In 1978 Giorgio Moroder won the Academy Award for best musical score in a motion picture. The motion picture was “Midnight Express” and it was written by Oliver Stone (his first screenplay). Although musical score composers often go overlooked by the public, this Academy Award was a milestone for electronic music, which was still a contentious subject in those days. While an earlier electronic release might have nodded a few heads: “Hooked on Bach” by Walter/Wendy Carlos was popular, but it was still looked on as sort of a gimmick. Wendy Carlos went on to “electrify Beethoven for Kubrick’s dark classic “A Clock-Work Orange” which was critically but not publicly praised. “Midnight Express” which tells the true story of an American caught smuggling hash and sentenced to life in a Turkish Prison was real Oscar material and it was a bold move to ditch the symphony and innovate with Moroder’s wacky contraptions. Giorgio composed and performed the entire haunting score to “Midnight Express” using electronic instrument and it worked brilliantly and if the old “fuddy-duddies” at the Academy of Motions Pictures Arts and Sciences gave electronic music the stamp of approval, then there must be something to it. And thus the digital age of musical scores was born. Here is a rare record company promo tape made by Casablanca records in 1979 to promote Giorgio Moroder’s land mark electronic music release “E=MC2”
Here’s a clip of Giorgio Moroder on a German talk show talking about his work on “Midnight Express”. (Skip the first 1:45 seconds if you don’t speak German) I could have written subtitles but I’m to lazy.