If the idea of electronic music from the Ukraine brings to mind crackling radio static, melodies seemingly sampled from rusty old circus carousels, and vintage synthesizers that have seen better days, then the album Disaster in Room 208 won’t do much to disabuse you of your prejudices.
But rest assured that all of those elements are very much in the album’s favor. Recorded by OK_01 (aka Oleg Kovalchuk) and released on the Surreal Madrid netlabel, Disaster in Room 208 collects six tracks that are all the more enticing due to their threadbare nature. “Happy End” mixes scratchy noise, distant syrupy strings, and a sweet guitar line, never quite letting any of the layers match with the others (MP3). “Driving – Screws” opens with a brief retro-rock moment (think Billy Childish at his most dissolute) before the sound gets warped, as if the FM station was shifted slightly and the music suddenly exposed some mischievous alternate agenda — insert Cold War surveillance imagery here (MP3). Likewise “Rocky,” which plays with a squelchy sine wave like it’s a theremin, above a chipper chip-tune rhythm and a recording of water that lends the imminent threat of a short circuit (MP3).
And that’s just half the set. Get the full thing, and more more details, at surrealmadrid.net.