SSTROM - Vitriol
Behind the SSTROM moniker hides one half of SHXCXCHCXSH and a long-time activist of Sweden's experimental techno scene. Having fallen in love with simple melodies and catchy arpeggios when being a member of bitpop/synth band Slagsmalsklubben, he transferred these sensibilities further into his other projects. SSTROM's excellent 2016 debut for Semantica Records was an excellent exercise in lush aquatic techno with breezy and lush atmospheres. The new EP "Vitriol" is informed by the personal experience of the producer, which adds additional warmth and emotional weight to the record. The release brings back memories of earth pigments his father used when painting things in their house, the colours created were usually dark toned with some pastel lightness. This juxtaposition is felt throughout the record, which balances between cinematic futurist moods, steel-wool smoothness and subtle physicality due to its textured nature. The title track kicks-off with Detroitish synth loops wrapped in dense lo-fi soundscapes, while "Sienna" increases the tension by introducing more expansive melodic appeal intertwined with intensity of feather-like 4/4 rhythmics. "Umbra" brings some shadowy sonic undertones immersed into a sea of crackle with melodies constantly resurfacing. The closing "Ockra" bursts with more groovy patterns, yet retaining the same elegant warmth, which seems to be the signature element of this EP. While listening to all these tracks you feel like touching some alien surfaces with utmost sensitiveness with surreal landscapes stretching out in your imagination. This is carefully crafted introvert music, yet having some elegant dancefloor appeal.