Adam Strömstedt – The Reptilian Overlord Therapy Sessions Vol. I

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As I sit here listening to this release on a clear, frosty February morning, the sun shimmers through my curtains, alighting the light blue skies behind. A vapour trail from a distant jet adorns this picturesque backdrop, making me wonder where the people on board are flying to. . . perhaps somewhere warmer than this weathered, old island. Images of summers gone by flicker into memory, giving me a sickly nostalgic feeling in the pit of my stomach, and a tingling sensation that runs the length of my spine. This latest offering from Adam Strömstedt delivers these sensations in abundance, making me equal parts excited and anxious for the summer of music that lies ahead.

The EP opens with “TST142”, a steady groove that evokes an image of a lazy, hazily sunlit beach in Croatia or Ibiza — on either end of some exotic party — with beach-dwellers revelling in a daze of relaxation and hedonism. This jam could feature in this setting just as effectively at sunrise or sunset; It’s malleable, playful, and an altruistic demonstration of airy, floating progression. The groove contains the loungey, chilled-out temperament of deep house tracks from bygone years, with enough contemporary class to keep it enticing and fresh. You can easily identify the Moroder influence in ’TST142′ as it progresses, who Strömstedt cites as a key reference point for this particular project.

“Reptile Boogie” asserts itself with sprightly textures, bass melodies and tight electro drums, before “Green Room Therapy” ushers in a return to the four-to-the-floor structure, with a Sutherland-esque lead, a low-swung bass and warm, shimmering chords. The mood is redolent of the shift in atmosphere that occurs at the turn of the evening, at a festival which might be situated in a patch of some idyllic British woodland, with bohemian shirts, glitter and fairy lights on display — amongst the other usual artefacts of the soirée. However, something about it still makes me feel a touch bleak and melancholic, as if I’m suffering some sort of post-festival blues.

“Split Tongue” rounds the EP off, inviting us to mentally maraud through the streets of some tripped-out metropolis, sprawling with life by night. Strömstedt makes good use of field recordings and samples here, alongside tight drum programming and synth work — creating one of the more outstanding tracks of the four. The beat structure and vocal samples indicate that the Swede’s sound is informed by the old electro/hip-hop scenes of NY and Detroit; it’s the kind of beat you can imagine hearing on a laid-back rendition of the New Dance Show — which could just as easily be where his vocal samples originated from.

The Stockholm native, who now resides in Sydney, clearly has an affinity for the more emotive, playful and tightly-crafted veins of house, techno and electro — a fact that he has evidenced in the past with his track selections, and demonstrated again with this release. However, it feels as though there are moments in this EP that were eluding to something greater — something beyond what is readily available — and it does leave you feeling somewhat disappointed. If Strömstedt can elaborate on these flickers of brilliance and move them forward he’ll be able to create something truly unique and outstanding. When all’s said and done though this EP still gives me the feels, and that speaks volumes when discussing any artist’s capabilities.

The overriding story here appears to be one of a producer still finding his voice in this noisy scene — and demonstrating promise. It will be interesting to hear which direction he pursues in future, and how the Strömstedt sound unfolds. Will there be a “Vol. 2″ of The Reptilian Overlord Therapy Sessions? I guess that will remain an unanswered question in this scaly conspiracy for the time being.