Most of you are likely to be familiar with Charanjit Singh's 1982 proto-house album '10 Ragas To A Disco Beat' which in 2010 caused a stir in the world of dance and electronic music.
An album that sounded like acid house recorded in Bombay in 1982, 5 years before the first recorded Chicago and Detroit releases, it was remarkably forward thinking. Considering that most people pinpoint the birth of acid to Phuture’s 1987 classic ‘Acid Tracks’, '10 Ragas To A Disco Beat' is a historical LP. Some were even convinced it was a hoax by Aphex Twin or Ceephax Acid Crew.
As a veteran of Bollywood soundtracks, Charanjit Singh, alongside his orchestra (The Charanjit Singh Orchestra), made his name touring and performing hits of the day at weddings across India. In 1982, however, Singh did something different.
Inspired by the sound of disco imports from the west, he went into the studio with some new kit – namely a Roland Jupiter-8 keyboard, a Roland TR-808 drum machine and a Roland TB-303. Two days later he emerged with a record that fused western dance music with Indian Classical ragas. 'Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat' garnered little interest and was commercially unsuccessful, soon to be forgotten.
In 2002 however, record collector Edo Bouman came across the record in a shop in New Delhi. "Back at my hotel I played it on my portable player, and I was blown away. It sounded like acid house, or like an ultra-minimal Kraftwerk." But it was the date on the record that shocked Bouman. Released in 1982, it predated the first acid house record by 5 years. Bouman tracked down Singh to Mumbai. "He was most friendly and surprised I knew the album. I remember asking him how he got to this acid-like sound, but he didn't quite get my point. He didn't realise how stunningly modern it was."
Edo eventually went on to reissue the record on his label, Bombay Connection in 2010 to much critical acclaim. This November Singh will tour Europe performing the entire LP to a Western audience for the very first time. He will perform the compositions from the landmark '10 Ragas To A Disco Beat' LP, using the original gear he recorded the albums with. Joining him will be Heems of Das Racist.
For those of you based in Europe, mark these dates:
Nov 1: Brussels, Belgium (Le Bar Du Matin)
Nov 2: London, England (Shacklewell Arms)
Nov 3: Glasgow, Scotland (La Cheetah)
Nov 6: Copenhagen, Denmark (Teater Grob) w/ Heems
Nov 7: Malmo, Sweden (Mitt Möllan) w/ Heems
Nov 9: Amsterdam, Holland (OCCII) w/ Heems
Nov 10: Antwerp, Belgium (Scheld’apen) w/ Heems
26 October 2012