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Charanjit Singh: “Raga Madhuvanti”

From the album Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat (1983)

I’m famously ignorant when it comes to the history of beat-oriented electronic music—which is, after all, what most people mean when they talk about the genre. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the electro/techno wing of electronic music, even less that I dismiss it with Stockhausen-esque disdain (however valid some of his points may be). For whatever reason, I just haven’t absorbed the stylistic lineage, which is much more complicated than an outsider might guess, as shown by the exemplary Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music.

Still, in spite of my ignorance of the finer points of history and genre-development, I know what I like. And this album by the Bollywood session musician Charanjit Singh has absolutely blown my mind. 

Created using the cutting-edge technology of a Roland Jupiter-8 analog synthesizer, a TR-808 drum machine, and a TB-303 bass sequencer, Singh’s album is a visionary fusion of the sinuous melodic improvisations of Indian traditional music with the pulsing rhythms of electronic dance music. Though not entirely without precedent (the Italo-disco of Giorio Moroder is cited as a likely influence), Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat was a formative moment in the global development of techno. 

The album was re-released by the label Bombay-Connections in 2010.

Played 209 time(s).

September 15, 2011, 10:19am

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