Saturday 30 May 2020

Going Back To '83 Once More

Bit of a change of tack this time, stumbled across this old post in the archives and was very disappointed in my past self for not at least writing a little about the songs I picked. So I'm writing this now to fix that. Please enjoy a combination of an old post and a new one. For clarity I'll put the original writing in ITALICS, the rest will be in normal font. On with the post!

Long before he was working with Daft Punk, Giorgio Moroder had already made his home in my music library as I loved his soundtrack work for Scarface and Midnight Express. Good news is that in recent times he's fully adopted soundcloud and given us a peek into his works. Alongside the usual b-sides, outtakes and whatnot are unreleased slices from the Scarface soundtrack, and I'm in love all over again. Moroder's production is second to none when it comes to nailing that 80s disco-y vibe. Check 'em out yourself!

That opening paragraph was a bit of a fib, I knew that there were unreleased tunes from Scarface and even have a bootleg version with some of them included, I was just very surprised to see them archived by the man himself(!) on Soundcloud no less (you all know how I am with archiving!). I remember wishfully thinking that this meant that a 'complete' version was on it's way sometime soon but it's not materialised yet. Which is a shame because while I do love the New Wave and Disco that Moroder does oh so well, his other contributions are just as good also. More on that later.

Here's an instrumental cut that, if I remember right, was used in the backing of a few scenes from Scarface, but that doesn't mean he takes it as an opportunity to phone it in. It demonstrates that even without being a producer or having vocal accompaniment Moroder has a real ear for catchy sounds and I'd say a real strong identity to his productions. This isn't just generic disco, there's something about it that is distinctly Moroder, It's no wonder he ended up being so prolific.

But he also shines when making more New Wave style stuff too. By '83 when the film came out Moroder already had more than a few hits under his belt, but Disco was kind of old hat and new wave of electronic infused pop was becoming the in thing. So it's no surprise that the original copy of the accompanying soundtrack album leant heavily on these vocal driven New Wave style songs (You're probably all familiar with Push It To The Limit for example), with only two tracks being explicitly credited to Moroder (Tony's Theme and Gina & Elvira's Theme) being listed. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, hell, I love tracks like this because they are just so fun to listen to; Moroder's production is on point as per usual and Beth Andersen offers a strong performance to back it up.

But that said, I do wish that Moroder's original score was included, he demonstrates incredible flexibility in parts, going from the poppy dancefloor vibes of the above to incredibly atmospheric scene accompaniments. Case in point with No Wife, No Kids, if all you know of Moroder is I Feel Love or Together In Electric Dreams, you'd be surprised to see him pull a very John Carpenter-esque piece on this soundtrack, but he does (and does it well!). If I had to nitpick I'd say that this track is almost a bit too overbearing to be a soundtrack, but if you know the film it twins with the scene that it plays over incredibly well and really synergises the audio/visual atmosphere. You gotta love the trend of including spoilers in the song titles too.

Unfortunately, it's not the complete album on Moroder's SC which means some of my other fave new wavey tracks like Turn Out The Light aren't there. Still nice to see these unreleased tracks available in some form out there, especially considering how old they are. It's nice to see Moroder still around too, the man is in his 80s now and still at it! Here's hoping I can slot a few more raves in if I make it to that age too. As always all, Stay safe and enjoy the music.

-Claude Van Foxbat

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