The Italian music maestro Giorgio Moroder turns 72 today.
In a career that spans well over forty years, Moroder has a strong claim to being one of the most influential producers ever. His ground-breaking work with Donna Summer brought electronic music to the masses with the smash “I Feel Love” in 1977, while the duo’s earlier collaboration on “Love To Love You Baby” set in stone the template for the extended, orgasmic disco mix.
Then there are his seminal pop productions for the likes of Blondie, David Bowie, Sparks and the Human League’s Phil Oakey, plus his revolutionary synthesiser scores for Scarface, American Gigolo and Midnight Express (which bagged Moroder an Oscar for Best Score in 1978.)
Often written out of “serious” musical history because of his poppy tendencies, Moroder’s incredible legacy speaks for itself and has defiantly stood the test of time.
Here’s one of my favourite Moroder tracks, the less well-known “Utopia, Me Giorgio” off the album Giorgio from 1977 (here given the extended re-edit treatment by Disco Beard.) 19freakin’77 - that means this track is now 35 years old, and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t sound as fresh now as it did back then:
Giorgio Moroder “Utopia, Me Giorgio (Disco Beard Anniversary Edit)”
This mix is a bit of a departure in my djing style, featuring as it does hardly any disco (gasp!) and instead quick cuts and layered mixes of drum-machine based tracks. NOLA Bounce, Miami Bass, Chicago House, Detroit Electro… you know, that kind of thing. Mixed fast and constantly moving, this is like aural caffeine. So if you are just waking up, hit play and get energised.
Oh, and can we start the hip-house revival now?
Tracklist [yes, some of these tracks are NSFW]:
BIG FREEDIA - Look At Her
BIG FREEDIA - Azz Everywhere
PRINCE - 1999 (New Orleans Bounce Edit)
MISSY ELLIOT - Joy
SOUL SONIC FORCE - Looking For The Perfect Beat
KRAFTWERK - The Man Machine (live)
NEWCLEUS - Jam On It
EGYPTIAN LOVER - What Is A DJ?
DEREK B - Rock The Beat (Bonus Beat)
RUFUS & CHAKA KHAN - Ain’t Nobody
MC TWIST & THE DEF SQUAD - Just Rock
FUNKADELIC (Not Just ) Knee Deep
SNOOP DOGG Who Am I? (Acapella)
THE NIALLIST Dance Club (Haunted Edit)
THE NIALLIST Dance Club (acapella)
SISSY NOBBY Lay Me Down (DJ Sega Mix)
A GUY CALLED GERALD Voodoo Ray
ADONIS Two The Max
JJ FAD Supersonic
HANNAH HOLLAND Transexual Bass
FAST EDDIE Hip House
HOUSEMASTER BOYS House Nation
PIERRE’S PFANTASY CLUB Dream Girl
AZEALIA BANKS Liquorice
LONE Pineapple Crush
THE 2 BEARS Bear Hug (acapella)
T-TOTAL & FERAL Phearsome Bitch
MASTER AT WORK The Ha Dance (KenLou Mix)
CUNT TRAX Beats Werkin’
THE 2 BEARS Bear Hug (Niallist Acid Mixx)
ELECTROSEXUAL Discolition (Niallist RoboVogue Edit)
STEVE POINDEXTER Work That Motherfucker
CHERIE LILY Werk (Nita’s Battle Ready Mix)
SPANK ROCK Put That Pussy On Me (Diplo Mix)
2 LIVE CREW Throw That D
MURK If You Really Love Someone (Murk Groove)
TRONCO TRAX Walk 4 Me
LIPPS INC Funkytown
PHUTURE Acid Trax
DONNA SUMMER I Feel Love
THE NIALLIST Work It (acapella)
SEX BAND I Have Got The Answer
If you like 808s going boom and some funky dancing in a fly late-80s fashion, then check out Detroit’s The New Dance Show, clips of which have been uploaded to YouTube by the excellent Caprice87. This one is a particular fave, featuring Jesse The Body and some slick mixing (you can see more of these via Shallow Rave.)
In the worlds of deep house and techno, artists don’t come more revered than Detroit’s Kenny Dixon Jr, aka Moodymann. Releasing records for almost two decades now, his music has attracted a devoted, almost cult-like fan base.
This is due largely to his unique sound, a blend of minimalist Detroit soul with spaced out disco, jazz and abstract electronics, not to mention the lashings of found sound, disembodied voices and crowd noise he weaves in and out of his hypnotic and, yes, moody tracks.
But it also has a lot to do with Moodymann the character. Staying true to his Detroit techno roots, Dixon tends to shy away from the press and the music industry at large, and on the rare occasions he does make a pronouncement, his Afro-centric and iconoclastic views can draw criticism. His releases follow the same ideological path, with regular 12"s and albums coming out independently through his umbrella organisation Mahogani Music. Often the only marking to distinguish these releases from an anonymous white label is the recognisable afro-and-shades Moodymann logo.
So it’s a surprise to see him releasing a new 8 track album digitally and for free through the website Scion A/V. Not that these guys don’t know their shit, with past free releases from the likes of Dam Funk, Skream & Benga and The Melvins, but more that Dixon has decided to persue this avenue of free digital releasing at all. Well, the times they are a’changin’.
If you are new to Moodymann and his work, this might not be the best place to start (I would recommend starting by checking out the sinlge “Joy Pt II” and the albumA Silent Introduction) but at the very least this release gives you a taste of his work, and you can always ask for your money back. For the Moodymann fan who has not yet downloaded Picture This, well, what are you waiting for? The download widget for the free release is below, and here is the video for the album’s opening track:
There was a moment back in the late-seventies / early-eighties, when Simple Minds could do no wrong. From their debut album Life in a Day, through to New Gold Dream, 81, 82, 83, 84, they were the likely heirs (by-way-of Kraftwerk) to fill the space left by Bolan and Bowie and even the Velvets, with their mix of pop (Empires and Dance) and experimentation (Real to Real Cacophony). But by 1984 and the release of Sparkle in the Rain, the Minds were a stadium band, with their own rock sound, vying with U2 for world domination.
For me amongst the highlights of being a student in the early eighties was the thrill of listening to I Travel, Chelsea Girl and Theme For Great Cities, played loud, late at night, with friends in shared apartments and rooms, listening and talking, expectant for the life to come. It all came too soon, and sadly much of Simple Minds’ early innovation and brilliance has been too easily forgotten.
Here then is Simple Minds at Hurrah’s Club, New York City, October 1979, performing “Premonition”, “Changeling” and “Factory”.
Simple Minds - “Premonition”
Bonus - “Chelsea Girl” - Simple Minds
More from Simple Minds, plus extra tracks and early interview, after the jump…
Now here’s a turn up for the books: last weekend Snoop Dogg dropped a new mixtape via his Soundcloud page called “01 Tekno Euro Mixx”. That Snoop would put together a mix of European techno is in itself surprising—if he did actually mix it himself, and the lackadaisical style makes it seem plausible—but the real surprise here is, in fact, that the mix contains no European techno at all.
What we get instead is a mix of deep house, nu-disco and boogie/disco edits. Artists and remixers featured include Todd Terje, Prins Thomas, Guy Monk, Miguel Migs, 6th Borough Project, Tensake, Crazy P and Michael Jackson (there is no official tracklisting yet.) None of which have much in common with the likes of Benni Benassi or David Guetta, and even less with Dr Dre or Timbaland.
While I wouldn’t have pegged Snoop as a Body & Soul-head, there is a common theme. Back in the late 90s and early 00s, when I was playing a lot of this kind of stuff (hit me up for some mixes, Snoop!), me and my dj friends liked to refer to this type of music as “stoner house”. That did away with slightly tired prefixes “deep” and “disco” while encapsulating the music in simple, understandable terms. This is house music at its most horizontal, yet it remains functional and deeply funky. Snoop gets it, and actually this mix ain’t half bad. Light one up, lie back and boogie:
When the promo for the new single by Norwegian nu-disco maestro Lindstrom dropped into my inbox recently, I was unusually excited. Not just because it was some new sounds from one of the undisputed masters of the genre, but because of these three magic words: “Todd Rundgren Remix.”
At first I thought it was a typo, or a mislabeling - surely they meant it’s a Lindstrom remix of Todd Rundgren? I mean, you can tell Lindstrom is a fan just from listening to his music (it’s all about those stacked synth chords) and besides, Todd doesn’t do remixes… does he?
A little bit more digging around proved that this was no typing error. One of my all-time favorite artists had indeed remixed a song for the first time, and with his usual immaculate taste, Todd had decided to remix a song by one of my favorite dance music producers. Through connections in the extended Rundgren fan network (which is itself an amazing thing, more like a family than mere rock fans) I was able to get some questions to Todd himself.
Dangerous Minds really needs more Todd Rundgren on our pages, so I am glad to share his answers:
You’ve been making music for a long time, but this is your first ever commercially released remix - how did it come about?
I was contacted by Lindstrom’s label. I’ve been making contributions to other artists’ recording projects over the years so it didn’t seem like that unusual a request. I don’t often get asked to be involved in ‘trans-generational’ collaborations, so that was different.
Your music has been a big influence on modern dance producers, but in particular the whole nu-disco/cosmic-disco genre - were you aware of any of those particular artists? And did you hear a musical connection when you listened to Lindstrom’s track?
Since I don’t usually focus on a single genre I don’t think of myself as having a ‘style’. It’s a little odd because in the 70s we thought of ourselves as prog-rock players and that disco was something of a sell-out for artists like Rod Stewart and Blondie. This ‘nu disco’ is a more organic movement, especially the emphasis on the instrumental aspect and lack of lyrics. That does remind me of some of the experimental excursions I’ve taken in the past.
I love how you embrace new music technology (and the new music it can help create). I’m curious to know what sequencing/recording program you’re using, and if you have any recent-ish programs or bits of kit you’re enthusiastic about? For instance, have you used Ableton Live?
I stuck with analog until the mid-Nineties, mostly because I was trying to be thrifty. I used Pro-Tools for about 12 years but finally got fed up with the tempermental and expensive technology and poor support. Recently, I have been an exclusive user of Propellerheads Reason. Since they added recording capabilities I’ve been able to record and mix with my laptop and without any environmental restrictions. I haven’t tried Ableton, mostly because I have yet to do any live mixing.
What are you listening to at the moment? Any music of the last 5 years that floats your boat and you’d recommend for Dangerous Minds’ readers?
I’m a big fan of ‘outsider’ music. It’s not very useful as an influence (at least not right now) but it’s a lot of fun to listen to and takes your mind off the ‘serious’ stuff. I recently downloaded Lorne Greene’s “The Man” and was so amused I decided to work some of it into my solo shows. Now the fans want a whole night of Lorne Greene. The problem with outsider music is that it’s often only one great song in an obscure career of mediocrity.
What’s in the immediate future for Todd Rundgren?* And is there anything more dance music-based, like more remixes or perhaps even dj sets?
It’s been suggested that I take a crack at DJing, and it’s not such a far-fetched idea. In 1993 I toured a record called No World Order and built a system that allowed me to improvise the set each night using a midi controller and a program I devised that would recombine samples on the fly. I had to build that program from scratch using MAX. Now software like Ableton is the prefered way to go, although I have some ideas about how it could be done with Reason.
‘What did you do in the 1980s, Daddy?’ For those who want to know what it was like to be young(ish) and middle class in Britain during the 1980s, then take a look at the Pet Shop Boys in their one-and-only feature film, It Couldn’t Happen Here. Originally planned as an hour long pop promo to accompany the release of their third album Actually, It Couldn’t Happen Here captures the style, the pretensions, the cultural obsessions and some of the most popular music of that decade.
The Pet Shop Boys are a hugely under-rated band, whose compelling, beautiful and catchy music by Chris Lowe, can often disguise the power and passion of Neil Tennant’s lyrics. For you see, despite what the music press claims (that means you NME), or the modes by which the band present themselves (daft hats and outfits), there is really nothing ironic about the Pet Shop Boys at all. They mean everything they do. Which is why It Couldn’t Happen Here is so frustrating. It could have been like The Monkees Head for the 1980s, with a hard, political edge, but it wanders without any sense of direction through a series of segments that revolve too literally around the songs.
That said, for a pop film it’s not all that bad, and the quality of the songs, and some of the eye-catching performances (Joss Ackland, Gareth Hunt, Barbara Windsor) make it almost passable. If only Derek Jarman (who collaborated on a stage show, and directed the promo for “It’s A Sin”) or Lindsay Anderson (the director of If… and O, Lucky Man! who would had directed the concert film of Wham, yes, Wham, in China) had been asked to direct rather than Jack Bond, then things might have been different. Even so, Bond made it look sumptuous and Neil Tennant found out he couldn’t act.
Let’s get one thing clear before we go any further - this new Madonna single is AWFUL. It’s really is so terrible that I’m gonna call “Girl Gone Wild” Madonna’s Showgirls moment: it’s so bad, it’s good!
And that’s why this video is just perfect.
You’ll have seen the footage before, no doubt, as Tara posted it a few weeks back in its original form: “Skeletons Having Sex On A Tin Roof” by Orphic Oxtra. It works even better here, as Madonna’s insipid, wannabe-edgy lyrics (“girls just wanna have some fun” - er, okay) are juxtaposed by that cheerful-slash-insane-looking dancing lady. The overall half-assed vibe of the song’s production fits the video’s green-screen ethos like a glove. Madonna will have to go some way to top this with the official video.
Also, just for the record, no “808 drums” were used in the making of this song:
Madonna “GIrl Gone Wild” [Official Music Video - NOT!]
About five or six years ago, at the height of both nu-disco and the Italo revival (and while I was releasing music under the name Trippy Disco), I found myself playing more and more vintage disco records with crashing power-chords and wailing axe solos. Because of the “sell out” accusations that these kind of records attracted at the time (from both camps) it’s a side of disco that’s been neglected, even though I love those sounds. So, I decided to put together an hour’s worth of my favourite disco/rock records, and, lo, the ‘Skool Of Rock’ mix was born.
I decided not to feature anything too “New Wave” or post-punk as the disco influence on those sounds was already very obvious, though I did get to slip in a few acts who would technically be classed as “disco” but who dipped into “rock” now and again (Edwin Starr and Giorgio Moroder, for instance.) And accordingly, there’s also the obligatory disco cash-ins by some of your favourite rock acts (Queen, Bowie, ZZ Top.) Besides that, there are some real gems here, including the Patrick Cowley remix of Tantra’s “Hills Of Katmandu” which is one the most “fuck yeah!” fist-pumping disco anthems of all time.
So, you might love this mix, you might really hate it, but either way here it is:
ELO “Don’t Bring Me Down (Trippy Disco Re-Edit)”
CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL “Fortunate Son”
ROCKETS “On The Road Again”
EDWIN STARR “The Rock”
CHILLY “For Your Love”
KISS “I Was Made For Lovin’ You”
TANTRA “Hills Of Katmandu (Patrick Cowley Megamix / Automan Edit)”
LED ZEPPELIN “Whole Lotta Love (Acapella)”
MATERIAL “Bustin’ Out”
ZZ TOP “Legs (Metal Mix)”
GIORGIO MORODER “Evolution”
MACHO “Not Tonight (Dimitri From Paris Re-Edit)”
SKATT BROS “Walk The Night (Album Version)”
QUEEN “Another One Bites The Dust”
DAVID BOWIE “Stay”
WINGS “Goodnight Tonight (Trippy Disco Re-Edit)”