After the success of his ‘Skin’ album in 2016, which had the likes of, ‘Never Be like You’, ‘Say It’, and ‘Smoke and Retribution’, Flume became one of the best Australian artists, touring and performing throughout the globe, headlining at major festivals such as Listen out in 2019, and now Coachella in 2022.
During COVID, Flume took the a few years off, only releasing singles with other featuring artists. After three years with no releases, Flume dropped his mixtape on YouTube first, followed by Spotify and other platforms, and received mixed reviews from fans.
It was a change from his last album and was not for everyone. In my opinion, the mixtape was Flume getting back to his roots and experimenting with new sounds, effects and styles. It was released for people who enjoy Flume’s less mainstream style of music but I recommend this mixtape/album to people who want to expand into the niche style of music.
For the best listening experience of this mixtape, I suggest viewing the mixtape on YouTube so you don’t get any interruptions as the songs change over when listening on Spotify.
As the mixtape has 17 songs and goes for around 40 minutes, I will only review a few songs off the mixtape, the best moments of the beginning, middle and end. By doing this, you will still be able to experience the mixtape with only a little amount of outside information to guide you. Listening along to the songs as you go through this review will add to your experience.
Skipping the introduction and first song, I will begin with Jewel which is a good song to ease into the album/mixtape and style of music that you are about the listen to.
The song starts off with machine-like beeps, repeating the same notes slowly going up in pitch as an underlying humming runs underneath as it builds up. Finally, it drops and the main melody is repeated in slightly elongated beeps.
As the song progresses, it relaxes and you feel like you have arrived at a calm bit of water just after rapids. The song is building, again with the same electronic beeps, but in a call and response type style as the song reaches two minutes.
It is almost as if the two melodies are talking to each other as one plays out of the right side of your headphones, and the other replies from the left side. They both continue to build, responding to each other until the beat drops again. Flume adds in a new high-pitch ‘wooop’ noise at the end of the outro which builds into the next song.
This song gives me vibes of floating and is perfect to zone out to. The electronic beeps build up perfectly and highlight the power that this experimental type of music has to offer. I think it is also a relaxing song, the beeping breaks down thoughts in my mind and allows a sense of calm to rush over me.
The next song in this review is Dreamtime, the sixth song on the album. It is shorter than most of the songs on the mixtape but still is one of the standout tracks. It starts out with this muffled sound from a granulator which in short is a synthesizer.
The entire song is just building up to a point that the listener never gets to hear. Several other little rhythms and melodies are played over the granulator. This allows Flume to create his own atmosphere for the listener and experiment with the layers and textures throughout the entire song.
This song, almost more than Jewel, makes the listener switch off and fall completely under its spell. Listening to this without any other distractions allows your mind to wander off and change as he adds in new melodies over and under the main synth. This is one of Flume’s most underrated tracks as the experimental side of his music is shown off for the world to see.
Voices featuring Kučka and SOPHIE
The intro to this song starts off quite loud and violent but after the first 15 seconds, Flume introduces one of the best backing tracks in the whole mixtape.
One of the featuring artists, SOPHIE, sadly passed away in 2021, leaving the electronic-house world shocked. Flume, SOPHIE and Eprom combine in this song to bring the listener new rhythm and beats, while the vocals from Kučka ride over the top to deliver a unique sound.
There aren’t many lyrics in this song, just one chorus that is repeated twice, as well as a small post-chorus verse that only uses the words ‘voices’.
I think that this song is a nice one to ease into the style of music, as you have Kučka’s voice to relax you as you listen and slowly introduced are the heavier sounds used in this experimental style of music. It is easy to see how most people do not enjoy it as it is quite heavy and violent, but with the vocals, I think it makes for a relaxing and enjoyable song.
One of the more confusing song titles in the album, this song, which I believe is titled ‘Time’ but uses numbers for some of the letters, is a must-listen in this mixtape. While it is only 1:20 in duration, it packs a lot of momentum as you listen.
The song starts with snares that slowly fade and a small sample of vocals is repeated at different pitches to give a unique song and style. It is a nice little break in between the different experimental styles that Flume is trying throughout this mixtape and refreshes the listener as you are coming towards the end of the mixtape.
Spring featuring Eprom
Spring is the final song in the mixtape, featuring Eprom, the same artist who featured in the earlier song ‘Voices’. Flume and Eprom combine again to create another standout song in his mixtape. Relying heavily on synth again creates another atmosphere for you, the listener, to lose yourself in and end on a high note.
Together, they use a repeated note and rhythm to create a place for your mind to wander off and explore. After the first verse and chorus of the beats, they slow it down a bit and rely heavily on a repeated vocal track to guide you while they build up to another drop.
Once the second drop occurs, the outro begins and slowly fades away, beginning with a whole minute left, they use fewer individual beats and more connected synth sounds to end the song. Flume ends the song just in the right way, fulfilling the listener and giving them a calming outro after they finally end the journey through Flume’s experimental style of house.
Flume is one of Australia’s top artists and continues to gain followers through his mainstream style of electronic house. This mixtape allows people to experience his less mainstream style and clears any creative boundaries that contain him when creating new music. If you have enjoyed this mixtape, I encourage you to check out more of this niche style. You might even find your next favourite song.
All photos by Matt Williams