Kazakh-British artist Galya Bisengalieva returns this October with her second studio album for One Little Independent, Polygon.
Like Galya’s 2020 debut album Aralkum the composer, producer and musician returns to stories from her home country of Kazakhstan. While Aralkum was about the shrinking of the Aral Sea, Polygon tells the tale of one of the darkest episodes in Kazakh history. Though it created more nuclear fallout than Chernobyl, the story of the Semipalatinsk Test Site located on the steppe in north east Kazakhstan (known as The Polygon) is little known internationally. It was the Soviet Union’s primary testing zone for nuclear weapons and they conducted 456 nuclear tests there from 1949 to 1989, with the vast landscape providing anonymity and isolation. Each track on the LP is named after features within The Polygon; villages, towns, natural features and other landmarks. To Soviet leaders it was “uninhabited” but in fact the steppe was the crucible of Kazakh culture, home to poets, musicians and the country’s most famous literary figure Abai Quananbaiuly, not to mention an extraordinary ecology of mountains, hills and pine forests running along the river Irtysh.
“Galya…a powerful force in new and primordial music” - The Quietus