8 MUSINGS // Flume – Skin

flume

Flume’s highly-hotly-super-over-anticipated album has been in the ether for a solid period of time now.

And how do we feel about it?

Nearly four years on from his groundbreaking self-titled debut album, let’s explore what has changed, what hasn’t, and whether we’re going to again experience a wave of post-Flume 2.0 copycats in the next couple of years.

That intro though
You don’t get the sweet, sweet drop until two and half minutes into ‘Helix’, but it’s worth the wait, because Flume then grabs you and takes you on a wild explosive ride, setting the scene for the rest of the album.

But that hype though
You can’t blame Future Classic for milking this for all its worth. Such a thriving export and money spinner, Flume is a valuable commodity. But the promo did toe the line of getting…a bit much. The much-hyped interview with Richard Kingsmill, the daily Instagram/Twitter snippet previews, the London Facebook Livestream… OK, Flume is releasing his second album, WE GET IT.

A dream run of feature artists
In saying that, how can you not boast about getting Little Dragon, Vic Mensa, AlunaGeorge and Beck forgodssake all in one place. ‘Take a Chance’ with Little Dragon and ‘Tiny Cities’ with Beck are particularly lovely – how could they not be? Locally reppin’ and feature artist darling of the moment, KUČKA – Australia’s answer to Grimes – makes an appearance twice. Her voice simply works so well with electronic music. Her catalogue includes Cosmo’s Midnight, Dro Carey, Paces, Milwaukee Banks and now the OG, Flume. It’s a broad and cohesive collection of feature artists, which is certainly reflected in the versatility of the album.



In a word…
To compare to his debut? Experimental. Flume is very open about this. And he has got a very sensible view of it – he needs to stay ahead of the pack. Because the pack has taken the “Flume” sound and regurgitated it a million times over in the past few years. He soundly juggles the balance between exploring new sounds without straying too far away from his trademark glitchiness. He really pushes the boundaries of what pop music can be. A decade ago, it would’ve been unthinkable for this type of music to be doing the commercial rounds.

Flume knows how to make a great dancefloor-filler
Without it being out-and-out gaudy and tasteless. ‘Say It’ featuring Swedish singer Tove Lo is a stunner. Her rich voice floats perfectly on top of the rich synths. It’s a wonderful balance, a showcase of vocals with moving production.



While also being able to please electronica geeks
The Skin sound is generally harsher, edgier, less melodic. Tracks like ‘Numb & Getting Colder’, ‘Wall Fuck’ and ‘3’ stray more into that avant-garde side, bringing up parallels with artists like Deja, Willow Beats and Rustie. And a fantastical track like ‘Free’ strays ever farther in, jumping on that 8-bit chiptune train.

And the weak links?
There are always going to be letdowns. ‘Like Water’ featuring MNDR doesn’t feel quite complete, and it’s a similar story with ‘Innocence’ featuring AlunaGeorge – especially when compared to his recent appearance on their track ‘I Remember‘. Maybe it’s the piercing microphone feedback sound that appears right throughout it. Maybe I can’t handle that level of experimentation.

Has Skin successfully avoided the dreaded “sophomore slump”?
Perhaps a cop out, but it’s really hard to say at this stage. While the debut is always going to be a bit of a classic for me, Skin definitely has the potential to be something that I could still listen to in a few years’ time. There are less stand out tracks, but that’s not such a bad thing. Would we really have wanted just another carbon copy of Flume, especially considering how many carbon copy producers there are already out there?



It may not serve as such a shifting catalyst to the Australian music landscape that we saw the first time around, if that’s even possible again, but Flume has delivered a comprehensive album that has flexed his creativity muscle and continues to push his sound further.


THE BREAKDOWN:

Hometown: Sydney, Australia.
Sounds like: Flume 2.0.
Say what? Flume started out producing music from software that came with a box of cereal.

Exclusively hand-picked just for you, by Jane.  

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