Flume’s ephemeral pulsing is something I imagine one might hear perusing the racks at American Apparel, but don’t let that somewhat abrasive association put you off. This young beatmaker from down under has serious chops; and please, don’t buy that T-shirt.
Flume, whose given name is Harley Streten, is by all reports an unassuming 22 year-old, but his self-titled first album has caused quite the reverberation— reverb being in this case, an apt modifier.
His beats are emotive and lilting and laced with that classic J Dilla warp and wooze. There is a distinct hip-hopness to Flume’s sound, but it’s also infectiously poppy and danceable. I’d go so far as to say that some of these tracks could play on pop radio, which in nearly every case is the most damning statement a critic can make.
It’s always been a preoccupation of mine, this pinning down what makes a tune more than the sum of its parts – like why is Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn so good? I don’t know, it seems to me like it should suck. But it doesn’t; it sings minory, sad and emotional right down my spine. I can’t tell you what it is, though. In Spanish they call it duende — having soul, a heightened emotional resonance, an authenticity of expression.
For real, though, Flume’s got that unquantifiable something that makes his music resonate with a listener on an emotional level. I’m so looking forward to seeing him spin at Osheaga. You should most definitely let this album play through and tell me it don’t pull you in.
Flume performs at 7 p.m. at the Piknic Électronik stage on August 1. Osheaga runs from August 1 to August 3 at Parc Jean-Drapeau.