A reaction to sitting and listening to the cacophony of sound from Flume’s new mixtape.
I feel like I have to start this review by setting the scene in which I first listened to “Hi This Is Flume (Mixtape).”
Picture this: It’s around 10 pm. I’m in the cafe of my college library, attempting (and failing) to work on multiple essays that I have due during the week. It’s loud (as cafes tend to be), and either I wore too many layers or the heater is turned up too much because I’m overheating. Basically, this was not the environment in which I should’ve enjoyed a dissonant, experimental album, and yet, “Hi This Is Flume (Mixtape)” somehow surpassed that.
Most of the opinions I’d heard about Flume’s new record were that it’s fine; it is neither good nor bad, but it definitely wasn’t Flume’s best work. Because of everything I’d heard, I was shocked that I liked it so much. I’ve never been a huge Flume fan, yet this album felt like a deep dive into his complex mind. His music is unlike most EDM artists out there; artistic and noisey, it takes you on a journey and makes you feel simultaneously uncomfortable and at peace.
Perhaps two of the most exciting moments on the album come from two of rap’s rising stars. On track 3, entitled “High Beams,” Flume enlists the help of UK up-and-coming slowthai, who energetically raps about his come up over a beat that flows from off-putting hisses to melodic keyboard. Track 8, entitled “How To Build A Relationship,” features one of my favorite musicians JPEGMAFIA. The song features JPEGMAFIA’s signature aggressive flow over a dissonant, dark beat that switches halfway through the song. I’m also a big fan of “Vitality”. Although the song is only 1:39 long, it feels like the next evolution of “Skin”; Flume has spent the last three years since that album evolving as an artist, and it shows.
I’m here for this new Flume. “Hi This Is Flume (Mixtape)” is a risky album because it’s not your typical electronic album; it’s dissonant, complex, and a little scary at times. Is it a perfect album? No, but it doesn’t need to be. This album made me feel ways I never thought electronic music could make me feel; for one of the first times in my life, I found myself connecting to a music genre I was never a huge fan of. This album is intended to break boundaries and to get people outside of their comfort zone, which it succeeds at. “Hi This Is Flume (Mixtape)” is a perfect example for the argument that music shouldn’t be about playing it safe. This album is Flume’s brain packaged into 17 songs; it’s a little messy and quite risky, but it works.
Your first listen of “Hi This Is Flume (Mixtape)” needs to be in one sitting. The songs flow in and out of each other, with the album acting more of a body of work than a collection of singles. Flume made my college’s library cafe feel like nighttime at a summer music festival — a cool breeze on my back and my feet sore from walking all day. I think the reason some people don’t love this new record is that it doesn’t feel meant for casual listening; I think it’s meant to be heard live. Flume’s no stranger to having incredible live shows, from having captivating visuals to an energetic stage presence. I don’t think I’ll full understand this album until I see him play it live, and I’m alright with that. “Hi This Is Flume (Mixtape)” isn’t an album that was made for understanding; it’s an album that was made as a trip through the magic that is Flume’s mind.
By Mackenzie Glaubitz