Ladies and Gentlemen, the trailblazer of future bass has returned.
The Sydney-born DJ, Harley Edward Streten, better known as Flume, has just dropped new music and it does not disappoint. The 17-track mixtape, Hi this is Flume, followed a two-year drought from the world-reclaimed artist since the success of the Skin LP. A tweet stating ‘this time tomorrow….’ sent the world of electronic music and the internet into a frenzy of excitement. With only a 24-hour wait, the hype was still very significant. With noticeable buzz from big name artists like Major Lazer and JOYRIDE, anticipation for the comeback mixtape was clear.
Hi this is Flume is an expression of Flume’s experimental capabilities as an electronic DJ and producer, which exceeds all previously-set limitations. The mixtape is accompanied with a striking visualiser created and directed by Jonathon Zawada, Streten’s close friend and fellow collaborator. The mixtape takes the listener on a psychedelic journey that presents refreshing sounds while staying crisp and finessed. The mixtape features a wide-range of close artists to Harley, such as KUČKA, slowthai, JPEGMAFIA and SOPHIE to name a few, who really bring the project together as a whole. All tracks are sculpted into fine works of art that surpass conventional boundries. I recommend that audiences listen to the mixtape in order as the tracks meld and piece together one by one, which is an admirable creative decision on Streten’s behalf.
The opening of the mixtape features a voice recording of Harley introducing the mixtape, which then overlaps each other repetitively building up and crossfading into the second track Ecdysis, a perfect segway into an excellent listening experience. Ecdysis, straight off the bat, contains the signature Flume warping, low-fi bass sound, which has been a tool for his music since the beginning. This trademark sound is now seen in the rawest form it has ever been. Keeping his new music recognisable, Flume stills stems on his own originality, therefore still being considered as inventive. A harmonious harp melody seamlessly goes hand-in-hand with the bootleg bass loops and warping sounds, creating a perfect prelude into what should come next.
High Beams opens with a grainy synth, which can be described almost as a rhythmic polishing of wood with some sandpaper, along with a deep bass loop. Put together, it makes head bopping utterly irresistable. Powerful vocal impact resonates from this track as feature artist slowthai offers an RnB twist on the electronic mixtape with lyrics of proclamation. Contrastingly, Flume puts the brakes on as things slow down in Jewel, digital beeps and blips together with that same familiar bass warp. The overall organisation of sound on this track sounds cluttered at first but seen through a different lens, it is chaotic poetry. All sounds and loops are placed perfectly and sculpted in perfect harmony. What I enjoy immensely about this project is the accompanying visuals. Vibrant transitions, beautiful landscapes and intricate animations provide an extension to the magical listening experience. The music and cinematography go hand-in-hand. They share a resembling energy and flow, which is satisfying aesthetic to witness while listening.
Rather than a mixtape Hi this is Flume could be regarded as an electronic music score. Since majority of tracks are under two minutes The flow and sequencing of the tracks put together is truly a heightened art form. Dreamtime gives way for rich atmospheric soundscape, giving way to an almost out-of-body experience as they are soothed to sleep. Going on a more progressive route, MUD and 71m3 are comprised of deep distortions pieced together carefully to create the ultimate explosion of sound. It has been stated once, but it will be stated again, Chaotic poetry, on a world-class level.
Flume and the bass mastermind Eprom team up unpack SOPHIE’s is it Cold in the Water? Delivering a sense of heightened energy to the track. It is perfectly remixed with glitchy loops joined with a luscious backdrop. The overall sound of the mixtape, so far, seems to have been intricately procured and brewed by Harley over time, in order to create a finishing product that points to the future of electronic music as a genre. JPEGMAFIA goes harder than a woodpecker’s lips on How To Build a Relationship. It cannot be stressed enough, this particular song packs series heat. With extremely strong bars and a crispy clean beat, this track is a window-down anthem, no questions asked. Flume continues to impress by keeping the listener on their toes by switching it up with a fat trap beat and unforeseen key changes. Personally, track number 8 is definitely a favourite.
Voices, with familiar artist SOPHIE, opens with a choppy baseline. It is then followed by longtime collaborator KUČKA’s skewed vocalisations. This creates an appealing texture to the melody, still staying true to the overarching theme of the mixtape. Concluding tracks like Vitality and Daze 22.00 are definitive examples of this mixtape being beyond its time, smooth pads, together with the clutter of percussion thrown onto the tracks, appeal may only be limited to certain audiences. This plays to Flumes strengths but could be a disadvantage, as their is potential of the mixtape being left very underrated. Hi this is Flume, halts to a stand still following another Eprom collaborative project. Featuring string pads and trademark low fi patterns, Spring, is a perfect finale for the seemingly effortless project.
Hi this is Flume is lays groundwork on an unfathomed territory in the world of electric music. Ahead of its time, perhaps, nevertheless, Harley Streten continues to evolve his sound while comfortably jumping between genres and experimenting in complete comfort.
Flume will be remembered as a pioneer of music. His ingeniuity will continue to pave the way for the electronic music scene for time to come. It is a mixtape so complex and so out of this world, yet so uncomfortably irresistible. Incredible piece of genius from beginning to end. 5/5