Editors’ Notes As an artist who first appeared in Radiohead’s extended orbit, Galya Bisengalieva seems to have a proclivity for apocalyptic moods. The Kazakh British violinist came to prominence thanks to her work on A Moon Shaped Pool, then Jonny Greenwood’s and Thom Yorke’s respective scores for You Were Never Really Here and Suspiria; on her debut album, she turns her dark, droning style of composition back on the land of her birth. Inspired by the shrinking of the Aral Sea, Aralkum is an elegiac document of a climate-change disaster in slow motion. Ominous masses of strings stretch out like oil slicks, viscous and shimmering; flecks of dissonance and microtonal tuning add nuance and drama. Bisengalieva is a marvelous manipulator of texture, prone to exploiting the scrape of catgut and the occasional shriek of overtones for all they are worth; on “Kantubek” and “Barsa-Kelmes,” hints of synthesizer rumble deep below, like a suggestion of Ben Frost or Tim Hecker. But for all her avant-garde techniques, she is also capable of passages of breathtaking beauty, making Aralkum a requiem of solemn force.

1
6:39
 
2
8:11
 
3
3:27
 
4
4:40
 
5
5:33
 
6
5:02
 

More by Galya Bisengalieva

Featured On