Great Moments in Synth: Giorgio Moroder’s “Midnight Express”


Hmm, I haven’t posted actual MP3 links in a while, which probably bums out those people who don’t like to rip the soundtracks themselves. But never fear, for I is gonna do some more soon. That is a crazy promise!

But today… synth music! Midnight Express is a film that came out in 1978 and was an adaptation of a book by the same name, written by American Billy Hayes about his experiences in Turkey. Before boarding a plane to go home, he was busted for trying to smuggle a small amount of hashish out of the country. He ended up spending a bunch of time in a really nasty Turkish prison and the much of the movie revolves around this experience.

The synth soundtrack was done by Giorgio Moroder, who is also well-known for writing the soundtrack to the classic ’80s gangster movie, Scarface. Also interesting, is the fact that Oliver Stone did a great deal of the screenwriting and dialog adaptation for Midnight Express. And Stone also wrote the screenplay for Scarface, which as I just said, also included Moroder in the project. Haha, based on these two movies, I’m pretty convinced that Oliver Stone is more talented as screenwriter than he is as a director.

The most well-known track on the Midnight Express soundtrack is probably from the “Chase scene” in downtown Istanbul. It’s pretty pumping and catchy, and you can hear some of the similar underlying electronic bass sounds Moroder would use in other films:

The main theme of the movie is also pretty excellent, if I do say so myself. As I’m always gushing about these classic synth soundtracks, there’s something interesting about the music’s aesthetic and composition which gives it a sort of “mystical” vibe, like it could be the music to a fantastical melancholy tale. And that’s one of the main things I’m looking for in music and life, as we all know by now.

I love the transition between the gloomy, downtrodden melodic phrases at the beginning of the song, and the segway into the more uplifting beautiful moments in the middle. Nicely done.


~ by chaosrexmachinae on November 13, 2008.

One Response to “Great Moments in Synth: Giorgio Moroder’s “Midnight Express””

  1. That main theme is pretty unbelievable. It almost sounds like a fleshed out Commodore 64 sound card thingy – speaking of which, I haven’t listened to Kohina in a long time.

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