Release Date: Feb 19, 2013
Record label: Mom & Pop Music
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Club/Dance
Sydney-based electronica wunderkind Harley Streten, A.K.A. Flume, has already caused quite the rumble in his native Australia, with Triple J championing the young producer. Now the time has come to cement his name in this hemisphere, with his debut. Streten strafes between many a genre across the record, making his unique mark with ease, via help from noteworthy figures like Chet Faker and Moon Holiday.
There is always much to be said about the music that makes up our formative years, and the effects it has on the rest of our lives. There's the sense of bragging rights that manifests itself when someone was around for especially important musical events: from those who saw the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, to catching the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video during one of its first spins on MTV. Harley Streten, the 21-year-old Australian who produces under the name Flume, grew up in a very fertile time for the sounds he explores, having started constructing beats at the age of 13.
In an interview with Dazed Digital last year, Australian beatmaker Flume said, "Music essentially boils down to two main elements, rhythm and melody. I feel tones and textures often get overlooked, so I like to take my time finding the right sounds." The approach is working for the unassuming 21-year-old musician, otherwise known as Harley Streten: In November, his self-titled debut album and its single "Sleepless" beat One Direction for the number one position on Australia's charts. Streten celebrated by posting screenshots of the ensuing Twitter outrage.
Australian producer Flume, at just 21 years old, saw an astronomical rise in 2012, even landing a slot opening for The xx. Rooted in Sydney, the beatmaker just dropped his self-titled debut. Right from the beginning, the glitchy foot-stomper “Sintra” nearly emits electricity from the speakers. The experimentation of the Brainfeeder crew twinkles on “Star Eyes,” the glitchiness of Baths on “Space Cadet.” You’d think the pulsating hip-hop featured on “On Top”‘ would have J Dilla’s nod of approval, and the implementation of sultry female singers like Jezzabell Doran on single “Sleepless” attempt to bring the album to the next level.
In honour of the home country and the rise to stardom and the exceptional debut record of Australia’s Flume, I am going to give you this review from the bottom up. So I’ll tell you without hesitation that it’s a great record overall and then proceed to explain why I think that is. It seems only fitting since that’s exactly how this record is going to break.
The debut album from Australian electronic musician/producer Flume, aka Harley Streten, Flume is an atmospheric, experimental mix of electronic dance-oriented sounds that touches upon aspects of R&B, indie rock, and pop. Working with a bevy of artists including George Maple, Moon Holiday, Jezzabell Doran, Chet Faker, and New York rapper T-Shirt, Flume crafts tracks that are more like soundscapes than actual songs. More often than not, bits of melodies and lyrics pop up here and there, but tracks never quite gel into a hook in any traditional sense (although a few, like "Bring You Down," have a Dido-like trip-hop/dubstep quality).
Sydney’s Harley Streten is the latest producer to do a ‘Calvin’, making an album and punting it in the direction of the charts. ‘Flume’ bulges with upbeat songs with chopped vocals that you can’t sing along to without sounding like a broken sex-robot (‘Stay Close’, ‘Sintra’). He samples the classics, reaching back to Sam Cooke’s ‘I Can’t Turn You Loose’ on ‘Holdin On’, while blogpop crooner Chet Faker’s turn on ‘Left Alone’ offers a comedown to all the dancing.
Young Harley Streten, the 21-year-old Sydneysider behind the nom-de-disque Flume, is certainly not one to waste time. Having achieved virtual overnight success, the producer and DJ has also had opening slots for both the xx and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, and secured a place on mainstream radio playlists around the world with his cracking initial release, ‘Sleepless’. Very much making hay whilst the sun shines, he’s jumped at the chance and quickly put out his debut album, Flume.
Sydney-native Harley Streton opened a cereal box and a CD-ROM fell out. It was a basic “Make Your Own Music” production program, ala Audacity. Intrigued, the 13-year-old Streton installed it onto his computer and played around with pre-loaded drum kits and synths, eventually adding his own plug-ins and sample packs. Streton became fascinated with synthetic instruments and graduated from his PC to vintage analogue equipment.
At the tender age of 21, Australian dance music sensation Flume is already catching a lot of attention. The up-and-comer, born Harley Streten, recently signed to Mom And Pop and now finds himself in the tricky position of transitioning from the single-hungry world of SoundCloud and YouTube to the more leisurely paced and far less forgiving universe of the album. While his self-titled debut has already been released in Flume’s native country, where it climbed to the No.
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.
Proves that potential mass appeal need not come at the expense of creative flair. Ian Roullier 2013 At a time when many of dance music’s big guns seem happy to overlook the past 20 years of the genre’s progression in a bid to pander to the hugely lucrative global EDM market, Flume’s emergence has been a somewhat welcome breath of creative fresh air. Not for Harley Streten the trance-lite builds and drops.