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Kotra “Radness Methods” review from In Your Eyes Zine

Kotra arriva dalla martoriata Ucraina, vive a Berlino e propone un’elettronica molto profonda e che scardina molti steccati di genere.

Il suo ultimo lavoro Radness Methods esce per Prostir ed è un concentrato di techno, dark ambient, ebm e tanto altro. Il suono di Kotra è uno spazio fisico dove in una dilatazione spazio temporale troviamo molte cose, dal dolore all’aggressività, forme non lineari di suoni musicali che si intersecano con rumori e generazioni di macchine che trovano uno sfogo.

Uno dei punti principali della poetica di Kotra è sempre stato quello di spingere al limite sia il corpo che la mente attraverso suoni anche fastidiosi, ed infatti Radness Methods è un disco spesso disturbante, che riprende la lezione dei Throbbing Gristle nel dare fastidio e nel non lasciare mai indifferente l’ascoltatore, sia nel bene che nel male. Kotra non produce musica che possa essere vissuta in maniera innocua come intrattenimento o svago, la sua produzione è piuttosto un bisturi che taglia in profondità, recidendo carne ed ossa, fino ad arrivare al succulento midollo.

In alcune tracce la saturazione sonora raggiunge livelli molto alti, riempendo lo spazio e le orecchie dell’ascoltatore. La produzione è ottima e strutturata in maniera differente rispetto al prodotto medio elettronico di consumo, qui non c’è da consumare nulla, ma solo da fare questa esperienza che può essere anche dolorosa, ma che porta molto più di quanto toglie.

Quasi un’esperienza sciamanica, tribù sonora che oltrepassa le comuni porte della musica per arrivare direttamente a quelle della percezione.

Ci sono momenti, come nella bellissima Quantum Presence, dove i bassi sono pugni di giganti cosmici direttamente all’interno della terra, al suo stesso cuore, e si raggiunge un’altissima intensità, un continuum di apici e di sensazioni.

Kotra è uno sperimentatore umano, nel senso che esplora i propri limiti e quelli degli altri messi di fronte ad una musica che è difficile chiamare tale, ma che è un respiro di altri mondi, una grammatica marziana che ci apparteneva ma che abbiamo dimenticato, focalizzati sulle nostre piccole e meschine cose.

Disco che prende il cervello e lo lega al corpo, ma anche viceversa creando qualcosa di molto importante, un’esperienza sonora corporea ed extra corporea unica e dolorosa, impressa nelle nostre sinapsi per un produttore unico non solo nel suo genere.


English version:

“Kotra comes from the battered Ukraine, lives in Berlin and offers a very deep electronic sound that breaks down many genre barriers.

His latest work Radness Methods, released by Prostir, is a concentration of techno, dark ambient, Ebm and much more. Kotra’s sound is a physical space where in a space-time dilation we find many things, from pain to aggression, non-linear forms of musical sounds that intersect with noises and generations of machines that find an outlet.

One of the main points of Kotra’s poetics has always been to push the limits of both the body and the mind through even annoying sounds, and in fact Radness Methods is an often disturbing record, which takes up the lesson of Throbbing Gristle in giving annoyance and never leaving the listener indifferent, both for good and for bad. Kotra does not produce music that can be innocuously experienced as entertainment or leisure, his production is rather a scalpel that cuts deep, cutting through flesh and bone, right down to the juicy marrow.

In some tracks the sound saturation reaches very high levels, filling the space and the listener’s ears. The production is very good and structured in a different way than the average consumer electronic product, here there is nothing to consume, only to have this experience that can be painful, but that brings much more than it takes away.

Almost a shamanic experience, a sound tribe that goes beyond the common doors of music to arrive directly at those of perception.

There are moments, as in the beautiful Quantum Presence, where the basses are fists of cosmic giants directly inside the earth, at its very heart, and a very high intensity is reached, a continuum of peaks and sensations.

Kotra is a human experimenter, in the sense that he explores his own limits and those of others confronted with a music that it is difficult to call such, but which is a breath of other worlds, a Martian grammar that belonged to us but that we have forgotten, focused on our small and petty things.

A record that takes the brain and binds it to the body, but also vice versa, creating something very important, a unique and painful corporeal and extra corporeal sound experience, imprinted in our synapses for a producer who is unique not only in his genre.

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Radness Methods review from Bad Alchemy

Radness Methods von KOTRA ist der noch aus der Vorkriegszeit stammen­de Vorschlag von Dmytro Fedorenko, mit rhythmischem Brainstorming Erstarrtes zu erschüttern (‘Assemblage Tremor’) und eine Rite de passage zu Altered States zu bahnen (‘Phase Transitions’). Um dem Bewusstsein über sich hinaus zu helfen, um es zwischen Amboss und Schmiedehammer zu läutern, zu stählen, zu schärfen (‘To the Metal’). Mit turnschuhschamanischem Zauber, dem Kampfgeist eines Philosophen. Als blazing anthem of excellence, um die Grenzen von radness zu erweitern, wobei ‘rad’ für exzellent und toll steht. Gerichtet ist das an keinen und an alle, als unter Utopian wan­derers geteilter Appell an Beharrlichkeit (‘The Virtue of Consistency’) und Selbstver­trauen (‘Self-credence Compression’). Mir selber fehlen das Fassungsvermögen, um den Hallraum hinter ‘Quantum Presence’ abzuschätzen, und die Mitternachtsformel, um ‘Die Diskriminante des Bewusstseins’ zu berechnen. Beim Heranzoomen an Fedorenkos schwarz-rotes Frottagen-Artwork zeigen sich fraktale Verästelungen. Gleich die ersten schnarrenden Impulse lösen entsprechend die harten Ränder der Wahrnehmung auf in bebende Unschärfen und Raureifzungen. Klopfende Ritualbeats verwirbeln ihr Steter-Tropfen-Prinzip in konsistent repetitiven Schüben und als robot-bockiges Dancing in Your Mind. Doppel- und Stolperschläge und gabbernde Breakbeats bebolzen surrende und rasselig zischende Drones mit dem stompenden Übermut eines tausendfüßerischen Donnerwurms. Für bloße Selbstoptimierung ist das fast schon zu plural, zu eisenhaltig und rauschhaft in seinem knirschenden Tamtam und fiebernden Schlag- und Mahlwerk. Und dabei so militant wie die Kirche der Pilger (Ecclesia viatorum), die darauf pocht, streitend (Ecclesia militans) und hoffend triumphieren zu können.

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A new Kotra album is out!

Writing of Radness Methods came up from the ancient ideas of ritual drum music and rhythmic meditation techniques, where a ritual sound performance appears as a series of abstract sonic actions, rather than musical events, provoking a journey to non-ordinary states and realities, drumming a way into silence.

By layering deafening sounds into the patterns of acoustic hyperventilation, Radness Methods initiates a flow of invoking contrasting conditions and offers an artistic method of extreme urban meditation, and a fierce sonic driver for the ultimate sledgehammer dance.

Kotra “Radness Methods” CD

Radness Methods is a shamanic ritual for the sorcerers of concrete and asphalt, an ecstatic hymn for the philosopher warriors debating the power over life and death. Blazing anthem of excellence for the no one who is just anything.

Kotra “Radness Methods” CD

And here is what Dmytro says about this release today:
“Music was written last year, especially for a live performance in Dnipro in Ukraine, and at first, I wanted to release it very fast. But for some unknown feeling, the process was delayed a few times and I decided to let it go and set a release date for Spring 2022. And now I have to release the album in the middle of this war with russia.

One of the unwritten parts of this album’s concept was about unlimited and free radical living while staying light and creating light with every act of our lives. The subtitle of the album, which appeared two months before this war, says “Blazing Anthem For The No One Who Is Just Anything”, now reveals its abstractly encrypted meaning of an absolute and total fight for the light.

It is not a good or easy time for music today, but life must win, and no matter how hard it is now, we have to go on.

Since the 24th of February all the money from all our sales at Prostir we are donating to Ukrainian self-defense foundations, as well as to various charities, and directly to our friends who are on the front line today. The same will be with this album – all sales will be sent to help Ukraine to win and stay free.

Slava Ukraini!

The album is here:
https://kotra.bandcamp.com/album/radness-methods

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FAZE mag reviewed Kotra

By layering deafening sounds with beats like sledgehammers, Kotra has mixed together a powerful salad of industrial and techno with “Radness Methods”. The opener “Assemblage Tremor” is a dark, distorted beast that slowly etches itself into a certain groove. “Phase Transitions” picks up right there and it quickly becomes clear that this is the idea of the whole album. The whole work could also be a good original score for a dystopian end-time film or for a psychological thriller by David Fincher. Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross or Tom Holkenborg would certainly enjoy it. Kotra’s latest work is aggressive, distorted, droning, loud and then takes it to the extreme at the end with “To The Metal”. Let’s put it this way: “Radness Method” is probably less suitable for meditating or learning vocabulary. But if you want to test the limits of your subwoofer, you will have fun with this. A little secret tip: Tell your buddy to play the 10-minute album “Quantum Presence”, but turn up the sound system secretly beforehand.

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Kotra premiere at Industrial Complexx

Writing of Radness Methods came up from the ancient ideas of ritual drum music and rhythmic meditation techniques, where a ritual sound performance appears as a series of abstract sonic actions, rather than musical events, provoking a journey to non-ordinary states and realities, drumming a way into silence.

By layering deafening sounds into the patterns of acoustic hyperventilation, Radness Methods initiates a flow of invoking contrasting conditions and offers an artistic method of extreme urban meditation, and a fierce sonic driver for the ultimate sledgehammer dance.

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A great review from A Closer Listen on Radness Methods

Radness Methods is the right album at the right time, although the confluence was unintentional. Kotra, a Ukrainian artist living in Berlin, recorded the album in 2021, and now it is being released in the middle of an invasion. Dmytro Fedorenko intended the music as an extension of ritual drumming, a tribute to “asphalt sorcerers and philosophical warriors,” but today it sounds like an expression of resistance, a standing of ground, a soundtrack to a physical conflict. Originally tagged “the ultimate sledgehammer dance,” the music now becomes pugilistic. Even the philosophers have laid down their books and taken up arms.

Perhaps it’s not fair to impose such projections on what is essentially an excellent industrial set. Kotra bleeds drops of Front Line Assembly and Front 242. But industrial music is meant to be bleak, a reflection of the factory floor, a call to arms, against fascism and the dictatorship of the proletariat. The body is inspired to move, while the mind is prompted as well, pushed away from thoughts of peace to those of necessary conflict. After a lurking opener, Kotra wrenches into the distorted “Phase Transitions,” the lead single for good reason, eleven and a half minutes of uncompromising assault, a Molotov cocktail of music. The visceral power of such music can give a third wind to flagging soldiers, and one can imagine it blasting over the speakers of Kyiv to unnerve, disorient and terrify the Russian invaders. “Self-credence compression” is even tougher, tighter and faster, an acceleration of tempo and pulse.

While ritualistic drumming is associated with tribal dances, especially frenzied nights around a fire, it is also associated with war. The drums can be heard from a distance and are meant to intimidate enemies. In native Hawai’i, vestiges can still be seen in the team dances before sport matches, displays of virility, prowess and power. Kotra taps into this spirit here. The music is so muscular that one is afraid the speakers will pop like overstretched tendons. None of the tracks are short; each lasts as long as it desires, seeking to produce a dark ecstasy, a psychedelic effect without the hallucinogenic drugs, the listener lost in the groove. Kotra achieves this effect by the continual addition of new elements in tracks that can last over ten minutes, never content to rely on repetition for impact. Could this be the radness method?

As for the distortion, what isn’t distorted these days? Truth is distorted, borders are distorted, rights are distorted. As “The Discriminant of Consciousness” lifts to the red levels, one feels a political tinnitus, the idea that everything is too much and not enough, but that this volume is under our control. This is tamed noise, the type we can embrace.

While the album was not intended as a battle cry, it works as such, and we’re glad that it’s here, and angry, and now.
(Richard Allen)

Original: https://acloserlisten.com/2022/03/31/kotra-radness-methods/

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Kotra at CDM zine

Meditation in a time of war: Ukrainian music innovator Kotra interview, premiere

Extreme-distorted metallic surfaces buzz on the surface, but there’s deep meditation beneath. Ukraine’s Kotra, aka Dmytro Fedorenko, returns to CDM to tell us how he’s coping with the invasion of his home country and how we can respond – starting with keeping our minds together.

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The Brvtalist is pleased to premiere a new track from Kotra

Out April 7 in CD and digital formats. Pre-order yours on Bandcamp: kotra.bandcamp.com/album/radness-methods

https://soundcloud.com/thebrvtalistxx/premiere-kotra-self-credence-compression-prostir5
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The Quietus about the upcoming Kotra album

Dmytro Fedorenko is one of the most distinguished artists on the contemporary Ukrainian electronic scene. He founded the Kvitnu label and formed the band Cluster Lizard with Zavoloka. As with Kotra on Radness Methods, he draws inspiration from ritual drumming and meditation techniques, which he translates into the language of dense beat-based electronics. In this sonic noise, he creates multi-layered patterns of beats and industrial passages, which are very dark and aggressive. His compositions have the progressive form of suites, which do not end with a single motif but often develop over the length of ten minutes or so. The shamanic mood and raw, metallic sound base of martial rhythms are most attractive here. The beat allows you to immerse yourself in the intensity of the modern ritual structures.

https://thequietus.com/articles/31234-ukraine-music

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Radio On Berlin with Dmytro Fedorenko

Radio On’s friendship with Dmytro started in the winter of 2013-2014. In a weekly series of skype connections we listened to his reports from the Maidan uprising. Those events turned out to be decisive in the further development of Ukraine as an independent state. Russia didn’t agree with the new government. The war in Donbass, the annexation of Crimea were small steps towards the massive invasion we witness now.

Dmytro came to our studio to talk about all this, and give some insights from an Ukrainian point of view: the wars in Georgia and Chechnya were much more than images and words on TV and in the newspapers.

To not allow the curtain of darkness unfold over our souls we also talked about how the end of his label Kvitnu opened ways to new horizons. You will hear the name and history of Oles Berdnyk, Soviet and post-soviet moods, Startrek, Zelensky, family, friends, days with three hours of sleep and friends somewhere in Berlin talking about this while trying to keep a light heart.