Tag Archives: giorgio moroder



Festivus is with us again, which usually calls for a Frank Costanza-esque airing of grievances. For a couple of years I ran some kind of hastily compiled list of things I hated the most — largely compiled from my Twitter feed and exceeding anything of any real importance — in the preceding year. But then the last one did the Twitter and Tumblr rounds and the kind of people that the semi-concealed clumsy subliminals were aimed at were strangely excited about it, oblivious to the fact I wasn’t too keen on them. So I can’t be bothered to do another one. Hate’s too easy too and at this time of year I can barely muster the bile — there’s too much misery out there in the news, so a bunch of poorly built home truths is a distasteful addition. Especially when the world ends tomorrow.

I would have included: People who dress head to toe in hyped apparel mocking people dressed similarly by calling them “Hypebeasts”, people that believe dickriding in Instagram comments is the fast track to success, people that describe their WordPress as an “online magazine,” the death of mystique by brands and stores asking their legion of fans how they’re doing on a Monday morning like a talkative taxi driver, people that start editorial-led projects who can’t photograph, write, style, design or offer any form of Teflon business plan and are subsequently surplus to requirements, any form of middle person who simply slows down the communication and cash chain, people that ask you to follow them on social media, people that write “RT” after Tweets, people that fill Facebook with links to fictional motivational quotes that no great mind of the 20th century ever said, people that want you to phone them back to discuss what they could have emailed you in a single (easier to dismiss) sentence, people that think you’ve turned into a prima donna because you don’t feel like working for them for free, people that get so angry about mediocre sports footwear they wouldn’t be into if it wasn’t hyped up that they call everyone a reseller and make you like resellers way more than “sneakerheads”, people that put a full stop in front of an @ response so they can broadcast a conversation to everyone, nothing being allowed to be “quite good” any more because it has to be a classic or else it’s a crushing letdown, PR companies paid to represent a brand they know or care nothing about excitedly sharing links to sites barely rehashing press releases because said PR company gave them the shoes/jeans/t-shirt/hate (delete as applicable), blogs posting exactly what a bigger blog has posted and expecting anyone (bar the aforementioned PR company) to care, anyone who still clings onto “selling out” as a negative, a Benjamin Button in a snapback world of such regressed adulthood that any normal activity that isn’t prancing around getting hyped over complete crap is deemed “grown man shit”, multiple recaps of launch parties laden with exactly the same fucking people where any right-minded person would have zero aspiration to attend, tiny credits that nobody ever clicks through for the provider of content for an entire post on a blog complete with a click-through gallery of every image (thus eliminating any reason to ever visit the source site), that secret project that somebody heavy handedly alludes to over a period of time that nearly always turns out to be crushingly mediocre, the people that announce to the world pre or just post New Year that “This is my year” and then do absolutely nothing except Tweet turgid guff, people that think they’re being “hated on” or “trolled” and spend much of their time explaining this but are actually just hateful wankers who bring it on themselves and cry themselves to sleep (hopefully), people that call Supreme “Preme,” paranoid people that assume that this blog post is about them (word to Carly Simon), people that think they’re curating things because they take pictures of free stuff and anybody that doesn’t realise that most brands they’re all over are no better than that HYPE streetwear Dave brand.

Aaaaaand, breathe.

Now sneering at menswear and influencer culture is easily available (and more articulately executed) elsewhere, there’s little call for it here at this moment in time, plus Keef said it better than I ever could too. Salutes to everybody who just gets on with it and will quietly make powermoves in 2013. Anyway, how can I be angry while that Estelle Hanania portrait of Giorgio Moroder from the excellent feature on him in ‘PIG Quarterly’ (thank you, Sofarok) exists? Can’t do it. It’s also hard to be angry after BKRW put me onto Yan Morvan’s French gang photography that’s the subject of a new book (‘Gangs Story’), videos and an exhibition soon.



Gang story


As I lay here trying to influence myself to write anything, the whole notion of influence (and Bob Beaudine and Paul Adams’ works disprove the blog-centric notion of what constitutes and influencer) becomes even more ludicrous. Still, I’m honoured that my friend Mr. Matt Halfhill (whose drive and sheer knowledge of SEO and power of social media is genuinely inspirational) put me at #41 on a Complex list of people who have some juice in the sports footwear sector. To be honest, I don’t feel any more influential than I did when I started winging it in this industry — I’m still winging it to the present day. I’m also looking for some influence to assist me in executing some projects I’ve been lucky enough to get involved in, so I’m currently looking at hardcore performance boots from some respected names that don’t seem to have made the crossover. I’ve long been a fan of Bavarian boot masters Meindl (I obsessed over a transparent demo version of one of their top tier designs for some time), but Italy’s La Sportiva are an excellent brand too. I saw some of their ugly but efficient looking mountain runners on Japanese feet a few years back and became preoccupied with what this 80 year-old brand does.

The needs of mountain runners are myriad, but La Sportiva”s Zianno di Fiemme based factory makes performance footwear that’s far from rustic close to home with some serious GORE-TEX affiliations. From a visual standpoint, the Nepal EVO GTX mountain boot is hardbody and deeply obnoxious (my two key boot criteria), with the Rasta coloured midsole housing a variable thickness TPU for front crampons, the yellow being a similar deal for rear crampons and the red being an antishock material. This boot looks like a good post apocalyptic pick. I could spend a substantial amount of time just gawping at the wild designs La Sportiva put out and while they’ve had a rep for bold colours since the 1980s, these are serious in their performance capabilities. I believe that Merrells well-regarded 1980s and early 1990s Italian-made output came from the La Sportiva factory too. There’s colourway inspirations for days right here, but their more subdued stuff holds up pretty well too.

Another superior export from Northern Italy, Giorgio Moroder, is the subject of a tremendous interview in the new ‘Fantastic Man’ that covers an array of topics that might be relevant to the interests of this blog’s handful of readers. He purports to have never used drugs (despite the image I posted here a few years ago, with what seems to be a colossal line of chop), bigs up Rick Rubin and David Guetta, reveals he worked with Michael Jackson and, with a progressive mindset, explains that “Moroder-esque” is usually a byword for regressive sounds that he wouldn’t make now. He thinks the soundtrack to ‘Drive’ would be, “a little outdated in the ’80s.” Between that and Nile Rodgers’ 60th birthday video messages with the Daft Punk appearance, it’s a good week for legends who are still standing.


This week was a good one. As a result, there’s no rants on here whatsoever. The highlight was meeting Ray Barbee briefly at the Vans OTW spot in Berlin. It’s not cool to fan out, but it’s a natural response if it’s somebody you looked up to as a kid. I’ve only felt the lurching out-of-body fan reaction when I’m speaking to my childhood heroes — it happened during a conversation with Big Daddy Kane a few years back, and it very nearly happened during throwaway words with Mr. Barbee. It’s that flashback during an interaction to watching something or gawping at an LP cover with a feeling of distant awe a few decades prior, then realising that you’re chatting with that near-mythical individual. In 1988 and 1989 I watched Steve Saiz, Ray Barbee, Eric Sanderson and Chet Thomas’s ‘Public Domain’ section on repeat. I even held a tape recorder up to the TV speakers to get an audio copy of McRad’s ‘Weakness.’

Barbee in ‘Public Domain’ evokes a summer of listening to Run-DMC’s underrated ‘Tougher Than Leather’ and being apprehended by local metallers who were at least six years older than me who saw my ‘Killers’ t-shirt and asked me what my favourite Iron Maiden album was — on claiming that it was ‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son’ they said, “Fuck off! It’s got keyboards on it” and proceeded to rub crisps into my mullet hairdo. Traumatic times. I have strong evidence that one of the gang was Chris Law, formerly of Crooked Tongues, adidas Originals and now a Converse resident in Boston. I’ll have my revenge one day.

Other than the KP/hair incident, it’s a time I remember fondly, but Ray and his boys had style, flow and an aggression, fluidly merging vert and freestyle elements with something new that transformed everybody’s perception of the landscape around them as we rode like grems — barely able to ollie — while performing our best vocal impressions of the ‘Weakness’ riff. I was a terrible skater, but in my head I was in that sequence. The skating, soundtrack and black and white film was an epiphany moment for me — it never made me a pro skater, but it fueled my preoccupation with sub-cultures. My mum said that preoccupation would never get me anywhere…and she was nearly right. But it got me to Berlin to meet Ray Barbee.

Now Stacy Peralta’s ‘Bones Brigade’ has debuted at Sundance (according to Hitfix, “Bones Brigade” also features cameos from the likes of Shepard Fairey, Ben Harper and Fred Durst, whose every appearance earned loud and vocal derision from the premiere night crowd.”), I assume that I won’t be alone in this 1980’s skateboard nostalgia this year. Flicking through a book and finding a RAD magazine sticker reminds me of the stickers that preempted the quest for Supreme box logos. These things are as evocative of 1988 as Powell’s VHS effort. I’m no OBEY fan, but their ‘Who is Chuck Treece?’ video on that story behind ‘Weakness’s inclusion from 2010 was excellent, as was Slap’s Ray Barbee ‘Public Domain’ commentary. Ray Barbee seemed like a nice bloke.

Another of the week’s highlights was the news that Giorgio Moroder would score Kim Jones’ menswear show for Louis Vuitton in Paris on Thursday. My preoccupation with Moroder’s work has been made clear here many times. Donna Summer, his classic ‘From Here to Eternity’ and ‘Midnight Express’s soundtrack are implemented and bombers, sharp, slim tailoring and some more eccentric elements are perfectly deployed to the tempo. The shiny metallic details, PARIS belts and headwear evoke something very contemporary, with some cues from a time when McDonalds coffee stirrers were perfect for cocaine usage (I like how the long-cancelled 1970’s freebies are listed as McDonalds Coke Spoon on eBay) for those doing bumps on a budget. So we know about Giorgio’s Cizeta-Moroder supercar creation and that he was trying to put together a musical called ‘Spago’ but ended up giving the name to Wolfgang Puck for his restaurant, but there’s always time to re-up this image of him openly doing a hefty line of chop, with his yayo carrier looking on. Giorgio Moroder…legend. Salutes to Fast Fashion for upping the Louis, Kris Van Assche and Rick Owens shows. 

‘Men’s File’ magazine has such a pleasant price point and a deeper level of content than any heritage cash in, that it’s more than a fad rider — the Uncle Ralph co-sign and frequent emphasis on motorbike culture, makes it seem like something targeted at those people who like to learn the history and profiles some of the individuals who seem to pull off past looks as if they never left, rather than looking like they just wandered off one of those sepia-effect wild west family photos at a theme park. With their pop-up opening the other week on Lamb’s Conduit Street, issue six of the magazine dropped too. Their The Curator online store deals in replicas, so if you can pull off a 1950s motorcycle cap without looking like a laughing-stock, you’re probably one of the chosen few who’d end up in the pages of the magazine. The new issue has dogs, vintage garments and profiles on bare-bones custom bike build pioneer Shinya Kimura and another hero of mine, Mr. Hitoshi Tsujimoto of The Real McCoy’s.

I also enjoyed this interview at ‘A Fist in the Face of God’ with Kick and Sindre of Nekromantheon that discusses the creative benefits of drinking corpse water.

Anybody else perplexed at Quentin Tarantino’s dismissal of ‘Drive’ in the “Nice Try” category of his best and worst of 2011 lists? Is there only room for one film in the wilfully surface level car movie throwback stakes? ‘Drive’ wasn’t ‘Grindhouse’ fodder, but it could easily have slotted into a 1985 video store themed sequel.


I really liked ‘Drive.’ If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to get embroiled in a rambling conversation about ’80s thrillers with me, then you’ll know that — as a child of the indy video store era — I love that genre. Title screens flash with neon, character actors crack skulls, fake blood is in abundance and when the films are at their best, there’s an inherent taint of sleaze. You can clean up the audio and video all you like, taking it to Blu-ray quality, but that sleaze is too tough to shift. ‘Drive’ is Nicolas Winding Refn’s tribute to that era and he gets it pitch perfect, while shaving off the crappier aspect, so those vintage Clubmasters of yours stay tinted. The urgency of Refn’s ‘Pusher’ trilogy seemed at odds with the cinematic rebirth of his often-ponderous ‘Valhalla Rising’ but here the deliberate pace is pitched perfect, indicating that he’s that he’s opted to (Michael) Mann up.

If we’re going to filter down my favourite ’80s thrillers, I favour films like 1980’s ‘American Gigolo’ and 1981’s ‘Thief’ (cited by Refn as an influence on ‘Drive’), where occupations clash and situations engulf the protagonists. Michael Mann’s ‘Thief’ with its stylised LA reveals a heart of darkness in James Caan’s diner conversation with Tuesday Weld, discussing a “not-give-a-fuck” mindstate that’s explosively manifested towards the film’s conclusion. It’s an amazing scene that’s out-darkened by the burst of bile from mob bawse Leo later on, but it’s a classic film. James Caan’s Ric Flair style approach to wooing is also incredible, “I wear $150 slacks, I wear silk shirts, I wear $800 suits, I wear a gold watch, I wear a perfect, D-flawless three carat ring. I change cars like other guys change their fucking shoes. I’m a thief. I’ve been in prison, all right?” On that tailored note, both ‘American Gigolo’s Julian and ‘Thief’s Frank are both kitted out for the screen by Giorgio Armani.

‘Drive’s descent into nihilism echoes elements of ‘Thief’ but there’s a sense that — had Refn had the opportunity — Michael Mann favourites Tangerine Dream would’ve scored it. The German ambience turned up to shattering levels underpinned some classics. Alongside ‘Thief’ they also contributed music to 1983’s ‘Risky Business’ to match Giorgio Moroder’s ‘American Gigolo’ work and 1977’s massively underrated William Friedkin ego-led mercenary masterpiece, ‘Sorcerer’ — Friedkin’s hard-boiled classic with extra hair gel, 1985’s ‘To Live and Die in LA’ is cited as another of Refn’s reference points, and while it lacks Tangerine Dream, it got Wang Chung on the score.

But that pink script that makes up the opening credits of ‘Drive’ is pretty compelling too. What’s the lineage of that? Pick a film from between 1980 and 1985 and you’re liable to find a reference point. The colour evokes ‘Risky Business’s opening titles, but it’s even more evocative of the lettering of the film’s poster. The scrawled ‘Sorcerer,’ ‘Thief’s script and minimal font for the leads (prior to the realistic 9-minute safe cracking sequence that sets off the film`), ‘American Gigolo’s appropriately fancy way with the letters and the fluorescent blocks of ‘To Live and Die in LA’ against a sunny backdrop may have played a part too.

Provided you can wear your reference points on your scorpion jacket sleeve without descending into a mosaic of homages, there’s no shame in taking it back to the VHS era’s most overlooked neon-noirs and ‘Drive’ pulls that off perfectly.

Bonus: With my love of 1981’s ‘Nighthawks,’ I was drawn towards 1982’s ‘The Soldier’ too, a luridly violent, silly b-movie from James Glickenhaus, the director of another personal grindhouse classic, ‘The Executioner.’ ‘The Soldier’ aka. ‘Codename: The Soldier’ benefits from an unexpected Tangerine Dream score and some phenomenal animated opening titles, full of patriotic slogans and communist images. James Glickenhaus is a very wealthy man, having moved from Hollywood to New York’s Fifth Avenue, into the financial realm. He commissioned the tricked-out Enzo Ferrari that is the one-off Ferrari P4/5 by Pinifarina — a custom job so exceptional, that Luca di Montezemolo had it officially Ferrari badged. Imagine Ryan Gosling taking that one on a getaway mission….


Any excuse…literally, ANY excuse to up these images of Giorgio Moroder is enough to warrant a blog post dedicated to the man and his machinery. From experimental subversive sounds, still with the trademark android polish, to most good records of the ’80s (Bowie, Debbie Harry and Phil Oakey spring to mind), Moroder did it. That mechanised Dilla looped (and subsequently recycled) refrain Jay Electronica found e-fame with? Moroder.

From yayo-frantic sounds to plodding robo-Turk reinterpretations, Giorgio is the godfather. Sonically, the whole Ed Banger clan know what time it is when Moroder gets mentioned, and by a lineage of influence, Giorgio birthed many a club soundtrack. But seriously, a great site like FACT can give you a more professional outlook on his best work (FACT mainman and Vinyl Factory honcho Sean Bidder took a chance on a certain chancer freelancer back in 2001 and it’s appreciated).

Sadly, you readers get props over here and a debt of gratitude, but shelling out to get a Getty image cleared is a costly step too far. Still. Despite the intrusive lettering, while the pot-bellied stripe tee studio gesturing image is good, the images below are a great deal more powerful. Charting the many moods of Moroder, the big sunglasses, razor blade chain black and white shoot’s killer, but the alfresco music making poolside is fresh too. Not sure what’s going on with the powder at the table though. This guy was bigger than even Mannie Fresh could fictionalise.

Good to see some images of the ultimate collaboration too – the Cizeta-Moroder V16T supercar, premiered in 1988 and sold between 1991 and 1995 at a $600,000 pricepoint. Pharrell would have a tough time topping that one on the premium dual-label stakes. Around seven were made, and Giorgio’s business partner, Ferrari dealer Claudio Zampolli apparently went to the USA after Cizeta Italy went bankrupt. According to Cizeta USA’s site, if you’ve got $100,000 for a deposit, you can still get one built. This FAQ breaks it down – but a slicker site would be appropriate. Bear in mind that a 1994 version was seized in December by United States Customs without even being on the road as a danger to the public. They can shift.

The two reasons for this Moroder-centric meandering is down to two recent books – the release of ‘And Party Every Day – The Inside Story of Casablanca Records’ meant some new additions to YouTube of unseen Casablanca Records reels from music industry conventions – can you comprehend the sheer volume of chop being consumed at those late ’70s shindigs? Check the otherwordly, seizure-inducing  ‘Battlestar Galactica’ montage at the end of the ‘Midnight Express’ teaser, and there’s a snippet of a Munich Machine ‘Let Your Body Shine’ promo too. Plus, just because…that oft-seen Casablanca footage of some robo-voiced studio time (“Moogs, memory boards and Moroder”) deserves inclusion too.

The second book is Taschen’s ‘Extraordinary Records’ in association with Colors magazine. 432 pages of coloured, etched and shaped vinyl oddities – Giorgio Moroder is an author of the book (well, he writes the introduction), and it even includes a Mastodon record in the mix. From Moroder to Mastodon in one easy step – this is a necessary release. For all his passion for synthesized sound, his passion for vinyl at its most tactile is evident too. Undisputed demigod status…