The Italian writer/producer and synthmeister Giorgio Moroder is perhaps most famous for his work on the 1977 Donna Summer single I Feel Love. The simple and highly infectious continuously repeating sequenced bassline set the scene for what was to come for the next 30 years.
To get his now-famous eight-note sequenced bass, Moroder used a massive Moog Modular synth system plugged into an eight-step analogue sequencer (lots of knobs and no storage) fed into a basic delay line set for a triplet repeat. Pressing a key on the keyboard with the sequencer running would allow simple transposition of the phrase, but not much else. Tonal variation came from real-time tweaking of synth parameters such as filter cutoff. The result is not only the sound, but the track’s hypnotic, tension-building melody too, which forced Summer to sing falsetto to keep up.
Listen: Donna Summer - I Feel Love
How to get the sound
To recreate this sound we’re using Steinberg’s Prologue synth set to fire on all three oscillators. Each is set to a sawtooth wave with slight detuning on each to give some fatness to the sound. The amplitude and filter envelopes are set for a fast attack and moderately swift decay in order to give punching presence to the bass pulse. The filter envelope is mapped to a 12dB low-pass filter. Its cutoff can be swept to give all-important movement to the sound.