Will Flume’s Next Album Live Up To The Hype?
Let me start off this article by stating that art and beauty is in the eyes (or ears) of the beholder. I understand that everyone has differences in opinion of what is good music and not everyone will agree with my feelings expressed in this post. I also realize that the full LP is not out yet, so I might just be getting nervous over nothing, but something about what Flume has shown us thus far of his new LP Skin has me worried.
I am a massive Flume fan. I remember hearing his debut LP for the first time and falling in love with the originality and progressiveness of his sound and style. Each track had something fresh and new to it. I remember seeing him live at a small venue in Seattle right before he blew and being blown away by his set. I remember reading that Flume was partnering with Emoh Instead to create What So Not and once I listened to a few of their tracks, I got a certain nostalgia for the very first time I heard Flume. I remember hearing “Some Minds” and “Gemini” for the first time and tearing up over the beauty of each track and the WSN EP that followed.
Now, on the eve of Flume’s second LP release, I hear “Never Be Like You (feat. Kai)” and I only manage to feel a sense of disappointment. Couple this with the Skin LP preview Flume released and all I have this time is a nagging as though the LP will just underwhelming as a whole.
I might be calling this one too early, but here are my reasons.
First, Flume made a name for himself by creating breathtaking track after breathtaking track. Each felt new and like something we had never heard before. His original LP Flume was full of new sounds that turned electronic music on its head, bringing a fresh breath of air to the scene as a whole. Flume’s entry into the electronic music scene really ushered in the world of alternative electronic music and paved the way for the likes of ODESZA, Slow Magic, and other more melodic producers. The exploration of sound and style is really what made Flume’s original LP such a homerun album for electronic music lovers. It gave us something that sounded nothing like the big room, main stage music that had really shaped how electronic music was perceived. Suddenly electronic music was accessible to everyone, young and old, of all musical tastes. Additionally, every track released under the What So Not alias had the same qualities; progressiveness and novelty.
When listening to the preview of Skin, I do not have the same wonder. I feel as though I have heard all of this before. Yes, not exactly the same thing…but close. As alternative electronic music has become more mainstream over the past few years, so has the sound. Nothing from this new LP that I have heard thus far makes me think of Flume. If I had not known it was Flume, I would not have been able to pick it out from the rest of the alt-electronic being produced. This is not the case with other artists. ODESZA, Slow Magic, Purity Ring, etc all have very distinct styles that transcend from one track to the next. Flume (up until this point) has done the same.
Take a listen to “Some Minds” and you really get that Flume feeling, but with what has been released so far on the new LP, I do not get the same vibe.
At the end of the day, what Flume has put out thus far for Skin is not bad. His production is top notch as always, and the preview still has echoes of his old progressive style, but I do not think it goes far enough into the realm of experimentation. I also know that it is a lot to ask an artist to constantly innovate to the degree that Flume has, but I have the slightest feeling he somewhat settled with his sound for these tracks, knowing what would work and just sticking to it. He might have aimed Skin to have more mainstream success outside of electronic music (after all, he has openly said he doesn’t like playing at specifically electronic music festivals, in favor of more musically diverse festivals). While I’m sure the album will be a massive success, I fear I will be sitting here wanting more. Something that will bring a tear to my eyes like “Gemini:” something we don’t know we want until we hear it (like Oddity.)
Only time will tell I guess. I have such hopes for the album, and really do hope I am wrong. I hope I can look back on this review and laugh at how stupid I was. I guess we will just have to wait and see.
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