May 27, 2010

Charanjit Singh

Synthesizing: Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat (The Gramophone Company Of India, 1982)

Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat challenges us to rewind acid's origin story to India 1982, and to move from a sweaty Chicago nightclub to the home studio of a veteran Bollywood musician. In the '60s and '70s Charanjit Singh did time on the Bollywood soundtrack scene, and earned extra cash with his own orchestra playing popular favorites at weddings. In 1982, armed with a now-iconic trio of Roland gear, the Jupiter 8, TB-303 and TR-808, Singh set out to update the entrancing drone and whirling scales of classical Indian music. It's enough of a mind-fuck that rumors circulated on the web claiming the record was a prank spawned by Richard D. James.

What stands out most on Ten Ragas is Singh's comparatively original use of the TB-303. Even though it was designed to fill in for a bass guitar, the 303 was notoriously awkward when it came to reproducing conventional basslines—the box was much better suited to produce the otherworldly squelches of DJ Pierre. Singh, however, found a different way to employ the machine. Dayal notes that the TB-303's "glissando" function, the ability to slide from one note to another, makes it perfectly suited for the sort of raga melodies that run slippery up and down the scale. Married to rugged 808s and Terry Riley-style undulating keyboard solos, The result is a haunting, exotic prefiguration of acid's steely futurism, a bit like Kraftwerk live at the Taj Mahal, somehow summoned from the past but envisioning the future at the same time.
(William Rauscher)

Bombay Connection

(via Playmaker blog)


  1. pretty much fucking awesome

  2. yeah, although side B does it more for me. i liked the funny needle jumping going on side A too though