We’re all on the outside, all alone, and all doomed…
About one year ago, I got in touch with a guy from Ukrainian soil, Andrii Kozhukhar. This musician is best known from the Electronics / Industrial project Kadaitcha (which he runs with Yurii Samson), and he performs as well under the name of Khvosch (sort of personal remix-project), as Fogscape (from Greenland, seriously? - actually a collaboration with a Spanish vocalist), and with Akhluth (another collab with an impressive sound); and who knows what else; all studio projects, for your information...
Anyway, this guy has a solo-outfit called Kojoohar, which is much more personal and which differs from Kadaitcha from stylistic point of view. Kojoohar gets described as an ‘accidental’ project from the South of Ukraine, ‘weaving tarry audio cocoons from pulsatile cartilage of obsessive-compulsive ambient industrial’ and so on. I’ll have some more quotes throughout my review.
The Dotla full-length comes with the same title as an EP from 2019, and it does contain the songs that were part of that self-released four-track mini-album, yet with some (important) adaptations / additions. It’s a collaborative effort with an experimental Hip-Hop act (!) from the Komi Republic, Ködzid Goo, which carries ‘a core of unhealthy self-reflection, self-digging and self-burying’. Besides a digital version, Dotla is printed as well on compact-disc, including stunning cover-artwork (by Empty House; I guess it is their first important work since 2018???), and it gets released via the semi-ancient (they will celebrate their thirtieth anniversary next year) label Ant-Zen (Kadaitcha and Ant-Zen have a mutual history, in case of interest).
This full album consists of ten titles, clocking forty minutes, and it shows an unusual yet unique mixture of different genres and influences, like Dark Electro, Drone, Depressive Hip-Hop, Industrial, Angst Pop, Horror Ambient and Down-Tempo. The whole is drenched in a dense, obscure, somewhat catatonic, dystopian sphere, which does fit to the impalpable concept. That one is inspired by literature from this people’s home-country, having a negative, isolationist, dystopic content, and therefor the lyrics, and I will give another quote, ‘touch upon the subject of self-immolation, leaving to nowhere, dissolving into nothingness’. It does not exactly, or literally, focus on suicide, self-mutilation or annihilation of whatever kind, yet rather ‘about the first stage of the Great Work’.
Dotla offers oppressive, burdensome aural adventurism, and despite the fact that I do not understand the lyrical essence (on the project’s Soundcloud-page, you can find some English translations, showing the mastery skills to describe all forms of intolerance and disturbance), one just feels the frustration and the disgust, the superiority and the wrath. It gets strengthened by the vocal timbre, which is, I think, quite ‘apart’ from the usual, yet oh so fitting to the concept. The semi-spoken voices, to start with, are somewhat monotone, like being bored or uninterested (and hey, in this case it is meant the positive way, believe me, for it designates everything behind the mandate), yet that’s the strength of the vocalization. It posits the existentially-critical messages with more conviction this way. It characterises this album’s intumescence for sure, and it works surprisingly well. On top of it, the use of lyrics in the project’s mother tongue drenches the whole in a mystic, almost exotic temper, at least to people who are not exactly trusted with the Slavic language.
Music-wise, the main textures are created around electronic beats and haunting synth-melodies, like some Terminal Choice meet Aska thing. Many layers of digital manipulation, including percussion-like elements, down-tuned beats, gloomy melodics and spacelike soundwaves, are canalized into quite a massive wall of sound, attractive and repelling at the same time, intoxicating yet percipient too, ‘invoking analog and digital miasma of pocket devices, paralyzing entropia of modular synths and beatific dyslexy of reverently crafted samples [note: in a subtle way, some samples are ingeniously processed into the whole] all concrescent in acataleptic mantrae heralding the impending serenity of inner void’ (Daedalian words, aren’t they?).
The production is of a very severe and profuse kind, droning and buzzing, low-tuned bass-laden and Arctic-freezing. Actually, it does congeal and it does heath up at the very same time; like ice-cubes dancing around in a nuclear fire. It’s well-balanced, with an equally divided input for voices, synths and programming. That massive sound-quality strengthens the asphyxiating atmosphere, penetrating the void of no-return. Bumpy and obtrusive yet strenuous rhythms permanently interact with poignant and dismal melodies, sharpened and intensified by that overwhelming, smothering sound.
Set this trash on fire along with yourself! Do it, now!