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Music Review: Giorgio Moroder makes disco magic on new album Deja Vu

Deja Vu is Giorgio Moroder's first new album in three decades.
Deja Vu is Giorgio Moroder's first new album in three decades.PHOTO: SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT SINGAPORE

Giorgio Moroder's latest album taps into the past, present and future of dance music

Move over, electronic dance music upstarts. The godfather of disco is back with his first new album in three decades. As 75-year-old Giorgio Moroder declares on an instrumental track in Deja Vu: 74 Is The New 24.

Since he started DJ-ing and touring two years ago, it seemed inevitable that the Italian synth and electronic dance music pioneer would be back with some fresh club and festival bangers.

Fabulously, Deja Vu offers more than just that. It does not merely mark the return of his brand of addictive, dancefloor-filling bangers, but it is also a work that taps into the past, present and future of dance music.

Brimming with effervescence and retro touches, the work pits disco four-on-the-floor beats against electronic dance music style build-ups and drops, and features a more modern breed of collaborators compared with the classic singers he worked with previously (Donna Summer and Irene Cara).

The title track, showcasing spirited singer and co-songwriter Sia Furler, is a radiant pop gem, an earworm number with distinctive disco touches such as canned strings and a singalong chorus. It makes one wish the pair would collaborate more and bring back the heady days of Moroder's Summer- fronted disco classics.

  • DISCO/EDM/POP

    DEJA VU

    Giorgio Moroder

    RCA

    3.5/5 stars

There is a conscious effort to keep the playlist a la mode, with appearances from pop darlings such as Charli XCX and singer Matthew Koma.

But Moroder also employs the tried and tested. R&B singer Kelis is almost unrecognisable, singing her heart out in husky tones on Back And Forth, while Australian diva Kylie Minogue coos on funkinflected Right Here Right Now.

I Do This For You is a foray into Scandinavian pop territory, with songwriter-producer Oskar Sikow and Swedish starlet Marlene among the credits.

Instrumental closer La Disco and its modulated voice effects is like a nod to French duo Daft Punk, who played no small part in Moroder's career revival when they included the tribute track Giorgio By Moroder on their 2013 opus, Random Access Memories.

Like Daft Punk and their robot helmets, Moroder knows the importance of branding. In his case, it is the trademark bushy moustache and aviators, proudly emblazoned against a shocking pink background on the cover. The art is retro-futuristic, cheeky and loud.

Forget Moroder's several mis-steps here, most glaringly the unnecessary remake of Suzanne Vega classic Tom's Diner. With Britney Spears on vocals, it comes dangerously close to cheesy, baseline Eurodance territory.

Overall, he understands the serious art of making dance music fun. How many septuagenarians you know can craft rapturous tracks that can rock the clubs as well as the raving masses at hands- in- the-air dance festivals?

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2015, with the headline 'Disco magic'. Print Edition | Subscribe