It’s Giorgio Moroder‘s 72nd birthday today.
In 1977, Moroder & Donna Summer unleashed I Feel Love, a synth-filled track intended to transport listeners into the future.
When Brian Eno heard it, he said “This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next 15 years.” 35 years later, it’s clear that Eno underestimated the tracks’ influence.
Moroder has won 3 Oscars and 3 Grammies, but with his late 70’s dance tracks, he changed music forever.
Moroder had some help from Pete Bellotte & Robbie Wedel. Bellotte explains:
“We got Robbie Wedel in. He came in with four cases containing the Moog and set it all up. Giorgio had the idea for how the bass should go, and we explained the concept to Robbie that the whole song had to be done with the Moog. He said this meant we would need to lock or sync the Moog to the Studer, and when we asked, ‘What do you mean, sync?’ Robbie replied, ‘Well, whatever you play now will then play in perfect time with the first take.’
We said, ‘How’s that possible?’ and he said, ‘It’s something I’ve figured out that even Bob Moog didn’t know his machine was capable of, and now I’ve told him how it’s done… Here’s how: first, we need to record a reference pulse on track 16 of the tape, and from that we can then lock in the Moog so that the rest of the tracks are perfectly synchronised.’
Once this was done and Giorgio had laid the basic track down — we’d use other Moogs later on, including the Minimoog, but nothing ever had the strength of that particular bass, which is like a giant’s hammer on a wall — every other synthesized sound locked in absolutely solidly with the original tempo.
We had entered another world! This is how brilliantly clever Robbie Wedel was. No one had ever figured this out before — he was the true innovator, and he deserves so much credit.
Robbie simulated a hi-hat, snare and bass drum on there, as well as a swell pad — he was just a very ingenious programmer.
Even now, on any system, that track sounds so massive, so future-proof.
See this 2009 SOS article for the story of the production of I Feel Love.
Here’s a period look at Moroder’s high tech production process:
via Moog Music