Kotra – Washington live show review

High-pitched to the point of absolutely devastating your eardrums, Kotra’s music might hardly be considered music at all if it wasn’t for how amazingly well-arranged and sonically-diverse it is. Take amusement in the fact that the works of this Ukranian electronic artist, also known as Dmytro Fedorenko, melted three speaker parts and possibly temporarily incapacitated my digital camera (seriously, see the video below; the camera operated completely fine again twenty minutes after its technological meltdown).

Despite potential skepticisms, what Kotra makes is music — cutting-edge experimental electronic that might sound like a hyperactive robot coming to life, with a mouth full of screeching metal. On his MySpace, Kotra’s music is self-described as “ear needles,” and I can think of no better description. His music is piercing, and the insanely high-pitched sounds associated with it are probably the only reason it’s kind of difficult to swallow. And frankly, one has to wonder how Fedorenko isn’t just completely deaf by now, so intense are the sounds that he uses. Even I, who never wears ear plugs, was completely driven to stuff my fingers in my ears like a madwoman. For me, it was simply literally intolerable without them, but with them, Kotra’s music was a perfect soundscape. It put a distorted, techy face onto fairly typical song structures, creating an experimental amalgam that was noisy, sure, but still clearly recognizable as songs. There was no need to stretch the imagination to find the meaning of it all, as one might have to do with structureless noise experimentation; it was controlled chaos in a most impressive way. It simply melted the speakers as it melted my mind, and I found myself grasping onto every note — wide-eyed, intent, content.

(Vivian Hua)