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Google partners with electronic music legend Giorgio Moroder for new game that requires only five smartphones

By Matt Gerardi • May 17, 2013

This week, Google launched its latest game experiment, RACER, a minimalist slot car-style racing game for two to five players. You may remember the company’s last attempt at this sort of thing, a suite of browser games that used smartphones and tablets as controllers. RACER is a little different. Instead of using your mobile device like a controller magically hooked up to the computer screen where the game is taking place, RACER asks players to squeeze together and align their devices just right, building the racetrack across all their screens. The game is simple and not all that exciting—it’s primarily a proof of concept—but the techno-wizardry behind it is cool. The soundtrack is also collaborative, with each phone or tablet playing a different layer of the background music, which is the neatest thing about this little experiment. To hear it with full instrumentation, you’ll have to wrangle five people and smartphones together. Fortunately for us loners, Google uploaded the whole thing to YouTube, as you can see above.

The music was written by Giorgio Moroder, a musician and record producer responsible for bringing the synthesizer to pop-music prominence and helping to craft the sound of disco and all dance music to follow. He’s best known for his work with the late queen of disco, Donna Summer, particularly on the seminal tracks “I Feel Love” and “Love To Love You Baby.” Moroder is making a bit of a comeback right now. Maybe you’ve heard about his collaboration with Daft Punk, the autobiographical “Giorgio By Moroder” from the duo’s new album, Random Access Memories. The tune he wrote for RACER has all the hallmarks of a Moroder track—a simple bass line over a steady bass-drum pulse, a repetitive synth hook—but it gets mired down with some cliché modern dance-music techniques. Nevertheless, it’s great to see this sort of collaboration. I always wondered why we don’t see more pop musicians working with game creators. (Budget constraints, I suppose.) I’m still holding out hope for my dream game: Rhythm Heaven: Daft Punk Edition.

And here’s that Daft Punk song, because it’s so darn cool—and educational!

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13 Responses to “Google partners with electronic music legend Giorgio Moroder for new game that requires only five smartphones”

  1. I’ve been listening to that Daft Punk/Giorgio track all week, and yet, all I can think of when I look at this is the most recent Bloc Party record.

  2. boardgameguy says:

    not sure why, but i’ve decided to wait on listening to RAM until i purchase it next Tuesday. i hope i don’t end up enjoying the anticipation more than the product, but based on all the collaborators clips, i don’t think that is going to be a problem.

  3. Captain Internet says:

    OK, so we are going to talk about this album!

    Great.

    It’s flabby, but it’s one of the greatest records I’ve ever heard. It’s up there with Parklife, Fullfilliness’ First Finale, Seven Days of Falling, Casanova Court and Spark

    …and you can dance to it

    • Matt Gerardi says:

      I’m so down to talk about it. 

      I think a lot of the hate the Daft Punk record is getting is coming from folks who were expecting a Discovery 2. Their popularity really grew because of the status that album achieved and as such some people were hoping for more of that. Even though they’re reverent of the same eras and styles of music, Discover and RAM are two very very different albums. 
      RAM feels like an album out of time. You just don’t hear music this grand anymore, let alone albums that feel like immersive experiences rather than collections of singles. It’s excessive and cheesy, but I love it so much as a celebration of the last 40 years of pop music. Daft Punk set out to bring back the magic of recorded music, and I think they did just that. 

      • Captain Internet says:

        I don’t think I’ve heard music like this ever- I spent half a day on Spotify trying to find something similar, and didn’t really succeed. There’s the Nile Rogers guitar line on a number of records, but it’s rarely sounded so right.

        Giorgio by Moroder is a work of beauty. I just love how it states it’s theme, then deconstructs it, then builds it back up, then just goes fully transcendental . It has the form of a jazz band playing a standard, but done with a different intent. It wants you to understand exactly why it is so damn funky, but never stops being funky. 

        Each player gets a section that they’re soloing on- but when I listened to it again I realised that every single bar was filled with equal musicianship, just less ostentatious.

        Ah.

        Track 2 is shit though.

        • Matt Gerardi says:

          My favorite thing about “Giorgio By Moroder” might actually be the very last seconds. I think of the track as a little trip through dance-music history, starting with Moroder, the synthesizer, and a 120 BPM kick drum. It moves through disco and yacht rock, folds in elements of hip hop, and finally more modern electronic music—all of it of course centered on a very Moroder-like synth line.

          But in the end, it all fades away and we’re just left with that 120 BPM bass drum, the unifying piece of it all. 

        • Captain Internet says:

          @twitter-15878210:disqus yes! I noticed that too- as I was saying in the other thread, it’s a dissertation on dance music written entirely in dance music.

        • Yes, the Giorgio track is definitely a sort of chronological-history-of-pop-music sort of thing, and it’s really fun to follow, especially when you get that sudden interruption of strings after the synth-era and before the introduction of heavy drums and subsequent scratching. Things got sincere real quick right there.

          The two tracks that have made the greatest impressions on me are “Touch” with Paul Williams (you know, the dude who wrote “Rainbow Connection”) and “Doin’ It Right” with Panda Bear. “Touch” feels somehow enormous and intensely solitary, while “Doin’ It Right” is a very small song, in terms of density of voices, but it’s positively joyous. I keep coming back to these tunes and just enjoying the heck out of them for all sorts of new reasons each time.

          Agnello and I have been discussing this all week, and I’m not trying to speak for him, but the major topic was that people need to stop having expectations of Daft Punk. A lot of people were initially upset with Discover for not being Homework 2 (let’s not forget that Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber famously gave the album a 6.4. This is not a knock against Ryan, who is a friend of mine, but that was a lot of peoples’ attitudes at the time). Most still dislike Human After All for not being Discovery 2. And everyone hated on the Tron: Legacy soundtrack for not being a pop album. If you go into any Daft Punk album expecting it to continue where anything else left off, of course you’re going to be disappointed. That said, I definitely think Random Access Memories is Daft Punk’s most accessible record by a mile, and that has less to do with the analog instrumentation and the guest spots as it does the whole ethos and philosophy of the record. It’s pure pop, and a worthwhile reminder that pop can be light-hearted, introspective, and celebratory all at the same time while still being damn pleasant.

      • Captain Internet says:

        You’re completely right about the grandure of this album btw. One other observation: every bar in this record is unique. That’s a long way away from Around the World

        • There’s a fantastic in-depth cover story on Pitchfork this week where Thomas and Guy discuss how you can really tell on records whether somebody is playing the part continuously for a whole song or its just a loop and that, unfortunately, the two of them are only capable of playing hooks like that on analog instruments for 8 or 16 bars before losing it.

        • Captain Internet says:

          @dsanskrit:disqus I read that piece, and it’s basically the future of the press- the surrounding  parts were a little gaudy, and the text didn’t quite justify it’s ellipses,  but it’s a good starting point. 

          But you are so on the money with how the album is. 

  4. CNightwing says:

    I’m sold! Giorgio’s best work is, of course, his disco remix of the original Battlestar Galactica theme.