Chances are if you’ve ever stepped onto a dance floor, you’ve bobbed your head and shuffled your feet to grooves pioneered by dance-music icon Giorgio Moroder. The veteran Italian synth wizard is the king of the four-on-the-floor rhythm pattern, where the bass drum is consistently hit on every beat in the bar (i.e., 1, 2, 3, 4).
Between 1974 and 1984, Moroder produced some of the most seminal tracks of the initial dance and disco era. The synth-dripping grooves he laid down for Donna Summer’s super-sensual “Love to Love You Baby” (1975) and “I Feel Love” (1977) got more feet moving than the starter pistol at the New York City and Boston Marathons combined (among other things). From there, Moroder manufactured indelible beats for classic tracks by Blondie (“Call Me”), Irene Cara (“Flashdance… What a Feeling”), David Bowie (“Cat People [Putting Out Fire]”), and Berlin (“Take My Breath Away”), not to mention his soundtrack work for movies like Scarface, Midnight Express, and Top Gun.
After Daft Punk enlisted him to walk through his storied life on “Giorgio by Moroder,” the 7-minute tour de dance on their 2013 multi-Grammy-winning Random Access Memories, Moroder found himself back in the game after almost a decade on the sidelines. That re-exposure led Moroder to high-profile DJing gigs and a new album, Déjà Vu (RCA). Moroder may be a spry septuagenarian — the original title for Déjà Vu was going to be 74 Is the New 24 — but his collaborations with the likes of Charlie XCX, Britney Spears, Sia, Kylie Minogue, and Mikky Ekko shows he’s just as in touch with the current scene as ever.
Not only that, Moroder understands the value of hi-res audio. “When it comes to new technology, I was always right there,” he explains. “Let’s say I’m not into analog so much anymore. I like digital. I like those pure sounds — the cleaner the data. I just had a meeting with some people at Sony electronics, and I listened to some music in 192/24 on their newest headphones. They did some tests, using some of my music directly from the analog tape, and it sounded so incredible. Absolutely stunning.”
Now that you’ve heard the capabilities of 192/24, do you feel that’s the best way to listen to music? “For now, it’s definitely the best,” agrees Moroder. “I heard some of my songs that way, and they definitely have the quality superior to CD. But my feeling is that it’s going to take a long time for the public [to embrace it]. Maybe I’ll record the next album at 192, so then it’s done. Then they can downgrade it to the MP3!”
Read my full interview with Moroder on Digital Trends.