Original Creators: Disco's Smoothest Operator Giorgio Moroder
Each week we pay homage to a select “Original Creator”—an iconic artist from days gone by whose work influences and informs today’s creators. These are artists who were innovative and revolutionary in their fields—bold visionaries and radicals, groundbreaking frontiersmen and women who inspired and informed culture as we know it today. This week, on the eve of his 72nd year, we get down and boogie-woogie with disco’s smoooothest operator: Hansjörg “Giorgio” Moroder.
“I think it would be stupid for us to try and tell people who are dancing in a discotheque about the problems of the world. That is the very thing they have come away to avoid.” — Giorgio Moroder
Purveyor of the porn groove, the great-granddaddy of global discomania, Giorgio Moroder is a music icon with a flair for excess who spent his career crafting hits, scoring films, and collecting awards. If you were conceived after ‘69, chances are you owe that little bit of disco fever you have lying dormant in your bloodstream to Moroder’s salacious, synthesized sounds.
Moroder with some heavy equipment.
Born Hansjörg Moroder in Italy in 1940, he first made waves in Berlin in 1969 with a recording that subsequently went gold. “Looky Looky,” was an upbeat homage to 1960s doo-wop that received global acclaim and put Moroder on the pop music map. After positive initial reactions allowed him greater access within the burgeoning dance music scene, Moroder created music in studios throughout Europe, cranking out nine albums between 1972 and 1979 (three of which came out under the name Munich Machine), an Academy Award-winning score for Midnight Express in 1978, and generally helping to spread disco like the bejeweled, polyestered, excessively hairy wildfire it’s remembered as.
In the 80s, Moroder’s career moved primarily into motion picture work. His soundtracking graced the silver screen in several films, from The Neverending Story to Scarface, included a full-scale re-scoring of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, and chart-topping collaborations wtih Donna Summer, David Bowie, and many others. Moroder’s signature synth sound, with its pulsing bass progressions and four-on-the-floor rhythmic structures, would come to form the underpinnings of house and early techno years later.
By the close of the 90s, Moroder had released 13 studio albums and ten feature film soundtracks, garnering three Academy Awards, three Grammys, and Italy’s highest honor of Commendatore in 2005. Moroder’s work appeared most recently in the Grand Theft Auto video game franchise and at the 2008 Summer Olympics, and his effects on composition can be felt in music from Little Boots to the soundtrack for Nicolas Refn’s Drive. Just ask Justice’s Gaspard Augé about his signature moustache the next time he’s rocking a Creators Project dancefloor. Somewhere, in an Italian villa surrounded by expensive furs and beautiful women, Giorgio Moroder has a twinkle in his eye.
Send the man some 72nd birthday wishes in the comments below!