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Charanjit Singh - JPop.com
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Charanjit Singh

Charanjit Singh

Charanjit Singh


Charanjit Singh (1940 - 2015) started out as a session musician, playing on numerous Bollywood film soundtracks throughout the 1960s and 1970s, before moving on to compose music himself. In 1982 he imported with much pain some of the latest synthesizer equipment into India. A good investment as Bollywood composers liked to feature the latest sound in their songs, and with these keyboards Singh spiced up numerous Bollywood recordings. But apart from that Read more on Last.fm
Charanjit Singh (1940 - 2015) started out as a session musician, playing on numerous Bollywood film soundtracks throughout the 1960s and 1970s, before moving on to compose music himself. In 1982 he imported with much pain some of the latest synthesizer equipment into India. A good investment as Bollywood composers liked to feature the latest sound in their songs, and with these keyboards Singh spiced up numerous Bollywood recordings. But apart from that, in the late nightly hours after the studio recording were over, Singh set out on his own, wholly original project.

His goal was to translate the language of Indian classical music, the ragas, to the synthesizer. His basis was a plain disco beat, on which he synthesized the melodies of ancient Indian ragas. By chance the machines Singh bought were exactly the synths that would define the sound of electronic dance some years later. The beat he synthesized with the Roland TR-808; the bass-lines he programmed with a Roland TB-303, the synth that some 5 years later would create the sound of acid house. Last but not least, he used the Roland Jupiter-8 keyboard, with which he generated psychedelic melody patterns and improvised the melodies of the ragas. With its restrained minimalism and lack of cheesiness it is hard to believe Singh recorded and issued it in 1982.

All that is essential to house is there: the hypnotic beat, the mesmerizing melodies. And the sound of the Roland synths give it that House sound and feel that some years later would captivate the world’s dance floors. On top of that the LP makes a consistent listen: all ten tracks are equally good, minimal and captivating. Hearing the LP now, after almost 30 years, is an almost unreal experience. Not only was it way ahead of its time, but also today sounds animated, fluid and unabashedly alive.

Singh set out to translate centuries old Indian ragas to the synthesizer, and invented house and acid house along the way, respectively 3 and 5 years before the first records in those genres were released in the West. Back then though, the LP was far too experimental for Indian standards. Pressed quantities were tiny, and it took some 25 years before a few surviving copies emerged from the vast Indian subcontinent. The album was re-released in 2010.

This re-release took Singh and his live show around the world, including to festivals like Field Day in London. Charanjit Singh died at his home in Mumbai on 3 July 2015. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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