When Australian producer Flume brought the sounds of UK wonky to a wider audience, its watered-down appeal to the masses resulted in a sound of lower common denominator. While he took inspiration from one of underground electronic music’s least accessible scenes, the result on his prior albums Flume and Skin essentially resulted in the typical corporate EDM that riddles the charts. However, on his latest mixtape Hi, This is Flume, the producer throws caution to the wind and presents us with his most experimental work yet.
The renewed demand for experimentation within pop championed by artists like Charli XCX and SOPHIE seemingly reinvigorates Flume on this record, to the point where SOPHIE features on one track and is remixed on another. This emphasis on bass-heavy, left-field pop suits him very well. Stellar tracks like ‘Jewel’ and ‘Spring’ seem like early entries from the PC Music catalogue – ethereal pieces of pop music enhanced by this hyper-synthetic sound. ‘MUD’, perhaps the highlight of the album, exemplifies this – a bass-driven experimental anthem fit for any SOPHIE album.
SOPHIE’s music clearly acts as more of an inspiration to Flume than that of his usual wonky roots, but much of the record is still rife with his own personal touch. ‘High Beams’ is a particular highlight. Ordinarily, on electronic records, the inevitable rap feature is seen as a needless attention grab. However, Slowthai’s feature on this track ties the tune together to the point where it’s questioned why such exquisite collaborations haven’t occurred on prior Flume projects.
Ultimately, Hi, This Is Flume is a fitting title. It takes a grand gesture to distance yourself from corporate ties and with this renewed focus on experimentation, Flume truly does have a need to reintroduce himself. By experimenting with the current prominence of bubblegum bass within electronic music, Flume recharacterizes himself as a genuine artistic force and a crucial voice within the current electronic movement.
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