When composer and violinist 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. Water dried up, fish disappeared and the surrounding communities collapsed; 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.
Whilst offering a fascinating addendum to the original work, Aralkum Aralas also succeeds in demonstrating the vital artistry of Bisengalieva herself, an artist seeking likeminded sonic philosophers of the end times without recourse to trivial genre games.
released October 15, 2021
CHALICES is the combined force of writer, poet and performer Alice Godliman and musician CHAINES.
On 'Conference Room B 10pm' CHAINES takes their cue from horror podcasts such as The Black Tapes Podcast and Alice Isn't Dead, combining a fondness for the spooky spoken word with deranged tinkerings in modular synthesis. 'Gravewalking' and 'Red' - collaborative tracks with Godliman - use the lens of mythology and superstition to explore two different moments of nostalgia and relationships.
Music and artwork by CHAINES
Text & Voice on 'Gravewalking' and 'Red' by Alice Godliman
Mastered by Rupert Clervaux
Released October 31, 2020
'The King' is Chaines' commanding return to Slip: a claustrophobic, dank book of abstracted torch songs, festering in an uneasy grandeur.
'The King' sees Chaines' eccentric, singular language grasp a fresh immediacy and emotive potency. Chaines’ voice is more present than ever - creepy, seductive and pained on the Scott-Walker-does-ASMR of "Eraserhead", and diva-ghost of "Population 5120" - and their arrangements dissolve the symphonic into freakish forms - "Carpathia" and "Knockturning" spike pastoral organs and flutes with industrial menace and convulsing beatwork.
'DOWN' commissioned by the London Contemporary Orchestra.
The first performance was given by the London Contemporary Orchestra at the Roundhouse on 25th August 2016.
'Carpathia' commissioned by Union Chapel.
Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi.
Artwork by Chaines.
Released March 15, 2018 on Slip Imprint.
Track on EP TWO by Galya Bisengalieva
Following the release of her debut artist EP ‘EP ONE’ in Winter 2018, Galya Bisengalieva returns with ‘EP TWO’ on her own NOMAD Music Productions label featuring three new compositions commissioned and curated by her. She has chosen pieces by leading contemporary composers Shiva Feshareki and CHAINES to perform, with all the tracks using the violin primarily, as a tool to create innovative sound worlds.
Track 3 'Claycorn' was written by CHAINES. If you were in an alien forest inhabited by fantastical claymation beasts, birds and insects, CHAINES imagines it might sound something like this. It was inspired by the animation of award-winning Czech game developer Amanita Design and their fantastical cast of character. Galya’s violin is put through multiple effects to the point where it is completely unrecognizable – including a wah-wah effect.
Released June 28, 2019 on NOMAD Music Productions.
Lead cut ‘OST’ is a 20-minute epic written in collaboration with visual artist Mary Stark where cartoonish, Rammstein-style aggression, plaintive guitar lines, and clunking glitch form an impish portrait of the UK’s north-eastern industry. But ‘OST’ is also a sincere love-letter to analogue film, with plush orchestral samples, and Stark’s disembodied voice tenderly blooming from the rubble.
OST’s remaining works frame its centrepiece. ‘Here’ - written for Laurie Tompkins’ 2013 Handy tour - is a whistled ode to twilight inebriation, accompanied by faint keys, revving cars, and Badalamenti synths. On ‘I Found This’, Chaines’ warbled melodies merge with Oliver Coates’ muted cello, offset by tickling percussion and recorder chorales. Though OST operates in a place entirely its own, it is perhaps best compared with the work of similarly iconoclastic contemporaries such as Elysia Crampton, Mica Levi, and Dean Blunt.
Mastering by Rupert Clervaux.
Artwork by Mary Stark.
Released December 15, 2015 on Slip Imprint.
'The King - LIVE'
First Ever Studio Take
The first ever play through of the semi-improvised live solo set developed for TUSK festival, based off the album 'The King'. It features laptop, vocals, fife, flute, clarinet, recorder, guitar, keys and other electronics.
As the first ever run through, it's not a completely perfect version. There are errors, and some sections have since been changed and improved. This is an artifact of the development process preserved for posterity.
Artwork by CHAINES.
Released November 5, 2018.
The Curious Case of Timmy McRover OST
Agent Janine Fetcher has been sent to the sleepy town of New Barkshire to investigate the suspicious death of a child. Help her sniff out the truth in this dogtastic mystery.
Created between 22nd September and 7th October 2018 for Rainbow Jam 2018, “A Safe Space”. A whimsical OST combining the charm of Animal Crossing and the foreboding of Twin Peaks.
Released October 26, 2018.
First released in 2017, Survival Horror compiles a selection of offcuts accumulated whilst writing the album The King (Slip Imprint). A series of environments thick with fog, ice and dark, this homage to Silent Hill 2 is the OST for a game that does not exist.
'SPLIT' [SLP004] is the debut release of material from both Tom Rose and CHAINES. Both composers working within electronic and contemporary composition, the pair’s music form a dialogue testament to sharing the same stage countless times over the past year.
Chaines’ two offerings are evidence of an idiosyncratic vision embracing dislocated drums, swathes of distortion, and freakish manipulations of her own voice. There is a nagging sense of some submerged narrative – in Transverberation, the “bells and smells” of religious ceremony are evoked, while Speak Gentle Words is something like catching glimpses
of distant shorelines.
Music by CHAINES / Tom Rose. Mastered by Peter Harris.
Released March 4, 2013 on Slip Imprint.