Night moves: Banging 'Glorious Gongs'


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The Glorious Gongs of Hainuwele
(Bo Weavil)

By Kimberly Chun

Who is this mysterion going by the name of Dr. Syed Kamran Ali and generating generous swathes of sample-dappled, diseased-transmission psychedelia behind the shadowy guise of Harappian Night Recordings? A mild-mannered, 20-something Chicago software engineer? A UK folk-art chop-shop collagist with a gentle hand and restless mind, digitally futzing with field recordings culled at mythic South Asian rice paddies and fictitious North African marketplaces?

Though it sounds like an inspired, ragtag mélange of random aural documents, The Glorious Gongs of Hainuwele was instead fashioned by this single night-shrouded figure in northern England, supposedly linked to experimentalists Hunter Gracchus of Sheffield, England, and Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides in Lyon, France. “Recorded in the center of the Kadamba Forest, green and red, with a crescent moon as a diadem,” as the liner notes go, Glorious Gongs weaves Mbira pluck with bamboo percussion rattle, collides teams of ouds with whining ehru. The global instrumental crash-ups and roughed-out shit-fi aesthetic almost evoke raucous sonic junk collectors like Captain Beefheart and Tom Waits – without the residual pop hooks - when the faraway, broken-down gamelan bellies up to the sudden foghorn bleat and hissing blues on “Bully Kutta” and “The Ire of Konda Mangali.” I can’t make out the allusions to William Morris’ fantasy writing, but it’s comforting to imagine that they might be there, along with prickly, flowered tributes to lady pirates, Sublime Frequencies, and surrealistic mules. Haunted? Like a house.