SOPHIE and JPEGMAFIA feature on a surprisingly experimental mixtape.
My interest in Hi This Is Flume was piqued by SOPHIE's guest appearance. Sure enough, the SOPHIE-assisted "Voices" is the highlight, mixing white-hot synth zaps and distorted, glitchy percussion with a hummable vocal from Kučka. It's an oasis of melodic pop. But after less than two minutes, we're off again into the wilds of banging drums and bucking basslines. The record's structure means that tracks like "Voices" are fleeting pleasures—presented as a "mixtape," Hi This Is Flume highlights lots of clever ideas, from the futuristic grime collaboration with the UK rapper slowthai to Flume's track with JPEGMAFIA, who tries to run circles around the slippery beat, messes up, screams "FUCK!" and then starts over again, as if the mixtape's fizzy energy had finally spilled over.
Hi This Is Flume often recalls the music of other artists. The intense sound design is not unlike SOPHIE's. "Ecdysis" might bring to mind Hudson Mohawke. "Upgrade" sounds like early Zomby fed through a woodchipper. "Dreamtime" could be an old Los Angeles beat scene track mashed up with shoegaze. There's a trancey remix of SOPHIE's "Is It Cold In The Water?" That the remix is part of the package is telling of Streten's method here. He takes familiar ideas and puts them through his own gauntlet of effects and tics, particularly his muscular sample processing and sudden tonal shifts between smooth and gritty, mashing up the two sides of Flume—the EDM star and the radio-friendly pop songwriter. Hi This Is Flume turns that dualism into complete sensory overload, a feeling that defines the mixtape.
Hi This Is Flume is Streten's attempt to position himself as someone who can work with hot rappers and respected electronic music producers alike. Cynical listeners might see it as trend-hopping, but there's a boldness to Streten's production that gives it something more than just commercial appeal. From the EDM kids to underground heads, there's something for everyone on this full-length, which retains Streten's accessibility while also contorting it into agonized shapes. In a way, Hi This Is Flume seems like the anti-streaming album. It makes less sense to pick out certain tracks than to ride the mixtape's hairpin turns and whiplash stop-starts. Coming from an artist who struck oil by digging firmly in the middle ground, Hi This Is Flume is a welcome step towards somewhere less comfortable.
Thu / 11 Apr 2019
01. Flume - Hi This Is Flume
02. Flume - Ecdysis
03. Flume & HWLS - High Beams feat. Slowthai
04. Flume - Jewel
05. Flume - Track 5
06. Flume - Dreamtime
07. SOPHIE - Is It Cold In The Water? (Flume & Eprom Remix)
08. Flume - How To Build A Relationship feat. JPEGMAFIA
09. Flume - Wormhole
10. Flume - Voices feat. SOPHIE & Kučka
11. Flume - MUD
12. Flume - Upgrade
13. Flume - 71m3
14. Flume - Vitality
15. Flume - Daze 22.00
16. Flume - Amber
17. Flume & Eprom - Spring