Giorgio Moroder and the Nova

What's That Sound?

Giorgio Moroder, a man as well known for his sunglasses and moustache as he was for the sound he created. This Italian born music producer can be put on high along with the likes of Vangelis, for he too brought the world a truly unique and distinctive sound that captured our imagination both on and off the screen. Beginning his musical career in the ‘60s, it wasn’t until disco really came to light in the 70’s that Moroder began to develop his sound. From then on out, there was no stopping the force that was Giorgio Moroder. Today, having been a Novation user for many years, he has teamed up with Novation for the very limited release of the MoroderNova synthesizer that bears his image, his sound and a very cool cult.

Having developed his own unique sound over the years, it is obvious that Moroder has gained so much from collaborations with other artists along the way. Take for example his soundtrack to Midnight Express where he worked with Harold Faltermeier, of “Axel F” fame. In this you can hear influences of both Faltermeier’s and Moroder’s in the composition and sounds created, and you can hear in Moroder’s later works how this became an influence. Like any great artist, he grows with every collaboration he undergoes and so, Moroder’s latest collaboration with Novation should create great things from both the artist and the synthesizer manufacturer.


For those of you lucky enough to get your hands on one of the very limited edition MoroderNovas, it will be a trophy to hang on to for all time. Based around the MiniNova, but with a unique facia and sound set, these synthesizers have been limited to 500 units worldwide, so they naturally attracted quite a lot of attention even before they were released. The frame is the same as a MiniNova, but with a black and silver colour palette and factory patches inspired by Giorgio Moroder’s work. As a colleague pointed out to me last week, there’s a hit in every one of those patches. And he is right in more ways than one. Yes, there ‘was’ a hit in each of the sounds in the MoroderNova, having come from Giorgio’s works, but there is also a hit waiting to happen as each and every patch is ready to be put to new use. This is where the real fun is going to begin.


Obviously we all wanted to play the theme music from Scarface and, of course, Top Gun, when we got our hands on one of these. You just couldn’t help but realise the potential for a cover band in what lies within these keyboards. And for anyone looking to fire up a Giorgio Moroder tribute show, this is going to be the best starting point for getting all your sounds in one place. But, it is not enough to take a great engine like this and simply replicate what Moroder has already done. What the MoroderNova is crying out for is some new creativity to be harnessed with the aid of the sounds of old. A new interpretation on sounds that were fresh and exciting some thirty or forty years ago is what really makes this an interesting unit.


Now, being that this is essentially a MiniNova with a new set of pre-set patches, there are going to a lot of MiniNova users around the world giving their blue unit a sonic upgrade and dumping the Sysex file into their MiniNova to create a glorified MoroderNova, that is for certain. Just because it doesn’t have the silver facia and the sunglass and moustache logos on it, doesn’t mean it can’t behave like a MoroderNova. So, what we are seeing is an existing user group that already knows this synthesizer very well having access to a new range of sounds that are sure to trigger many memories from the past. I think it is also very fitting that a keyboard like this, which comes with an included microphone for vocoder use should be reprogrammed for such a collection of pre-sets, given that Moroder was an early exponent of the vocoder and used it to create a futuristic edge to certain tracks. I for one loved his reworking of the Metropolis soundtrack to bring new life to this classic film and was delighted to hear similar sounds were to be found within the MoroderNova. These are not dissimilar to many of the sounds used in the Scarface soundtrack, so there is plenty of scope for interpretation of these patches and a great deal of new life that can be breathed into these sound of old.