>> Electronic producer Flume returns after a three-year absence of larger projects to deliver a mixtape that makes all the right steps from the blend of experimentation and mainstream appeal of his last full-length project.
Australia native Flume is an electronic music producer who has been active in the music community since the early part of this decade. During this time, he’s been honing his craft inside of the genres of glitch hop, wonky, futurebase, and mainstream EDM, mixing elements from each, with the hopes of finding a mix that can appeal to a wider audience. Some previous collaborators include Vince Staples, Little Dragon, Raekwon, Beck, Clean Bandit. With such a varied list of features, it becomes clear that Flume has really been going for a wide mix of appeal, adjusting his sound in ways that can complement many artists, as well as their respective fanbases. His 2016 album 'Skin' was the peak of this, with the clean and grandiose sounds of pop EDM permeating the fabric of nearly every track. While the record never felt pandering, it's clear, especially in retrospect, that Flume was limiting himself in a regard to find the larger success he was looking for. On this most recent project, Flume has found a more distinct voice for himself that can make electronic music feel incredibly personal, even for untypical listeners of the genre. The sparse list of features alone highlights this fact- showcasing very few artists, to begin with, and those that are included are those who are incredibly experimental in their respective lanes, complimenting him quite well. We see this most prominently with rapper JPEGMAFIA and art-pop artist and producer SOPHIE. SOPHIE makes two appearances on 'Hi This Is Flume,' both in the form of an original, hypnotic appearance towards the latter half of the record and in a brilliant remix of her 2018 song “Is It Cold In The Water?”, a remix that both expands upon and acknowledges the original brilliantly. This remix segues seamlessly into JPEGMAFIA’s featured track on the project, “How To Build A Relationship,” a hard-hitting and formidable track that feels remarkably like a brilliant freestyle, showcasing some of the heaviest verses Peggy’s dropped in a while. This really demonstrates the kind of producer Flume can be when paired with a great rapper but also highlights his ability to move between genres when segues into songs where he’s on his own. Tracks like the melodic and lighthearted “Jewel” and dense and atmospheric “Wormhole” are highlights in this regard, holding a level of production quality that blows a lot of other producers out of the water. The quality of these tracks make it clear that there’s a threshold for this variety of music that hadn’t been met yet, and Flume is the one to rise to the occasion.
There’s very little to be said against this record. It’s one of the most accessible yet artistically inspired projects of its genre, and can definitely find an audience with almost any listener. If there’s any gripe to be had with 'Hi This Is Flume,' it’s that throughout its thirty-eight-minute runtime, Flume does little other than showcase his talent for blending his influences. This mixtape has no grander theme, no real message, and while of course, that isn’t necessary to make good music, it may hinder the projects ability to withstand the test of time and bring back recurring listeners. It feels as if this mixtape may only serve as a stepping stone for Flume’s career, but if that’s the case, it can only really mean better things to come.
Ultimately, Flume genuinely created something remarkable with 'Hi This Is Flume.' He has given new listeners a fantastic welcome to both him and his catalog, whilst simultaneously providing a much-needed change of pace for seasoned listeners and fans of the genres he operates in. The first full track on the project, “Ecdysis," bears reference to the same biological term, meaning “to shed one’s own skin”. Coming off of a three-year absence from his last full-length album, 'Skin,' it’s clear that Flume wanted to grow and change from where he was before and to introduce us to that new version of himself. He absolutely did that. 4.1/5 <<