His Mustache Gives Him The Power of Disco

A couple months ago I ranted about what I thought were some major problems with new vinyl releases. You can read that post here. My main points of contention were either vinyl records that didn’t include a digital copy, or records that did include digital copies, but they were of poor quality with lousy ID3 tags. Some “Hall of Shame” examples I cited were El-P’s Weareallgoingtoburninhellmegamixxx3 and Kanye West’s latest.

Now I want to tell you about a positive example: the Foo Fighters’ latest release, Wasting Light.

This may be the greatest new vinyl purchase I have ever made.

Much has been made of how the Foos recorded Wasting Light. No digital equipment was used. They laid it down on analog tape in Dave Grohl’s garage.  Since it was made on analog I wanted to hear it on analog, vinyl was obviously the way to go with this one.

I ordered one from Amazon last week and it finally arrived. From the second I opened the box I was ecstatic. On the cover of the album was a sticker that said the following:

45 RPM Edition – Full Length Vinyl
Recorded entirely on analog tape in Dave’s Garage.
Includes a HI-RES DIGITAL COPY (320 kbs MP3S) of the album specially cut from the original vinyl recording!

Fuck. Yes.

They got it right. All of it. They nailed it completely. Not only did they deliver a reference quality analog recording on 45 RPM vinyl (45 RPM tends to sound better than 33 1/3 RPM), but they included an exact, better than CD-quality digital copy. And to top it all off, the album itself is actually damn good, one of their best.

Thanks Dave!

But enough about grunge, let’s talk about disco!

Every track on tonight’s post is from a bootleg vinyl compilation called Electronic Dancefloor Classics 2, which consists of nothing but songs that Giorgio Moroder produced, performed, or remixed. I just bought it last week, but I’m pretty much convinced it’s one of the best dance records in my collection. Behold its awesome.

Giorgio Moroder
Knights In White Satin
From Here To Eternity (Extended Mix)
Battle Star Galactica (Disco Version)
A lot of my friends are younger than me, and most don’t really follow “classic” dance music, so they don’t know who Giorgio Moroder is. Whenever I bring him up and someone asks who he is, I usually say, “you know electronic pop music? He did that.”

That may be an exaggeration, but it’s a slight one. In 1977 he brought electronic dance music to the mainstream with Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love,” but as these tracks show, he was refining his electronic pop sound well before that.  His 1976 cover of “Knights In White Satin,” while remarkably goofy, is remarkably good as well, and light years above most of the disco drivel that was polluting clubs at the time. “From Here To Eternity,” taken from the album of the same name, is the perfect blend of instrumental disco fluff and electronic experimentation done right; no doubt it was an influence on countless electronic producers and musicians to follow. His version of the Battlestar Galactica theme is mind-numbingly stupid, but it’s stupid in all the best ways – embracing the horns and other cheesetastic elements of disco and laying over even cheesier electronic bleeps and bloops over it.

But the real highlight here is “Tears,” although it’s a stretch to even call it a disco tune. It’s from Moroder’s 1972 sophomore record Son of My Father, and it has more in common with the work of Ennio Morricone and Italian prog-rockers Goblin than anything that you might hear on the dance floor at the time. But that’s what makes it so utterly brilliant. I mean, the track is nearly 40 years old at this point, and I still haven’t heard anything remotely like it – unless you want to count DJ Shadow’s “Organ Donor,” which liberally samples from the tune.

And it’s so bloody simple! That’s why it’s so goddamn amazing. It’s just a loop that is slowly built upon. It starts out quiet with a woman’s voice and a simple organ melody, but soon they are overpowered by an ever-building army of drums, guitars and keyboards until the whole thing just…climaxes in a glorious electronic orgasm. I have never, ever heard anything build as perfectly as this track does. If I heard this on a dance floor I would lose my shit. People would have to carry me away. How the hell is this song out of print? It should be in the Smithsonian, in the section marked “Fucking Awesome.”

Munich Machine
Space Warrior
Moroder released a few albums as Munich Machine. The first, while featuring an incredible cover, it is dated and seems restrained compared to most of his other work. A Whiter Shade Of Pale, his sophomore release as Munich Machine from 1978, is spotty as well, but it also includes some tracks that are batshit nuts. “La Nuit Blanche” is a disco reworking of “Also sprach Zarathustra” AKA the song from 2001, and “In Love With Love” features some of the best vocoder work this side of a Peter Framptom solo. Both albums are in print and work picking up despite their troubles.

This track comes from Munich Machine’s third album, 1979’s Body Shine, which is out of print. I don’t have that record, so I can’t testify to its overall quality. I can safely say, however, that this track is one of the best I’ve heard under the Munich Machine name. It’s groovy beyond compare, matching slick guitar licks with a pulsing electronic sound in a way that many synthpop bands would in the coming years.

Beat The Clock (Giorgio Moroder Remix)
Sparks’ one-of-a-kind insanity fits well with Moroder’s non-stop pulse-pounding tempo in this remix. The original version was on the 1979 album No. 1 In Heaven, which Moroder produced. A lot of rock bands tried disco in the late-70s, but Sparks were one of the only ones to do it right, no doubt because of the help they received from Moroder. They were already manic and kind of nuts, so the fast tempos and odd sounds of Moroder’s production was a perfect match (made in heaven).

Life In Tokyo (Extended Disco Mix)
Japan is a band that I am just now getting into. So I can’t say that much about them. I do know that they started out as a glam-rock band in the mid-70s, but as the decade progressed they embraced their electronic side more and more, eventually becoming one of the founding fathers of the New Romantic movement that spawned Duran Duran. Moroder produced the original version of “Life In Tokyo,” which was first released as a non-album single in 1979. That version doesn’t have the drum and synth overdubs that this one has, and is actually more of a low-key tune. Both versions are excellent, this one is just a little funkier.

Sweet Dreams (Giorgio Moroder Version)
Eurythmics + Giorgio Moroder = too much awesome for one mind to stand. Stand back, this track may cause your brain to explode.

15 Responses to “His Mustache Gives Him The Power of Disco”

  1. Adam says:

    Brilliant work you’re doing here. Giorgio is a living legend.

  2. Sean B says:

    Another excellent post – this is why your blog is on my fav bar.

    Sean B
    Ireland 🙂

  3. Kattt says:

    You have the gayest taste of any straight guy I’ve known of, and that’s awesome.

  4. JasonK says:

    Great post, but why order the Foo Fighters from Amazon? Why not the local record store?

  5. Lost Turntable says:

    Good point, but I have a hard time actually GETTING the records I order from my local store that carries new vinyl. Jerry’s doesn’t carry new vinyl. If he did, I’d buy everything there.

  6. Homer J from the UK says:

    Good 2 hear someone recording on tape still,good on Dave Grohl-he’s a good lad.
    Giorgio certainly played alot on some of my early listening on parents radio 76/77 onwards. I love most of the stuff u mentioned. Also ‘The Chase’ & ‘Axel F’ of course.
    The Sparks’ keyboard player always scared me when i watched ‘Top Of The Pops’,i always said ‘dad hes looking at me again’! If i’m at my dad’s & they’re mentioned he always brings it up ! Gr8 group tho,& as a kid in the early 80’s i used 2 always be fascinated by the nurse on the cover of my mates ‘Beat The Clock’ 7” !
    It’s funny about that ‘Life In Tokyo’,cos i had the 12” & when i bought some compilation over the last year it was the same mix u had,& i just thought it was a remaster. As it was better i sold the 12”. Recommended listening 4 Japan-‘Visions Of China'(lovely drums),’Quiet Life’,’Ghosts’,’Nightporter'(that was gr8 live on ‘Whistle Test’) & ‘After A Fashion’-MIDGE URE & MICK KARN(Japan member).
    I never heard that mix of ‘Sweet Dreams’,good.
    Keep up the good work.

  7. Nigel says:

    Great post…you’re now getting into my territory (Disco/HiNRG stuff).

    It’s worth mentioning that another legend of the disco era who was WAY AHEAD of his time is Patrick Cowley. If you haven’t heard his stuff, I urge you to grab some (his remix of Donna Summer’s I Feel Love is THE SHIT). Menergy (the original from Menergy – The Fusion Album) is an absolute classic. And I Wanna Take You Home from the same disc is the CAMPEST song I’ve ever heard 🙂 Megatone records (San Francisco-based label) from that era released some of the most enduring HiNRG classics ever committed to disc (Jeanie Tracey’s Time Bomb makes me want to SCREAM).

    PLAY LOUD AND DANCE LIKE A MANIAC – it’s what I used to do…

  8. Micheal says:

    love it love it love it. Moroder 4ever 〜

  9. Keith says:

    Doh! When I was at Easy Street – the vinyl Wasting Light was right there. I opted for the CD – one that includes a splice of the master tape (totally fun promo). In the meantime, Big Blue claims to have shipped the 2CD special edition – I’ll believe it when it arrives. The album is so good, I’ll happily buy it a third time on vinyl.

  10. docomospur says:

    I almost spit up the coffee I was drinking when I played the BSG tune. It’s so bad (those brass bits!) it’s ridiculous.

  11. Drain says:

    hehe, this post is added proof to my long held belief that giorgio moroder’s touch is indeed everywhere hehe.

  12. Johnny Disco says:

    great posts… have you tried Japan’s “Tin Drum” album? one of their best.

    as for speed of vinyl, back in the days of 12″ singles, 33 1/3 was always better sound than 45RPM as it fit more music on and therefore the grooves were wider and less compressed, letting out all that good stuff, all that great high end and low end.

    keep up the kickass work, my friend, you rule 🙂

  13. DJ Doc says:

    The Battlestar Galactica theme is actually Maynard Ferguson, from his album “Carnival”. I have the vinyl…hadn’t heard this track in years. One of many tracks from Maynard’s “disco era”!

  14. Dee Doubleyou says:

    320Kb MP3 is NOT “better than CD quality” and never will be. I can’t believe how much of a fucking idiot you are sometimes.

    Nor do I believe you are straight.

  15. Lost Turntable says:

    You’re right, uncompressed CD-quality audio is way better than 320kbps. What I meant to say was that its better than more MP3s that are supposedly ripped at “CD quality.” My bad, I apologize.

    You know, if you correct someone in a kind and polite manner then you not only earn their respect, but their gratitude. And if you use your actual name while doing so, then you can build a reputation as someone who actually knows their shit.

    But when you flame someone’s website for no good reason and leave mean-spirited insults, then all that people remember is that you’re an asshat, and not that you’re right. Of course, that doesn’t really matter does it? Because anonymous cowards are too scared to leave and identifiable information in their mean-spirited, random assaults huh?

    Have fun trolling on the Internet. But do it elsewhere, you don’t get to comment here anymore.

    So, thanks for the correction. Now, please, go take that correction and go fuck yourself with it.

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