With the announcements of his Fall tour and Sophomore LP Skin, which is set to be released on the 27th, Flume's name has once again started to carry a buzz in the electronic music scene. Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Harley Streten (Flume) made a very sudden, but memorable splash into the world of EDM. His self-titled album ended up being considered a catalyst that encouraged more experimenting and risk rather than sticking to the same flushed out EDM sound. With tracks like the blissful "Sleepless", a hyped up "On Top", and the melancholy "Ezra", it wasn't too hard to tell that Flume was going places. What came shortly after was one of the biggest rises to stardom ever seen by a lone producer. Countless remixes were released, with some of them gaining hundreds of millions of views. Some of the more notable ones being his remixes of Lorde's "Tennis Courts" and Disclosure's "You & Me". Flume's versatility showed in the way he was able to remix popular songs and make them global hits, while sticking to that future bass sound his fans grew to love. However, with the singles and previews released for Skin, it seems like he isn't specifically targeting an audience that knows him for just one style. Instead it seems like Flume is providing a mesh of sounds and styles that will cater to all of his audiences; such as fans of his involvement in What So Not, those who enjoy his hip-hop tracks, fans that look up to his experimenting, and those who like the more poppy vibes.
Apart from the What So Not sounding banger at around the 1:50 mark, I couldn't find much to be excited about from Flume's "Skin LP Preview". It seemed like most of it used the same patterns, sounds, and tricks that his debut album contained-- leading me to believe that Flume didn't make any effort to bring something new to the table. Although my mind ended up changing, I still believe that a better preview could have generated more excitement. As more of the singles and details about the album were released, I became more intrigued. The features on Skin include appearances from Alunageorge, Beck, Little Dragon, and Raekwon. There's an insane amount of diversity in the artists Flume picked to appear in this new album. I was especially surprised by the track he did with Kučka and Vince Staples titled "Smoke & Retribution". These are three artists that I could have never imagined working together due to stylistic differences. Despite my skepticism, I fell in love with the final product they made. Flume approached this hip-hop track with a futuristic beat that sends chills down my spine, while Vince Staples was able to fit in perfectly with a fierce and hard-hitting vocal delivery. Kučka's vocals were also outstanding, and since this release I have gone and become more accustom to her music. I also enjoyed the single "Say It", which was a collaboration with the Swedish singer Tove Lo. The track is built around swanky percussive elements and beautiful synths that compliment Tove Lo's voice in a way I've never heard before. I could picture this being one of those hit songs that's an anthem for the upcoming Summer, and to be honest, I wouldn't really mind that. Now, let's talk about "Wall ****", and yes, those asterisks stand for what you're thinking. Despite the explicit title, this is the only Skin track released without any lyrics. I don't love it, but in a way I'm happy Flume released this at the time he did. Having songs like "Say It", "Smoke & Retribution", and "Wall ****" show how Flume doesn't have a set direction for Skin. It looks as if he's challenging himself to build bridges across the gaps and styles he has experimented with throughout his career. If this is the case, Skin could be one of the most revolutionary electronic music albums ever made.
Along with the album came Flume's announcement of a worldwide tour. The stage production and supporting acts for the tour are simply jaw dropping. This new stage appears to be a much more advanced and elaborate version of his infinity prism stage. Rather than focusing on a single hexagon shape, Flume now has more of a cubicle approach that gives off a house of mirrors effect through each panel. The stage also now has schematic LED cubes in the back that look like some type of infrastructure setup, however, it doesn't seem like they'll be doing much other than flashing. Although I would've loved to see the cubes in the back transforming, I still think this is a huge improvement compared to the infinity prism; which had a couple two dimensional hexagons floating in the back. This stage wasn't what convinced me to buy my tickets though. What made me fully convinced on buying tickets for both Boston shows was this announcement. Regardless of who will be opening for Flume, there is almost no room for disappointment. My fingers are crossed for a Cashmere Cat performance, but it would also be a pleasure to see either TOKiMONSTA or Mr.Carmack again. Many of the other artists are hidden gems that I have only recently discovered. Seeing underground artists like Basenji, HWLS, Mura Masa, or Wave Racer would also be a very pleasant treat. I have my hunches on who will be performing here based off these artists' schedules, but I'm still open to being surprised and checking out whoever's behind the decks throughout the two night. A playlist containing songs from each of the artists performing can be found to the left. Unfortunately, if you haven't gotten your tickets there's some bad news. Tickets for the Boston shows on August 29th and 30th are sold out, but don't lose hope, there's other ways you can get them. A method that has often worked for me was keeping up to date on the Facebook event page, which occasionally had posts from other Bostonians looking to sell their tickets. This is a method that will help you as the event draws closer, rather than right now. Regardless of how you get your tickets, I look forward to experiencing this spectacular stage and set of artists with you.