Without doubt the most baffling and brilliant record we’ve heard this week is Synthesizing: 10 Ragas To A Disco Beat, freshly issued on double-vinyl by Bombay Connection.
“Until recently it wasn’t much more than some rumours on the web,” explain the folks at the label, which is dedicated to unearthing rare Bollywood grooves from ’55-’85. “A 1982 released LP called Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat, containing Kraftwerk-like acid house music, years before the genre was invented.”
We now know that the rumour was founded in reality. Only a couple of hundred copies of the original LP were pressed, and only a handful have survived over the years. Bombay Connection managed to track one down, and have re-pressed the album on gatefold-packaged double-vinyl with lavish new artwork and extensive sleevenotes. The work of Bollywood session musician Charanjut Singh, the intention of the project was to translate ancient Indian classical ragas onto modern synthesizers; Singh appears to have accidentally invented house music in the process.
Made using the synths that would later become synonymous with acid, the Roland TB-303 and TR-808, it’s a genuinely remarkable record, with stripped-back, ultra-repetitive beats and hypnotic italo-esque melodies; as Bollywood Connection rightly point out, its “restrained minimalism and lack of cheesiness” mean it has aged extraordinarily well. The only vaguely contemporaneous record to which you might compare it is ‘Sharevari’. Out now, it’s a history-dismantling album that you all need to hear; find more info and check samples here.
Raga Megh Malhar