Kazakh artist Galya Bisengalieva’s debut album was released by One Little Independent in September 2020 and is a concept record about the shrinking of the Aral Sea, which has been called one of the “20th century’s more jaw-dropping ecological catastrophes, a consequence of the Soviet-era policy of diverting the two tributary rivers to irrigate cotton plants across Central Asia” (NY Times)
Now Galya is releasing Aralkum Aralas. In Kazakh aralas means mixed/reworked. Galya has thoughtfully curated a remix album of artists to respond to her work having previously commissioned new work for her label NOMAD Music Productions. Those musicians are; Coby Sey, Jing, Moor Mother, Jlin, CHAINES and Nazira. Galya approached artists whose practise she judged would resonate with her source material and bring new light to the narrative. She was interested in getting responses from artists from such diverse backgrounds as Taiwanese, British, American and Kazakh and often approached previous collaborators for their insight into her voice.
Galya has collaborated with Moor Mother (Philadelphia based interdisciplinary artist, Camae Ayewa) during her Feb 2020 CAFE OTO residency, as well as supporting and performing her 2019 free verse poem The Great Bailout at the Barbican. British composer CHAINES has worked extensively with Galya, who commissioned them to write a piece for her second release EP TWO in May 2019. Nazira is a fellow Kazakh, hailing from Galya’s hometown of Almaty. She is a resident at Room 4 Resistance in Berlin, as well as a key figure in Kazakhstan’s emerging club scene. Coby Sey is connected to Galya via shared experiences performing with Mica Levi, as well as being an admirer of his productions. Likewise, Galya selected Taiwanese born composer and writer Jing who’s dreamlike ‘Psychiatric Population’ EP was released on the 6dimensions label in 2020. The album is rounded out with a piece from Gary, Indiana artist Jlin; the IDM post-footwork iconoclast.
Each track of Aralkum Aralas tells something of the dark history the piece is meditating on. Aralkum is the name that was given to the desert after the 1960s disappearance of the Aral sea. Kantubek is a ghost town on an island in the Aral sea, currently in ruins; deserted in 1992, it housed the Soviet Union’s top-secret Aralsk-7 biological weapons research lab, site of a notorious smallpox leak. Moynaq is a city in northern Karakalpakstan in western Uzbekistan, a former sea port whose population has declined precipitously as the water receded. Barsa-Kelmes was the largest island in the lake, now the site of toxic salt dust storms. Zhalanash is a former fishing village, whose old harbor contained several ship hulls, left standing in the desert by the retreating sea. Kokaral is the name of the dam finished in 2005 in an attempt to save the North portion of the sea.
As well as being a composer, Galya relishes curation, with deep thought having gone into her commissions for her first two releases; EP ONE and TWO. With Aralkum Aralas she continues to champion experimental sounds and celebrate the space between electronic and acoustic music.
artist Galya Bisengalieva
title Aralkum Aralas
label One Little Independent Records
date October 15
format Vinyl & Digital
cat. # TPLP1546
1. Aralkum (Coby Sey Remix)
2. Moynaq (Jing Remix)
3. Kantubek (Moor Mother Remix)
4. Barsa-Kelmes (Jlin Remix)
5. Zhalanash (CHAINES Remix)
6. Kokaral (Nazira Remix)