Mixtape Primer: The Essential East-Meets-West Collection

Crispian Mills from Kula Shaker nearly ruined it for everyone. But East-meets-West fusion doesn’t have to be a floppy-haired twat with a sitar or The Beatles waddling around Rishikesh in a cloud of smoke. To celebrate Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, we’ve put together another of our monthly mixtape primers. This time around, we’re looking at the phenomenon of cultural crossover, and what happens when Western musicians interpret Eastern sounds, and vice versa. There’s a full Grooveshark playlist at the end – or stick it on a C60 and play it in the car!


1. Charanjit Singh – “Raga Bhairav” (4:58)
From 10 Ragas to a Disco Beat, 1982

Released in 1982 and recently reissued on double vinyl, Charanjit Singh’s 10 Ragas To A Disco Beat was startlingly ahead of its time – so much so that when the reissue was released, rumours went around that the album was some sort of elaborate joke. It’s not, though – it’s just wildly inventive music that set traditional Indian ragas over analog synths and in the process created something that sounded remarkably like acid house, years before some kids in Detroit started playing around with a TB-303.