Four years after his breakthrough debut LP in 2012, the Australian music producer known as Flume is making up for lost time. On May 27, 2016, he released an incredible sophomore record called Skin that was worth the wait.
Known by his family and childhood friends as Harley Edward Streten, Flume explained the meaning behind the album title in an interview with Complex:
To me, skin is alien and kind of weird; it weirds me out. It's strange, but it's also really intimate and personal; it's living, organic. That's how I want the music to sound, I want it to feel alien and strange, but also like it's got a heartbeat, like it's got a soul, like it's not made by a robot. Or, I want it to sound like it's made by a robot, but somehow it's got this human quality.
Skin delivers more of a futuristic feel than Flume's previous work. The 24-year-old DJ / producer experiments with a combination of sounds, alternating from distorted melodies to delicate rhythms to rapid beats. The variety on this album sets him apart from his peers, as he is crafting his own unique style.
Many within the electronic music scene feel like the term EDM is gradually becoming tacky and overused as electronic dance music has become increasingly popular. While a majority of people might expect new dance albums to contain the clichéd recurring drops following those extended build-ups, Flume breaks from the status quo with pop, hip hop, and atmospheric soundscapes.
Commercial hit tracks like "Never Be Like You" and "Say It" are the initial attention grabbers, but there is a lot of depth on this record beyond the hits. "Helix" poses as the epitome of an album intro with its profound opening and sequence of ascending notes. Flume also incorporates his adoration for sultry female vocals in "Innocence" with AlunaGeorge and "Numb and Getting Colder" with KUCKA, along with Kai, Tove Lo, and MNDR featured on a few other songs.
"Wall Fuck" and "Free" tend to flaunt Flume's production skill more than the other tracks, while "Lose It" and "You Know" can appeal to hip-hop connoisseurs and highlight artists like Vince Staples and Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon. Beck, a noteworthy alternative pop star and exceptional singer-songwriter, closes the album out with "Tiny Cities," leaving listeners satisfied and allowing Flume the opportunity to attract a wider audience.
Personally, I would consider Skin as one of the best albums of 2016 so far. Flume's distinct sound and progression as a producer positions him as a frontrunner in the electronic music scene. Our favorite tracks are "Helix," "Never Be Like You," "When Everything Was New," "Innocence," and "You Know."
Skin is out now and available to purchase on Amazon. You can also stream it for free above, courtesy of Spotify.
In support of the album, Flume has already announced the dates for his world tour, which include stops in the U.S., New Zealand, Canada, France, Australia, and more. For his latest music, news, and tour dates, check out his Zumic artist page.