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Baker's Dozen

While His Synth Gently Beeps: Benge's Favourite Electronic LPs
Luke Turner , February 15th, 2017 10:50

We know you all love a bit of synth porn so here's Benge's Baker's Dozen - a sort of synth erotica reading, if you will, as he guides you through 13 electronic favourites from Morton Subotnick to Else Marie Pade and George Harrison's Moog explorations to Air and Autechre. Benge photo by Ed Fielding

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Charanjit Singh - Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat
When I first heard this album I assumed it had to be one of those very clever internet memes whereby some kid creates an album and surrounding back story, along with made up names, photos, press releases and the like, and it evolves into something that seems real. This is because, A) it was so spectacularly good that I thought it would be impossible that I had never heard of it before, and B) if it was true it would have had to of been so ahead of its time that the musical history books would need to be rewritten.

It is essentially a techno record years before techno was invented. But this is a true story, I’ve looked into it in great depth. Charanjit Singh existed, bought some Roland synths and drum machines in the late 70s, and indeed made the first techno record by using the Roland synth and drum machines ability to lock the rhythms and patterns together, something they invented in the 1970s but nobody thought of doing with them before.

It is an idea I have always found interesting, that certain types of music which are reliant on technology sometimes take so long to form. For example, the analogue sequencer was thought of in the mid 1960s, and all the elements for creating full blown dance music as we know it today were available on every modular synthesiser right from the beginning, yet it took over 25 years to properly develop, or be used by musicians for that purpose. The cultural structures were not in place. I wonder what other new forms of music the analogue sequencer will be responsible for when the time is right?


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