Wax Poetics Issue 62
Giorgio Moroder b/w Ratatat
The Ladies of Chic
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
The Photography of Les McCann
Seven Davis Jr.
45 Francki of IAM
Iconic computer composer Giorgio Moroder got his start writing and producing pop music in Germany. But a chance encounter with American session singer Donna Summer would change the course of his career. A string of hits together would make Summer an R&B and disco superstar and Moroder a wanted musical asset in the States, and their proto-techno, all-synthesizer dance track “I Feel Love” set the tone for the future of music. As Moroder embraced the Moog synthesizer and continued to revolutionize dance music, he transferred this electronic sentiment to multiple soundtracks, including the now-classics Midnight Express and Scarface. After a cameo on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, the seventy-five-year-old composer now returns to the scene with a new album, Déjà Vu.
When fellow college alums Mike Stroud and Evan Mast ran into each other in Brooklyn and decided to jam together, they realized they had a penchant for making catchy yet cerebral instrumentals.Their newly formed band, Ratatat, featured smart interplay between guitar, synthesizers, and crisp beats. Four albums later—and collaborations with Kid Cudi and Jay Z along the way— the multi-instrumentalists return with their fifth LP, Magnifique.
With Chic, Nile Rodgers and partner Bernard Edwards created sophisticated dance music draped in mystery and anchored in the unison singing of a rotating cast of female vocalists—Norma Jean Wright, Luci Martin, Alfa Anderson, Robin Clark, Diva Gray, Michelle Cobbs, and newcomers Folami Ankoanda-Thompson and Kimberly Davis.
In the 1970s, Ohio’s blue-collar cities started churning out the hardest-working musicians in the business. Dayton native Steve Arrington came up watching the Ohio Players in the spotlight, spurring him to grind. As the drummer for the R&B band Slave, he quickly rose to take over as lead singer, which led to a successful solo career. But when he found a new calling in the Lord, he dropped out of the business altogether. After decades away, Steve is dipping his toes into the musical waters once again.