Tonight's Free Lab Radio: Bollywood Future Beats with the Synth-Father.

The shine of vinyl.
Recently all the trend-driven kids have been promoting Charanjit Singh as if they'd discovered America along with Columbus. But the Indian synth-father Singh has been around for years and anyone aficionados for the talent that went into tape multi-tracking, analogue synths or Bollywood and early disco/house will have been listening to him since his heyday. He was born in the '40s for goodness sake. Not that we should let that date him, or detract from his current tour of live performances. Which brings us to his London date in 2013...for which we have two tickets to give
Early Singh, in his turban

To catch Charanjit Singh at 25th May's Field Day Festival London listen in tonight on 104.4FM or online how to get those two tickets valued at £55 each. And what a lovely aural image, Singh's live synth billowing out over the green of Victoria Park in a sound clash with other Field Day Festival headliners like Bat for Lashes, Animal Collective or Four Tet. Or even Koreless who's an act we've played out on Free Lab Radio several times before. We just wonder if Ceefax Acid Crew will be there to witness the synth line up...

So what's the deal with the synth-father? You pronounce his name Cha-ran-jeet by the way, we've just listened to the RinseFM Field Day Festival takeover mix, it opened with Squarepusher Red Hot Car original mix (another track we've been listening to around when it came out at the turn of the century) and moved onto Singh, but come on, you've got to get that pronunciation at least half right. Everyone knows somebody who knows somebody who you can ring to consult on correct-name chat matters.

But back to Singh. Our young producer and musician rubbed shoulders with other classic Bollywood producers like R.D Burman, and plays several instruments. Singh's now enjoying a resurgence since Sublime Frequencies  (responsible for the likes of Omar Souleyman and Group Doueh on tour, who we caught at Corsica Studios a few years ago), re-released his band instrumentals on a compilation Bollywood Steel Guitar. Because he's not just electro keys, Singh plays the far-out-looking double steel guitar on the Sublime Frequencies rerelease like a real cowboy.  Catch a sample and his whacky album cover for that HERE

Singh at the studio wearing a jumper that looks like it's been knitted by an astrophysicist
So what's so fab about Singh? Well we've been to Bollywood film studios and can testify that his music encapsulates that unlimited energy that surrounds much of Indian film score creativity, and we don't just mean they're on the caffeine. They literally have no limits, such is the thinking and funding for sound tracks in Bombay. And for most Indian musicians, music is a spiritual ride. They don't separate the man the music, the instrument and their ideas of all an pervading energy form which we originate. Most people pressing play on a Singh track won't know what a raga is, but rest assured his synth work is going to give you a lift. Minimal, at times comical, there is always a driving beat with ornamentations worthy of a Gang Gang Dance album. Oh and did we mention he's credited for creating techno, or sometimes for creating house before most of these genre of producers knew what they were capable of? Singh uses the Roland TB-303, an electronic bass sequencer to create the basslines and the Roland Jupiter-8 for the melody and ornament.

Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat came out on Bombay Connection in 2010 and was recorded in 1982, over 30 years ago when it was released by the godfather of all labels His Master's Voice. At the time the album was a flop. Only a few hundred copies of this forward-thinking original LP were ever pressed, and now only a handful were circulating the internet for resale. Preceding that album in 1981 he released Charanjit Singh: Plays Hit Tunes on Synthesizer of Silsila, which takes from the movie soundtrack for Silsila, but is no way comparable to the high energy disco of Ten Ragas.

Playing ancient Indian classical Ragas with the modern synthesizer was a stroke of genius for which he'll always be a don.

Over 18s only need apply.
(This won't go down well with the ResonanceFM show to follow ours at midnight, because Sick Notes are a bunch of broadcast savvy mid teens. Oh well...old enough to go to air, not enough get to the festival.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In USA, or we'd love it