Giorgio Moroder - Déjà Vu

He’s worked with the likes of Sparks, Blondie and Phil Oakey; provided the soundtracks to blockbuster movies, including an Academy Award winner; and even produced an official World Cup anthem. But Italian producer and songwriter Giorgio Moroder’s legacy lies with his groundbreaking disco tracks with Donna Summer in the 1970s, the electronic rhythms of ‘I Feel Love’ setting the blueprint for techno, trance and this thing they call Electronic Dance Music.

With such a legacy, it’s somewhat surprising that Déjà Vu is Moroder’s first proper studio album in 30 years. Then again, the 75-year-old has seen something of a renaissance in recent years, being the subject of a three-part documentary on Radio 2 and also providing a monologue on the tribute track ‘Giorgio by Moroder’ on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories.

Moroder leaves most of the vocal duties here to an impressive guest list that includes Kylie, Britney, Foxes, Mikky Ekko, Matthew Koma and Marlene, while he sets about retooling his electronic disco roots with a modern EDM sheen. Sia provides a soaring croon on the title track, backed by sweeping strings and Chic-style guitar licks. Kylie’s turn on the previously released ‘Right Here, Right Now’ still sounds seductive, even if the pop princess can do this kind of stuff in her sleep.

Elsewhere, Charli XCX shines on ‘Diamonds’, its driving, distorted bass revisiting the spunky pop of ‘I Love It’, albeit with more Cartiers than car crashes. An almost unrecognisably husky Kelis features on the aforementioned ‘Back and Forth’, revisiting the ‘four-on-the-floor’ dance pop after her soul-flecked Food album. Here, her appetite is for something else entirely: “Back and forth, I want more, I want more…”

Unfortunately, Britney Spears' cover of ‘Tom Diner’ is a misstep. The lonely vignettes of the original get lost amidst the stomping synths and Auto-Tuned vocals, while Moroder casts himself as the diner’s owner in a newly written bridge, curiously inviting us to “come on, come on in. Sit yourself down, the funnies never end”.

Moroder’s vocodered vocals fair better on ’74 Is the New 24’ and ‘La Disco’, both tracks featuring his distinctive sequenced synth throb, echoing the electronic pulse of his 70s classics ‘From Here to Eternity’, ‘Chase’ and, of course, ‘I Feel Love’. They’re perhaps the most backward-looking tracks on the album, and yet the most forward-looking, proving how much Moroder is in the DNA of EDM. If there’s a feeling of déjà vu on this album, it’s because his influence has never really gone away.

Overall

You might have heard it all before - but he invented it.

7

out of 10

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