There’s little information available on Dr. Syed Kamran Ali, the man given full credit for the creation of Harappian Night Recordings’ music. That might be for the best — lifting the veil to see what’s behind the melting pot of international musical styles that Ali blends together on The Glorious Gongs of Hainuwele could very well ruin the effect. The press materials carefully point out that this music is not a collection of field recordings, but rather the results of Ali’s brain power and studio wizardry. Indeed, the cultures referenced over the course of the disc’s 41 minutes span the globe; to have truly collected field recordings that cover this much geography would be a lifelong pursuit. Ali deftly melds instruments, harmonies, and rhythms from South America to the Middle East to the Pacific Rim, and somehow makes a cohesive statement out of the whole thing — a feat of magic that makes the album worth a listen in and of itself. Yes, ethnomusicologists might balk at the question of authenticity in Ali’s work, but in this economy who can afford all that traveling to exotic locales? Ali might be faking it, but at least he’s honest.
Harappian Night Recordings