Giorgio Moroder wasn't the first person to play electronic dance music -- Kraftwerk had a synthesizer-oriented sound in the early '70s, and its electro-beats paved the way for a lot of the hip-hop, synth-pop, techno, industrial noise, house, and Hi-NRG that came in the '80s and '90s. But even though Moroder didn't invent electronic dance music single-handedly, he was among the first people to recognize its possibilities. In 1979, Moroder showed us some of those possibilities on E=MC2, a programmed, entirely electronic recording he produced with Harold Faltermeyer. While Moroder's work with Donna Summer and others had favored strings and lavish orchestration, synthesizers and electronic beats defined this LP. Moroder was hardly the only producer who was using synthesizers in the late '70s, but while other disco/dance-pop albums of 1979 combined them with horns, strings, and Latin percussion, they are the very foundation of E=MC2. "In My Wildest Dreams," "I Wanna Rock You," and "What a Night" are average disco tunes -- it's the computerized digital production that made them so fresh-sounding and risk-taking for their time. To fully appreciate how forward-thinking this album was, you have to remember that in 1979 R&B and dance-pop hadn't gone completely high-tech and were still relying on a lot of studio musicians. This is the electronic dance music that preceded the rise of techno, house, and industrial noise, and it came at a time when hip-hop was in its infancy and the rave subculture had yet to be invented. Even though the songs themselves are average, Moroder and Faltermeyer's futuristic production makes E=MC2 a historically interesting LP that anyone who has enjoyed electronic dance rhythms needs to check out.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson