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A Bollywood Composer Invented Techno in 1982 and Nobody Knew About It Until Now

Illustration for article titled A Bollywood Composer Invented Techno in 1982 and Nobody Knew About It Until Now

I'm no techno aficionado. I like bleeps and bloops. Who cares if they're acid house or space jam or whatever? But I can tell you this: "Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat" is amazing. And it's from 1982.


I may not know that much about techno, but specialist music website and retailer Boomkat sure does. They uncovered Charanjit Singh's amazing 1982 album, "Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat" and it's a mindbending treasure of vintage 303 and 808 sounds that makes retro-modern sound entirely new.

Here, just let them explain it:

Charanjit Singh's 'Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat' is quite easily one of the maddest records we've ever had in stock. It was originally made in 1982 by a Bollywood soundtrack composer, intending to capitalise on the disco phenomenon with a combination of centuries-old classical Indian Ragas set to a disco backing. To achieve this Charanjit used a prototypical acid set-up of Roland TB303 bass melody sequencer and TR808 drum computer together with a Jupiter-8 keyboard. He basically created a sound which mirrored, and more importantly, pre-dated the first acid house record - Phuture's 'Acid Track' by five years, and even preceded Chip E's 'Jack Trax' in 1985. It's no throw-away novelty record either, instead capturing the hypnotic potential of acid music in the most ornate and scarily prescient fashion, making explicit the similarities of infinitely arpeggiated bass sequences and pure electronic pulses that would soundtrack dancefloors for the next 30 odd years. The more cynical among you will probably be thinking this is Ceephax or Aphex Twin delivering one of the most elaborate in-jokes of their career, but with the gatefold sleeve depicting the original sleeve and some in-depth liner notes from the label and Charanjit, our cynicism is waning in favour of absolute shock and awe. 'Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat' is vintage futurism of the highest calibre, and made all the more amazing by the fact it came from India, a place hardly renowned for its electronic output! This is a remarkable record and comes with our highest recommendation - AN ABSOLUTE FIND.


Boomkat has three sample tracks to whet your tongue's ears.

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This is very cool, but techno predates this music. And if you want to lump electronic music together it's much, much older than that, tracing its roots back to the 50s, at least.