As a global community, we tend to reserve a special place in our hearts for anyone who has the honour of taking a chart-topping position away from Justin Bieber. This special place teeters on the verge of gilded shrine when the same artist has a proven history of doing the same to One Direction.
This week brings the re-release of Flume’s 2012 self-titled LP. “Re-release”, as the (numerous) fans from Harley Streten’s native Australia have had this album on-hand, and on heavy rotation, since last fall, when it promptly performed the aforementioned heave-ho to #WandErection. While those of us in North America and the UK are a little late to this rave, we are catching on fast – global enthusiasm for this smokin’ collection of solid beats has taken Flume back to the top of the charts down under. Sorry Biebs.
At the risk of sounding like one of the hundreds of thousands of drooling Soundcloud fans who are busily soaking every track on Streten’s page with their heartsick pleas to perform at a festival in their area, I will add my love. Admiration. Obsession.
Streten knows music – according to global/urban legend, he’s been mixing beats since he was 12, following the happy occurrence of discovering a basic sound production CD-ROM in his cereal box. Six years later, he submitted three songs to a dance-mix competition, and at 21, he’s staged to fill the holes in your playlist that could only be filled by David Guetta.
In authentic trance fashion, it’s easy to lose yourself in these tracks. At the same time, like striking distinctions within a dream, each two- to four-minute submission offers skillful variation in pulse, emotion, intensity and cultural tone while maintaining the subliminal drive to bounce.
Internationally, the mainstream success of Flume’s brief, yet explosive, career is being attributed to the album’s tracks “Holdin’ On” and “Sleepless feat. Jezzabell Doran”. The former features industriously soulful tastes of Otis Redding while the latter whips Doran’s soft vocals into a crowd-throbbing frenzy. Beyond those chart-busters, less obvious sensations materialize; “On Top feat. T.Shirt” hypnotically mourns, “All that I want in this life is a chance to do my thing…”, while “What You Need” mixes three lines – “Waiting to love you”, “losing you” and “I got what you need” – to an intense, evocative pulse that is undeniably poignant.
Flume is unquestionably a thrilling moment for the “I’m not quite dead yet” world of dance music. It’s skillfully produced, artfully self-possessed and defiantly rhythmic. And while Flume will likely be working with your most loved-to-hate, overplayed pop stars faster than you can yell “Shock Value” (who can blame him?), for now, when Streten’s not at home (where he still lives with his mum – true story) or mixing with “What So Not” (Emoh Instead & Flume), he’s touring the clubs with Vancouver listed as one of his two upcoming Canadian stops. Flume will be here March 29, bringing his beats to the Electric Owl (tickets).