“Raga Bhairav,” starts quickly, with a wobbly, almost apocalyptic bassline. It is a raga, according to Indian tradition, that is meant to be played early in the morning. You can hear a (vocodered?) robo-voice in the beginning of the track intoning “Om Namah Shivaya” — the traditional prayer to the god Shiva.
In 1982, veteran Bollywood composer Charanjit Singh visits Singapore and gets his hands on the now holy trinity of a Roland 303, 808, and Jupiter 8 – the core of acid house and arguably the precursor to electronica as we know it today.
The thing is, he does this four years before the clubs of Detroit, Chicago, and Manchester do.
Later that year, EMI India releases an album limited to a few thousand copies: “Synthesizing: Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat”. It presents Charanjit’s effort at using what was then entirely new technology to bridge the gap between programmed beats, synth lines, and classical Indian music motifs.
It essentially sinks without a trace.
In 2010, Dutch label Bombay Connection re-releases this LP to an unsuspecting and wholly ignorant public, convinced that these beats were established in the clubs of Chicago, Detroit, and Manchester in the mid to late eighties.