Flume - Flume

Australian producer Harley Streten’s debut effort is both accessible and rinsed in invention.

Label: Transgressive

Rating: 8

What was once a side-project, a fruitful hobby, has developed into something that’s getting harder and harder to control. Flume’s taken off. Harley Streten, a self-trained saxophonist (not that such a skill comes in handy for this record), made dance music in his teens and used Flume as a fulfilling, occasional means of escape. The fidgety mind of a hard-working producer needed respite in making something strong and immediate.

One release on influential label Future Classic later, and the ‘Sleepless’ track, which had been sitting on Harley’s hard-drive for some time prior to its release, gave way to an opportunity, which led to countless other opportunities, some of which are still yet to arrive. The debut Flume album’s struck Gold in Harley’s home country of Australia, littering the Triple J radio playlists with track after track of eclectic, universal party music. Gaining its release in the UK on Transgressive, it’s hard to envisage the album failing to have a similar effect on the average Saturday night playlist over here.

Flume’s debut is a party record through and through. The kind of party where virtually anyone’s invited, where all styles and moods are incorporated, all prejudices cast aside. The album draws in influence from all corners, catering to hip-hop, dubstep and synth-pop crowds in equal measure. Lead track ‘Sleepless’ might have won the hearts of chillwave addicts across the board back in 2011, but in this debut full-length Harley expands his palette, finding life and energy in virtually every genre going.

It’s Flume’s anti-snobbery, all-encompassing aesthetic that makes the album so enjoyable. You’ve got Chet Faker - best known for a cover of Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’ - adding his dynamic, crooning vocals to ‘Left Alone’. Then there’s Queens rapper T.Shirt making grand statements in ‘On Top’. Future soul-pop sensation George Maple makes a vital contribution in the self-penned ‘Bring You Down’ and elsewhere, Streten crafts obscure samples into breathtaking, energised dance efforts.

With dynamism and an ignorance of any visible boundaries, Flume’s produced one of the defining soundtracks of this coming summer. This debut album scraps coherence and convention and prioritises the more vital values of music; making songs that are both accessible and rinsed in invention. Few records come as all-embracing as this, and that’s where Flume’s debut effort excels.