Free Lab Radio Podcast - Charanjit Singh

Tonight's Show - Iranian Underground House Producers

Tonight's show has just circumvented internationally acknowledged internet restrictions to reach us from Iran.

Producer and DJ Bitmarx, who we caught live in 2012 at The Egg, London, has put together an hour of pulsing beats by Iran-based and diaspora producers. For this Free Lab Radio show, tonight's line up is of near-clinical beats that allow you to posit your own fancies on the canvas, as you weave and wend around a dancefloor, your own melodies and themes are permitted to come through.

Tech-savvy Bitmarx hails from a community of producers who adhere to the bass, posting things like this below their tracks "WARNING.. ! If you aren't listening to this music with some form of a bass speaker you are missing out !!!!!"

Bitmarx, who's played venues like O2 alongside Zane Lowe and remixes Steve Lawlor, made his first production in the studio for the Australian synthpop group Parralox, a remix that went on to win a global remix competition and was released with other mixes from Mark Reeder (The remixer of Pet Shop Boys, New Order) and Juan Del Toro (Gina G, Delta Goodrem) on  the EP Sharper Than A Knife EP. However Bitmarx doesn't merely play tracks back to back, he'll bring his own mixer and build up the track elements live on the decks.

To this day, Bitmarx has created a series of remixes for an impressive range of artists such as Hernan Cattaneo, Steve Lawler, Tiefschwarz, Steve Angello, Booka Shade, Kaskade and Nic Fanciulli to name a few. Bitmarx remixes have been played out on dance floors around world and have gained appreciation from superstars such as Dean Coleman, house music icon Satoshi Tomiie and techno pioneer Richie Hawtin

Free Lab Radio Tonight - Kwerk Takeover: A musical genealogy of Jungle.

Tonight I face man's ultimate fear, to have been replaced by a machine. Producer and drummer kWeRk creates sound like the below, but tonight he's opted for a more leftfield approach to Djing and has collated his most loved drum n bass and jungle tunes, with dub on the fringe, and handed over to a computer to present. Let's benefit from his specialism then even if he does sound like Stephen Hawking...

A socio-musical history of Jungle, with particular focus on the confluence of Reggae Sound Systems arriving in London from Jamaica as a result of post-colonial migration to Britain. Also in the mix are elements of the rave/illegal party scene of London in the late 80s/early 90s. WOHOO!

A socio-musical history of Jungle, with particular focus on the confluence of Reggae Sound Systems arriving in London from Jamaica as a result of post-colonial migration to Britain. Also in the mix are elements of the rave/illegal party scene of London in the late 80s/early 90s. WOHOO!

The Historical Narrative: from Ragga Jungle of London looking
forward; branching off into numerous tangents including DnB, and Dubstep, and looking back to where it came from (Reggae Sound Systems and illegal raves). In this mix, kWeRk illustrates the lineage and continuity from Ragga Jungle to Dubstep, but always maintaining Jungle as the main reference point. Reggae Sound Systems to Jungle Sound Systems (bass being a key unifying component), Jungle producers to Dubstep producers (some of whom have familial relationships, i.e father and son, older and younger brother), Jamaica to London. A musical genealogy of Jungle.
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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.)

Our Sat Night Fringe Dance Show on Resonance104.4FM. May's 'Free Lab Radio'

All shows are Saturday nights, 11-midnight in UK, repeated Wed 2.30am

May 4th,
Who Are the Keeper Group Mix - the mysterious Keepers of the Light bring this amazingly smooth and thoughtful mix to us with traces of dub, trash rhythm and sine wave.

May 11th
A Charanjit Singh Special
The 60s-80s legend, synth disco-electro star Charanjit Singh visits UK for a one night performance. Free Lab Radio are excited as we have two tickets to give away to see this pioneer of acid house music, live. They call him The Man WHO ACCIDENTALLY INVENTED ACID HOUSE

May 18th
A bespoke mix for Free Lab Radio from drummer and DJ Will Huckerby aka 'kWeRk'
May 25th
BITMARX in Iran -  a one hour house and beats mix, the result of master-producer Bitmarx scouring the airwaves and cyberspace to bring us the best in unusual beats, currently being made in Iran

See the ResonanceFM schedule for more details