When violinist and composer Galya Bisengalieva first conceived her 2020 album Aralkum, it was to be a meditation on ecological loss and grief, both metaphorically and literally through the shrinking of the Aral Sea, one of the worst man-made environmental disasters on the planet. Bisengalieva’s sombre, mournful drones sound a furious death knell not only of the natural world, but humanity’s connection to it, now seemingly severed for good.
Aralkum Aralas is a deepening of the wound, and yet it’s a remix album of great hope — if not in humankind’s ability to instigate radical structural change, then certainly in wide berths of artistic expression about our dying ecosystems. Where Bisengalieva unfurled misty ambiences, Coby Sey and Nazira see potentialities of rhythmic energy — ominous joy, even. Jing draws out an icy trip-hop soundscape and CHAINES emphasises the dreamlike nature of the music in a sublime, delicate rework. Footwork game changer Jlin clips and snips violin squeaks into a percussive landscape of mourning, while Moor Mother drenches the bilious, gaseous rise of reverb-laden sound with some fire and brimstone lyricism.