
Since his loving lionisation on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories (Giorgio By Moroder), septuagenarian disco and soundtrack producer Giorgio Moroder has regrown his moustache, a Samson-like bit of thatch in which four decades of groove notionally reside. The smooth South Tyrolean has got stuck back into renewed fame with hysterically received DJ sets and last November’s peach of a track, 74 Is the New 24, in which his totemic bass pulse met his signature vocoder on a dancefloor somewhere circa 1976. Moroder’s disco hits with Donna Summer were some of the first to be produced entirely electronically, making Moroder one of the fathers of all today’s electronic music (although EDM will be paying the future care home fees of Kraftwerk and Brian Eno as well).
What are the limits of catharsis? For years, disco, house, and the other seedlings of what’s come to be known as EDM functioned as sluices for the stress endured by oppressed people. The genre of house is named after a gay club frequented by queer men of color, while critically maligned disco served as the soundtrack to gay culture’s breach into the mainstream in the 1970s. Forty years later, the four-on-the-floor beats and glittering synthesizers that once foretold a bright, free future now ring out blankly over the loudspeakers at your local CVS.
The original title of Déjà Vu was 74 Is The New 24, which hints at the suspension of disbelief required for Giorgio Moroder's 17th album. The LP is the culmination of an ongoing revival of Moroder's career that started with Daft Punk's Random Access Memories and made the disco veteran into an EDM circuit DJ. But his first-ever DJ set in New York infamously had someone else doing the heavy lifting, which called into question Moroder's role in the performance beyond his mere attendance.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Few individuals can claim as much success and innovation as disco legend Giorgio Moroder. The Italian producer, songwriter and DJ has had his hands on an absurd number of hits. He was a major force behind the string of hits Donna Summer realized in the late 1970s, including 'Bad Girls', 'Last Dance', 'Hot Stuff' and 'Love To Love You Baby'.
In May 2013, almost a year to the day after Donna Summer succumbed to lung cancer, Giorgio Moroder made his live DJ debut at Williamsburg club Output. It was a tender moment for disco fans, and there was something healing in having her voice brought to life once more by the legendary producer. As critic Barry Walters recently put it, Summer and Moroder shared an "uncommon symbiosis…[that] crossed gender, color, national and cultural boundaries as disco's ultimate emissaries of universal love.
For the past two years, Eurodisco kingpin and EDM godfather Giorgio Moroder has spent a lot of time taking bows. After Daft Punk paid homage to him in 2013 with the touching Random Access Memory track “Giorgio By Moroder”—featuring the man himself, providing a short spoken-word memoir—he’s become a go-to hire for remixes, and has been doing DJ sets that mainly consist of him shuffling slowly back and forth next to his equipment while pointing happily into the air. Now Moroder has produced his first full-fledged album in decades, releasing it into a pop market that owes him a tremendous debt.
Although Pharrell’s career took a significant boost from the Daft Punk effect, and with Nile Rodgers’ new music as Chic still to come, it’s the electronic music titan Giorgio Moroder’s return from retirement that is filled with the most intrigue. His first solo album of brand new material since the clinical future pop of 1979’s E=MC² (1985’s Innovisions was a hammy ‘80’s remake of some of his best tracks with additional ‘80’s drum pads), is a massive deal, but his first post Random Access Memories moves were into the world of commercial EDM. DJing alongside the likes of trance legend Tiësto, he’s also recorded with Avicci, with a side project with Skrillex and production on the next Lady Gaga album to come, there’s no mistaking that his return has placed him at the very top of commercial electronic music.
Resurgent interest in Giorgio Moroder's pioneering disco music from the 70s landed him a guest spot on Daft Punk's Grammy-winning Random Access Memories and a deal with RCA to produce an original solo album - his first in 30 years. It's unusual for a major label to give a 75-year-old the money to record original pop songs with stars like Britney Spears, Kelis, Sia, Charli XCX and Kylie Minogue, so it's disheartening that Moroder chose to wedge his glimmering, glamorous arpeggios into pop songs that too often sound like attempts to pander to what a label exec probably thinks is a top 40 hit. Then again, a completely unnecessary Spears cover of Tom's Diner could've used a higher-power intervention.