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Charanjit Singh

Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat

(Bombay Connection; US: 13 Jul 2010; UK: 19 Jul 2010)

In 1982, India became the ancestral home of acid house music when Charanjit Singh performed ten classical ragas on Roland synthesizers. Perceived to be a hoax at the time, Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat is something of a novelty, but it is also a unique, reanimated artifact .Although most of the disco “beats” used are recycled over and over, Singh astoundingly constructs cybernetic versions of classical Indian ragas on Roland TR-808 and TB-303 machines. Unfortunately, the album does sound like a novelty despite all acknowledgments that it was a “found sound” and a pioneering electronic/psychedelic journey. The trippy rhythms and funky grooves blur into an out-of-body synthesis when you listen too closely, yet Singh stays true to the structures and themes of the various ragas, from the morning call in “Bhairav”, to the supernatural “Malkauns”, infusing them with the electricity of his synthesized instrumentation.

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Sachyn Mital can be reached at mital () popmatters dot com. He is based in New York where he serves as a Contributing Editor and an events photographer for PopMatters. If you prefer to communicate in 140 characters or less, you can try @sachynsuch. Visit his site sachynmital.com while you're at it.


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