Album Review: Flume-Flume

At just 21, Sydney whizz-kid Flume has crafted his debut LP, with his very signature melodic bass heavy style. Gaining notoriety by the Australian public after winning Triple J Unearthed’s competition for Field Day to start off 2012 was just the push he needed, as he received an unprecedented demand on the airwaves in both Australia and overseas.

The album begins with some bass heavy synth and some fairly tribal sounding drums, or drum machines. The vocals are pretty modified and distorted. This is the consensus for the whole album pretty much. Flume enjoys being a bit strange, and placing notes where notes generally don’t belong. He misses the beat, and sounds quite amateur at first, but on a deeper level, it is very intricate, as every note has been carefully placed in that spot for a reason.

It is a really long album with 15 tracks, going for 50 minutes, so for anyone that isn’t particularly an electronic fan, like this reviewer, it may be a bit repetitive and appears to go forever.

The best thing about the record is the diversity in the vocalists. Featuring Chet Faker, Jezzabell Doran, T.Shirt, Moon Holiday and George Maple, each one brings something different to the relaxing and ambient electronic tunes by Flume. Now the names may not be too familiar, besides the man of the moment, Chet Faker. His soulfulness on the third track Left Alone is a record highlight. He is known for his electronic ambience too, but Flume’s music doesn’t manage to bring out the potential he has shown on his EP Thinking In Textures.

The fourth track is named Sleepless and features Jezzabell Doran, although the percentage of her original recorded vocals used in the end result is quite questionable as they are so heavily edited by electronic equipment. This is the lead single off the album, and has probably been the track that has gained Flume the most notoriety in his epic rollercoaster to fame.

Track five is a hiphop song. Well, the hiphop is the vocals, but the rest is fairly typical Flume. Smooth and futuristic techno with a rapper over the top is the best way to explain On Top. The drumming is reminiscent of old school hiphop with a strong and basic rhythm.

Another highlight is track number 12 with George Maple, who has an extremely beautiful voice, and luckily it seems like her voice has not been edited too heavily, if at all. She is a very difficult lady to research. The track is called Bring You Down, and is 4 minutes and 38 seconds of ethereal bliss. It is much of a pop song, rather than a techno or electronic track. You can actually imagine this being performed live by a band, with a drummer, bass player, and two keyboards on stage, with George belting it out on the mic and Flume providing some back up vocals too, if he can actually sing.

Overall, the album is pretty good for a debut. It is twice as long as any other artists putting out a debut product, as EP’s are so common for a first release in Australia. Flume has the talent to create killer dance tracks, and can probably put out a whole new album in six months. Dance music is cheaper to record, after all. For those who aren’t big electronic fans, many of the instrumental tracks without vocals will probably make you sleepy. He uses some really cool sounds and effects and he definitely has a signature style. It is not full of obnoxious club tunes like David Guetta or Art Vs Science (sorry, thought about them recently and remembered my loathing for them), but is actually deep and full of talent and originality, that is extremely hard to find in 2012 where it appears that everything has already been done before.

Go in with an open mind and make up your own opinion. Flume is dividing, and makes you question everything you have heard before in dance music. He is one to watch.

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