Other Music, my favorite NYC music store, included Charanjit Singh's "Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat" in their Best of 2010 list of reissues. This proto-Acid House record was recorded in 1982, five (!) years before Phuture's genre-defining "Acid Tracks." Curious to learn more about Singh, I turned up a short Guardian article about the reissue on Edo Bouman's Bombay Connection record label. In the early 1980s, Singh had a wedding band and was a session musician on Bollywood soundtracks when he was inspired by the imported sound of disco. From The Guardian:
In 1982, though, Singh… went into the studio with some new kit – a Roland Jupiter-8 keyboard, a Roland TR-808 drum machine and a Roland TB-303 – and decided to make a record that combined western dance music with the droning ragas of Indian classical music. Recorded in two days, Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat garnered some interest, excerpts finding their way on to national radio, but it was a commercial flop and was soon forgotten.
Now in his 70s, Singh is, as Bouman puts it, "more a musician than a talker," but he understands Ten Ragas might have been something accidentally, unusually prescient. "He made close to 10 albums, but they all were cover albums," says Bouman. "He told me, 'Frankly, this was the best thing I did. Other albums are all film songs I just played. But this was my own composition. Do something all of your own, and you can make something truly different.'"
"Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat" (MP3s on Amazon)