SSTROM – Drenched (Rösten)

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Upon its release last year, Swedish electronic producer Hannes Stenström’s debut album on Rösten under his SSTROM alias ‘Otider’ captured a considerably different side to his releases as one half of SHXCXCHCXSH, with the harsh unpredictable structures and textures of that partnership replaced by a greater emphasis on 4/4 rhythms and danceable immediacy. Twelve months on, this latest collection ‘Drenched’ arrives as a series of three separate 12” EPs, and sees Stenström consolidating his muscular fusions of techno and hardcore elements even further over its twelve tracks.

While ‘Drenched 1’ opens proceedings with a rush of slightly muted 4/4 kickdrums and dark, sinuous arpeggios that suggests a headlong rush out into ominous hardcore techno, it isn’t long before the entire track seems to open up like a flower to reveal new sonic details, the cold glittery layers of synths that spiral between the speakers adding a spectral ambient edge to the unrelenting rhythms that’s strangely lulling.

It’s indicative of the immersive, maximalist atmospheres at work here, which often feel just as geared towards hyper-detailed listening over a good pair of headphones as they do a heaving soundsystem. By contrast, ‘Drenched 5’ amplifies the sensation of heaving bottom-end pressure as techno rhythms thud away against surging layers of distorted bass sequences that drop in and out of the mix to disorienting effect, before ‘Drenched 9’ heightens the mounting sense of tension even further as urgent siren-like tones repeat endlessly against a woozy backbone of pin-prick snares and undulating sub-bass.

By the time the listener reaches ‘Drenched 12’ all guns are locked and blazing as zapping synth bursts arc between the speakers before crushing themselves into digital distortion against an exoskeleton of cage-like mechanical techno rhythms, the end result evoking the sense of being pinned down under chaotic laser fire more than anything else. Furious and vivid stuff for the floor that’s well worth checking out.

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