Album Review: Flume – Hi This Is Flume (Mixtape) (2019)

With only 24 hours notice, veteran Flume dropped a 17 track mixtape with full accompanying visuals on Australian label, Future Classic.  Hi This Is Flume (Mixtape) will be one of the most important releases of the year and reminds us that Flume is an artist but also a visionary.

Breaking his two year silence, Flume and his team ran the ultimate of hype campaigns to produce something noncommercial and unorthodox.  He has once again proven he has an unrivalled ability to create something niche and distorted and make it feel familiar and comfortable.

With 24 hours notice I expected some snippets of what was to come, maybe some remixes and then a long wait for an offical release.  What we got was an eclectic, bass-heavy full album spanning multiple genres, a remix and huge features.

Paying homage to his last album and announcing a fresh start, the second track “Ecdysis” means shedding of the skin. Before the release of his sophomore album Skin, Flume talked about the pressure of creating a new sound. Hi This Is Flume (Mixtape) isn’t constrained by pressure and the fluidity of the album shows a clear direction. It’s a subversive and layered mosaic, which together shows the evolution of Flume, the industry and ultimately sets the bar for inspiring producers.

In an industry that feels overly saturated, Flume has recrafted traditional genres, enhancing soundscapes and sensory experiences. “Amber’s distorted trap elements, the hip hip aspect of “High Beams” and “How To Build A Relationship” and the house inspired beat behind “Upgrade” are all tangled within Flume’s iconic future bass sound. “Upgrade” specifically takes a traditionally formulaic genre and creates a depth that house music typically lacks.

With Skin being such an important album for a lot of people, seeing reappearing names on this mixtape was a sentimental touch.  The accompanying visuals (which you must watch the first time you listen) were created by Jonathan Zawada who also produced the Skin visuals.  Boasting the same aesthetic as Flume they manage to find the organic and blend it with the synthetic. The whole project encapsulates the power and depth of music – forcing you to see and feel the music in a certain way, not just listen. It’s a look in to the mind of Flume and tells a disjointed but captivating story.  KUCKA who appeared on tracks “Smoke And Retribution” and “Numb and Getting Colder” also returned on “voices” – already a fan favourite.

Other features include EPROM, whose warped sound was an early influence on Flume and SOPHIE, whose renowned use of 808s made it on to “voices” and a remix of her track “Is It Cold In The Water.” The feature of JPEGMAFIA worked well and he managed to sync his vocals with the glitchiness of the track. However, Featuring slowthai on “High Beams” seemed like a strange choice and the instrumental would stand strong on its own.

Three familiar songs appeared on the mixtape bringing nostalgia and relief to dedicated Flume fans. The fourth track “Jewel” has been played live in Flume’s sets since the middle of 2017 and many thought its release would ever see the light of day. “Daze 22.00” was part of Flumes Road To Asia series, previously known as “Road To Jakarta.” Backing this up was “Amber” which has widely been referred to as the “Falls” ID, as Australian’s at Falls Festival in 2017 were the first to hear the track. With the rest of the Road To Asia series, his “Greenpeace” track and lots of other teasers with artists like Bauuer and The Gorillaz still unreleased, we hopefully have a lot to look forward to.

Hi This Is Flume is essentially a contemplated and classy publicity stunt. However, the mixtape does not include one track which is guaranteed to be a mainstream hit like “Never Be Like You” or “Say It” on Skin. We know Flume is more than capable of whipping these up, and I think it was brave and honourable that he focused on the experimental side of things, not ensuring mainstream success. “Voices” is probably the most commercial song and the bold and atmospheric intro shows huge potential for his new shows. Hopefully his production team can support the epic and ambitious nature of Flume’s music.

interestingly, the name Flume was inspired by the Bon Iver song, “Flume.”  Like Flume, his music is centred around making seemingly disfigured or left of centre sounds, beautiful. His 2016 album used symbols in most of the titles.  Based on the how Flume’s track ╜φ°⌂▌╫§╜φ°⌂▌╫§╜φ°⌂▌╫§ sounds and its title, I wonder if this could be a subtle gesture acknowledging Bon Iver. Each listen I notice more little quirks within the mixtape. This detail and precision raises many questions and adds to the intrigue and mystery of Flume.

Pulling off this project is a huge achievement for Flume and the team around him and will reinvigorate an industry that sometimes lacks innovation and diversity.

Flume has since announced that tour dates and more music are still to come. The main question on many Australian’s minds is…. Splendour 2019?

FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Hi This Is Flume is available everywhere. For more information visit Flume’s website HERE.

Related Posts

Like it? Share it!