Studio 360 on the great synthesizer song, "I Feel Love"


The memories this song brings back are rich: Basic D&D, George Perez drawing The Avengers, and the smell of my older sister’s 13-year old friend’s lip gloss.


I remember being 10 and getting lost on the dancefloor to I feel love (on a ferry ship to France, it was far from the first time I’d danced ecstatically to that song but it was the closest to a club experience with mirrorballs and lights and all) an experience I have replicated many times since.

I used to make hour long mixes of it on my decks.

The deep, rich complexity of a tiny, short sequence run through a full modular rig is amazing.

I’m fond of Patrick Cowley’s mix also - you should have a 15 minute long version in your arsenal - but Donna Summer and the Moog modular together… I think my pre-teen self had a sexual awakening to her.


If you’re a Moog fan, I can’t recommend Mort Garson highly enough. He worked for years and his music turns up in some of the oddest places (I was watching Son of Blob last year and was surprised to notice that he did the soundtrack.) His Lucifer / Black Mass, Ataraxia, and (surprisingly) Plantasia (“warm earth music for plants and the people who love them”) are all just amazingly fun and in my opinion not dated at all. Admittedly, some of his stuff just doesn’t do it for me (Wozard of Iz, Signs of the Zodiac) but that’s mainly because of the spoken-word parts.

I was 12 years old and waiting in line to go through a haunted house (“Scream in the Dark”) in Memphis in October of 1977. The haunted house was sponsored by 56 WHBQ, so they had a live DJ there broadcasting. “I Feel Love” came on and I remember thinking, at the time, how I’d never heard anything like it and how great it was: moody, trippy, spacy, slightly ominous/creepy sounding (with the pitch/tone/note changes high to low and all "ooh eee ooh"y.) An amazing song, for the time and even now.

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Fabulous. Of course, you can also do it with PVC:

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Put two copies of I Feel Love on two different (non-quartz) turntables and start them at the same time. The beat frequencies between them are wonderful.

It really is kind of amazing, especially in retrospect, how blatantly this song represented a while new era of dance music. It was clearly ahead of its time, even today it sounds essentially current. Great stuff, also cool to see that it was pretty much recognized for what it was at the time. Rare a piece of music or other art has that kind of impact in its contemporary environment.

I saw Blue Man Group when I was in college, before they were all Vegas - back when they were performing smaller venues with performance artists. It was my senior year at Tulane and I was taking a dance history course. I did not realize that the course was a crip course for business majors who needed an art credit; even though the class was good there were a lot of accounting types in there who weren’t all that interested in the material.

We had to see a dance performance or two to graduate, and one of the options was to go this performance art thing down in the French Quarter. I was sitting next to one of the accounting types as the deaf lesbian went on her angry rant, then the nearly naked gorgeous hot guy did his modern dance thing, and then Blue Man Group closed out the show.

This being the French Quarter, there were quite a few gay men present, and a couple of rows ahead of us were two fellows dressed head to toe in leather. Gay fabulous.

As Blue Man pulled toilet paper off the ceiling, one of these guys caught a strip, looked at his partner, and tied it in a bow around his neck. The girl next to me was turning blue herself. It was so great!

Love this clip.

The recent Moogfest had very little to do with synthesizers. The vast majority of the evening acts consisted of white guys deejaying with Macbooks. Acts like Chic and Saul Williams were the exception, and even they weren’t synth bands. The fact that Moogfest dragged their collective asses getting a proper roster publicly available should have tipped me off, and even when my wristbands arrived they came sans a program. Had Moogfest been about synths you would’ve seen acts like Boards of Canada, Autechre, Isan or Tycho. Don’t get me wrong - I saw Kraftwek 2x, so that’s scratched of my bucketlist, but the rest of Moogfest was a big disappointment. To characterize it as being about synths is rather misleading and I’m not going back.

I had just started college when I Feel Love hit. I was never big into disco per-se, but I was always big into electronic music, and hearing this song pounding over a club sound system was freaking amazing. It was so different and so mesmerizing. Thank you Giorgio Moroder.

From seeing Moroder talk at Moogfest, he says: he had a different beat for this song, BD on 1 and 3 and 31/2. . Once he started working with the vocals, it didn’t feel right, so he put the BD on 1,2,3,4, and it worked. Then the famous ‘four on the floor’ was born. @frauenfelder it was great seeing you at the circuit bending judging, those were some inspiring entries. @Dabidoh, I couldn’t agree with you more. I saw some 30 acts, and the most moog usage I saw was from the durational sets. Loads of knob tweak flourishes from everyone. It was very refreshing to catch Heads On Sticks’ live set and The Crystal Ark live. Both fun performances, not a guy infront of a mac and ableton or whatever. I thought they did an decent job of representing a wide swath of electronic music, but mostly focused on single ‘EDM’ performers. I would have loved to seen some of the greater range of synth music represented. Heck, a Mort Garson cover band even!

Not going to get into the whole taxonomy of techno here, but

Its… distant ethereal vocals are still the language of dance music

is a pretty blinkered perspective on dance music, unless you only go to drag shows.

Certainly would create a very different feel, more of a “jump” in the track but doesn’t work with an arpeggiated synth bass at all.

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