Giorgio Moroder and the Future of Sound in Transportation

At CES, the iconic musician speaks about his collaboration with FPT Industrial

Within the rows and rows of consumer-facing products at CES, business-to-business innovations and releases work double-time to impress. For instance, John Deere delivered an entire R4038 self-propelled sprayer to the show floor. Towering other booths, the tractor spotlighted the company’s commitment to furthering agricultural technology. Another exhibitor, FPT Industrial, transported attendees to a setting reminiscent of a listening party. Their booth, a bright red beacon contrasting the drab blues and whites of the Las Vegas Convention Center, featured their new Cursor X 4.0 Power Source Concept—a modular, modern powertrain with applications in agriculture, transportation, industrial, and marine vehicles and vessels—set at the center of a lavishly built-out recording studio. In the corner of the booth, situated behind a DJ stand, was famed producer, singer, songwriter, and “Father of Disco” Giorgio Moroder.

Image courtesy of FPT Industrial

Across from him, framed plaques and posters of his most famous works were hung. Many tech-focused attendees meandered past, vaguely acknowledging the icon. For those privy to his presence (and performance), the rest of CES seemed to fade away.

by Evan Malachosky

Though perhaps unexpected, Moroder’s appearance at the annual tech convention has a surprisingly obvious reason. Moroder, a pioneering figure of electronic music, loves cars—he expresses sheer joy when talking about Formula E cars and Ferraris. When he and the FPT Industrial team serendipitously connected over automotive vehicles in Munich last year, the parties figured there was something they could work on together. Ultimately, they narrowed their sights on a start-up sequence, a signature sound logo, that earmarks FPT Industrial’s future-facing projects moving forward. (Think Brian Eno’s Windows 95 sequence or Walter Werzowa’s Intel Inside jingle.)

“We had the opportunity to know each other better and it was very clear from the beginning that we were sharing a lot of ideas—we were pioneering technology and he was the pioneer of electronic music,” FPT Industrial CEO, Annalisa Stupenengo, says.

Image courtesy of FPT Industrial

The first four seconds of Giorgio Moroder’s “PRELUDIO,” which was made exclusively for FPT Industrial in collaboration with the company’s engineers, will act as an audible presence within vehicles powered by the Cursor X. Because of its scalability, self-learning capabilities, and its sheer power, the Cursor X—which can switch between hydrogen, natural gas, electric or diesel as the customer’s use case demands—could be the end-all-be-all mobility solution a number of industries and autonomous vehicles of all sizes.

In a playlist that launched on the first day of CES, appropriately titled The Sound of the Future, FPT Industrial pairs Moroder’s full-length “PRELUDIO” track with songs produced and written by him and accompanying podcast episodes explaining both their signature soundscape and the Cursor X concept. The playlist is informative and entertaining, and listeners can learn quite a bit about what the future might sound like as well as where we all might see the Cursor X one day.

Image courtesy of FPT Industrial

On how the four-second sequence at the start of “PRELUDIO” came to be, Moroder tells us, “It’s kind of more difficult because [when] you’re dealing with a song you have four minutes. You can change; you have a lot of possibilities. With four seconds, it has to be there. There’s no other way: it is or it is not.” On the particular process, he says, “So I started with the most important thing: it’s to have a melody—don, don, don, don, don!,” he sings. “At the end, I probably have 30-40 different tracks mixed in.”

For fans of Moroder, “PRELUDIO” doesn’t repress the artist’s ability or his unique, synthesizer-ladened sound. Though more reminiscent of his work with Daft Punk or Limahl than his tracks with David Bowie and Irene Cara, “PRELUDIO” remains dotted with clever references to the artist’s past, further indicating that Moroder was, and remains, sonically far ahead of his time.

Image courtesy of FPT Industrial

“It’s a new era. The world changes and it’s going to change even more now,” Moroder adds.

“Of course we are very, very lucky that Giorgio fell in love with this project,” Stupenengo tells CH. “It was not a given at the beginning because it was a challenge for him. We didn’t ask him to have one of his songs rented. We wanted something that would be the merger of his vision for the future of sound and our vision of the future of powertrains.”

Hero image courtesy of FPT Industrial