(1995, Real World)
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The second collaborative effort between Michael Brook and master qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was recorded in nomadic fashion around the campus (including lounges and offices, in addition to the proper studios) of Peter Gabriel’s Real World facility near Bath. The nature of collaboration between Michael and Nusrat begun with Musst Musst continued to evolve. At the project’s inception, Nusrat contacted poets in his native Pakistan to provide lyrical inspiration; in addition to the hand-pumped harmonium keyboard, a staple of qawwali music, he became enamored of the sounds available from a Korg synthesizer (Nusrat is heard playing the latter near the end of Night Song). For his part, Michael found himself gathering the raw materials of performances by Nusrat and his concert party and other guest musicians present at Real World, fitting parts together via tape editing to fashion the final shape of these tracks.
Regrettably, owing to their respective schedules, Nusrat and Michael only ever performed once together in public, at a festival in Bari, Italy. After his extended residency at Real World, Michael moved to Palo Alto in California’s Silicon Valley, to participate in developing new musical interfaces at Interval Research. He attributes much of Night Song’s lasting impact to its being heralded at the time of release by the taste-making dj’s at public radio station KCRW in Los Angeles, the city where Michael would next relocate.