E=MC² (Giorgio Moroder album)

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E=MC² 1.png
Studio album by Giorgio Moroder
Released 27 August 1979
Recorded 1979
Genre Electro disco - Italo disco - Dance
Length 48:59
Label Casablanca Records
Producer Giorgio Moroder
Harold Faltermeyer
Giorgio Moroder chronology
Love's in You, Love's in Me
Solitary Men
Singles from E=MC²

E=MC² is a 1979 album produced and composed by Giorgio Moroder and Harold Faltermeyer. The album describes itself as "the first electronic live-to-digital album." It was one of the first albums in popular music to use digital recording technology.

Album information[edit]

Concept and recording[edit]

In late 1978/early 1979, Giorgio attended a music convention and was taken aback by the technological advances of a certain recording machine he saw on one of the stands; the two-track, digital tape recorder - created by a company called Soundstream Incorporation from Saltlake City, Utah, under supervision by a Dr. Thomas G. Stockham. The company was founded in 1975 and was primarily functioning to record and preserve classical music. The machine itself would allow any sound source to be recorded digitally, at a rate of 50 kHz, 16BIT. This gave Giorgio the idea to be the first person in musical history to record a pop album, digitally. As per usual with Giorgio's quick-working style, the album was recorded and released in under a week at Rusk Sound Studio, L.A, in the year 1979; the official year of Albert Einstein, marking 100 years since his birth. Giorgio's main idea for this album was for everything to be played live and sequenced at the same time. Following this strictly sequenced technique, Giorgio and his team knew what was playing, when, how it would play and most importantly, without any mistakes, due to the fact that editing music that was recorded digitally would take a lot longer to happen than normal magnetic tape recording and editing as the tape would have to be sent off back to Soundstream Inc.'s headquarters in Utah to be edited by specialists. This process took at least 3 weeks and by the time the finished result was heard, changes to the song had already been made. Renting this machine and service from Soundstream Inc. didn't come cheap, it was on average around ten thousand dollars, per day. To keep with the digital vibe, Giorgio had the idea to vocalize the album credits, so at the end of the title track E=MC2, the entire album credits were sung out, even including the tea and coffee lady; Laurie Kanner. The only non-live elements to the album were the vocals by Giorgio and the 2nd and 3rd part harmonies. To help with the overwhelming, ambitionous task of recording a live-to-digital album, Harold Faltermeyer was called in to programme the majority of instruments, computers and synths and would occasionally play on some songs. Keith Forsey, another of Giorgio's musical team was brought in to play the drums, Chris Bennett, vocalist from Giorgio's group Munich Machine would help to write songs along with another of Giorgio's long-term co-producers, Pete Bellotte. When the album was finally released, its main label was Casablanca Records.


Roland MC8, 3X Marantz Piano-coders, 4X Roland System 700 modular synthesizers, Polymoog synthesizer, Hohner Clavinet, Fender Rhodes, Moog Vocoder, Roland JP-4, ARP 2600.


To promote the album, an in-studio video recording at Rusk Sound Studio was shown across various, American news channels showing Giorgio and his team playing Baby Blue along with demonstrations of various equipment such as the vocoder. A giant billboard was also erected by Casablanca Records on Sweetzer Avenue, Los Angeles, California, of a life size Giorgio sporting a robot-style T-shirt, designed by Shusei Nagaoka, a famous Japanese album art designer. At night time, the billboard would light up, illuminating Giorgio via various bulbs and flashing lights. This robot-style design was later used as the album's artwork. The art design of the album itself was very elaborate, the label of the original LP shows each song's track length down to 5 decimal points. The inner sleeve of the original LP shows a photograph of a digital audio wave of the first track, Baby Blue, along with the album's credits. Various versions of the album cover exist, including different coloured fonts, for example; the UK LP had bright green titles with red subtitles, whilst the US LP has dark green titles with orange subtitles. The Italian release had a different cover altogether.


Since its release, the album has become a cult classic. To this day, the album has never had an entire, digital master-sourced CD release, only vinyl sourced CD's exist, due to the original master being lost, or most likely, corrupted, a common problem with early, digital recordings. A few compilations and CD singles from the late 1980s and early 1990s contain 3 tracks from the album that are digitally sourced; What A Night, I Wanna Rock You and E=MC2, but Baby Blue, If You Weren't Afraid and In My Wildest Dreams remain unnisued in the digital domain.


The songs "E=MC²" and "I Wanna Rock You" were featured in the game Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories on the radio station "Flashback FM".

"E=MC²" vocal credits[edit]

Additional credits are listed vocally at the end of "E=MC²":

  • This album was produced by: Giorgio Moroder and Harold Faltermeyer.
  • All keyboards and programming by: Harold, with a little help from Giorgio.
  • On drums and percussion: Keith 'Foot' Forsey, recorded live to digital - at Rusk sound studio.
  • Digital system by: Sound Stream, incorporated.
  • Roland's Micro-composer, programmed by: Harold, assisted by Brian Gardner.
  • Engineered and mixed by: Harold, Giorgio and Juergen Koppers 'The Floppers'.
  • Second engineer: Steven Smith, assisted by Carolyn Tapp and Roman Olearczuk.
  • Keyboards played on piano-coder, engineered by: Merlin Bogan.
  • Tea and coffee by: Laurie Kanner.
  • Energy equals MC squared.
  • Thank you Albert.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Baby Blue" (Keith Forsey, Giorgio Moroder) - 4:54
  2. "What a Night" (Harold Faltermeyer, Forsey, Moroder) - 4:54
  3. "If You Weren't Afraid" (Chris Bennett, Moroder) - 5:40
  4. "I Wanna Rock You" (Faltermeyer, Forsey, Moroder) - 6:32
  5. "In My Wildest Dreams" (Bennett, Moroder) - 4:37
  6. "E=MC²" (Pete Bellotte, Faltermeyer, Moroder) - 4:32
2001 CD Bonus Tracks
  1. "Love's in You, Love's in Me" (Bellotte, Moroder) - 3:35 [from Giorgio and Chris, 1978]
  2. "Evolution" (Moroder) - 15:15 [from Battlestar Galactica, 1978]
2013 CD Bonus Tracks
  1. "Baby Blue" (Single Version) (Keith Forsey, Giorgio Moroder) - 3:52
  2. "If You Weren't Afraid" (Single Version) (Chris Bennett, Moroder) - 3:53
  3. "I Wanna Rock You" (Single Version) (Faltermeyer, Forsey, Moroder) - 3:51