THIS WEEK: A YOUNG PERSON’S GUIDE TO SYNTHETIC SPAGHETTI
By MICHAEL FICHMAN Party people seem to fit in to three categories- music nerds, people who only want to hear music they know and people who like partying but don’t care about music. Needless to say I’m in the first category and the last two types of folks really grind my gears. But being a DJ is about compromise. You have to strike a balance between the plebian tendencies of the masses and your own conceit. It’s not unlike working food service, you kind of hate the people on the other side of the counter, but you exist to accommodate them. At heart, I’m a humanist, so I’ll get pedantic instead of whining. I think this problem is solvable.Now that it’s been cool to listen to 120 BPM electronic music again (for you, that is), it’s time I introduce you to a friend of mine, and no, he’s not a carpenter. Before there was Death From Above 1979, there was 1978 and before that there was 1977. And before that, there was Giorgio. He’s from Italy. Now, you might not recognize him offhand, and he might seem strange when he’s mixed into your favorite track from Thriller, but he knows you. If you haven’t met that boy Giorgio, as truthfully as you can, answer the following questions:
1. Do you own a copy of Cannibal Ox’s The Cold Vein or DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing?
2. Have you watched Scarface more than 5 times? Do you watch it habitually?
If you answered yes to question 1, know that that Iron Galaxy and Organ Donor sample your boy. If you answered yes to question 2, know that your boy wrote the soundtrack to the whole shit. If you answered no to both, try to imagine an Italian version of James Brown, only a robot and not a singer and with a moustache. Got it? Good.
Giorgio Moroder was like the Rick Rubin of Euro-pop, and his arpeggiated synths outer space soundscapes probably had more of an influenced electronic with a profundity exceeded only by Kraftwerk’s robokraut groupthink. However, as a producer, his appeal is strictly for the music nerds. While most everybody has heard Donna Summer’s I Feel Love or Debbie Harry’s Rush Rush, fewer know his devilish work as Munich Machine or his astro-epic The Chase from the soundtrack of Midnight Express– works which transcend late disco’s utter disposability and rank as electro-artistry way ahead of its time. If Giorgio wasn’t a slave to certain elements of musical fashion, scenesters would probably give his more seminal work more interest. Frankly, fuzzy tap solos and saccharine crescendos are dated as fuck and pretty much ruin things. That being said, he kind of reminds me of homeboys Chromeo, and that’s a good thing (keep on the lookout for their new EP). Wait, they’re from Quebec. I digress.
Giorgio, Mr. Disco Moustache Zeitgeist, is kind of the Osiris of the whole producer-as-star wave of decadent electro pop that has emerged this decade and exploded in the last two or three. He’s got friends too, and they aren’t getting their due either. I find it unfortunate that some of yesteryear’s underground hits have not worked their way back into the mix despite their seminal influence on today’s music, despite some of the best efforts of all those DJs out there throwing Kano. I can’t help but think that the vast amount of garbage disco scares people off. Hopefully musical hindsight will keep that shit off the platters.
So back to the beginning — there are three kinds of people out there, and two of them are boring (read: not snobs) but make up most of the population. You gotta deal with them. Music nerds, they know them some Giorgio. People who just want to hear what they want to hear, they can learn them some Giorgio. People who just want to party, tell them there’s open bar.
PICKS OF THE WEEK:
Track: Giorgio Moroder’s “The Chase”, theme to Midnight Express.
Blog: One Day Later. This will keep you all over them good ol’ electro twelves.