Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I Feel...Love, Loved, Space

Time passes, but we've had forms of electronic music for well over a quarter century. And we've ended up going down some curious paths as a result.

I'm going to start this path with Donna Summer, and something written in the blog Disco Delivery at the end of 2007:

[A]lthough I'm around eight months late for this, [Summer's] seminal classic, one of the most iconic Summer/Moroder/Bellotte compositions, "I Feel Love" also turned 30 this year.. Although it was an anniversary that went relatively unacknowledged, it's influence certainly has not. Reportedly called "the sound of the future" by Brian Eno upon hearing it for the first time, "I Feel Love" was one of the touchstones of not only disco, or even Donna Summer's career, but of the pop music landscape in general. Along with all the other groundbreaking electronic records of it's time, it's success seemingly opened the floodgates for all manner of electronic experimentation (and imitation) on the dancefloor and beyond, solidifying the legacy of it's producer Giorgio Moroder, perhaps just as much, if not moreso than Donna herself. Arguably much of what could be considered 'electronic music' today owes a debt to it's legacy...

But Brian Eno wasn't the only name producer that was influenced by "I Feel Love." Another producer, who hadn't yet established his name, was Daniel Miller, who left his continental DJ job and started a record company.

[E]lectronic music at the time was mostly experimental instrumentals and was viewed more as a novelty when used in song like the one-off "I Feel Love" from Donna Summer released in 1977. That song brought the potential of electronic music to radio and it was a massive hit, but it was far from the norm taking place in the musical landscape of the time. Daniel Miller would form the Mute record label in 1978 and release "Warm Leatherette"/"TVOD" under the handle of "The Normal".

He began signing other bands, including a bunch of New Romantic kids. The kids then released a top-selling album, but the lead songwriter split the group, and the group disappeared into oblivion.

Um...not quite. That particular group, Depeche Mode, has stayed together through thick and thin, and twenty-some years later they'd release a song with a name that sounded similar to Donna's old work. Perhaps it's coincidental, perhaps not. Stephen Gore (presumably no relation) certainly thought so:

'I Feel Loved' was...put in to bring the tempo up again, and unlike 'The Dead Of Night', this song actually succeeds in being memorable and is one of the highlights of the album. It's not quite a Donna Summer rip-off, but it comes pretty close. Having said that, the middle-eight is quite subversive and highly original - it remains the highlight of the song.

(And yes, Stephen Gore laughs about the presence of the song "Comatose" on the "Exciter" album.)

Flash forward a few more years, and one more European (if you count Summer as an American ex-pat) does it once more with feeling. Hans-Peter Lindstrom released the song "I Feel Space," and he as much as admits that he's going back to the source. Here's part of an interview at Mundane Sounds:

To me, the title "I Feel Space" recalls Giorgio Moroder's "I Feel Love." Is it a tribute to Moroder, and do you consider him an influence on your work?

Yeah, I was inspired by that track when I made it. Moroders bass-arpeggio is maybe one of the most powerful arpeggios I know, and it sounds REALLY massive on a good sound system. He's definitely an influence, but I wouldn't say it's a tribute. Those two tracks don't sound the same--at least in my opinion.

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