At just 25 years old Harley Edward Streten has certainly achieved a lot. After deciding on an alter-ego named after his favourite Bon Iver record, Flume’s self-titled debut album whipped up huge interest within the EDM community following it’s release in 2012. A relatively small fish in one of the fastest growing ponds in music, Flume has been enjoying fame back home for some time but thanks to his latest work, his music has rapidly travelled from the shores of his habitual Manly, Australia, to all corners of the globe.
Having last graced London with his presence four years ago, news of his long-awaited return to the capital resulted in a sold out show at North London institute, Alexandra Palace. Released earlier this year, Skin, Flume’s latest creation, has elevated his status from quirky novice to chart-topping pioneer. While there is a notably more commercial, R&B theme evident in this album, his synth-soaked signature style is still very much at play throughout.
It would have come as no surprise to fans of Skin to hear the familiar sound of eerie windpipes as Flume kicked off proceedings with the album’s opening track, Helix. Anyone who is familiar with the latest record will confess Skin’s first track, with it’s carefully curated crescendo, creates a palpable suspense, serving as the perfect show opener; and what a blinder of an opener it was. The articulately orchestrated escalation of the 3 minute track created a climax so tantalising Flume had the entire venue eating out of his hands.
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And that is exactly how they stayed. The Australian hit maker’s winning formula of packaging haunting vocals and nostalgia-inducing beats has the power of transporting you in time, while simultaneously exploring big, bold sounds of the future. His distinct ability to create chart topping tunes while experimenting with a smorgasbord of otherworldly, outside-the-box sounds, means he always seems to be one step ahead.
Recent singles Never Be Like You and Smoke & Retribution brought the house down, the giant floor fillers met with great excitement. While recruiting the vocal stylings of AlunaGeorge, Beck and Little Dragon, display Flume’s desire to explore more commercially accessible music, he has by no means lost his distinct identity. When it was time to drop Say It, his massively catchy tune featuring Swedish It-Girl Tove Lo, a real sense of shared joy spread like wildfire, as the whole crowd sang the chorus in unison.
The venue’s pyrotechnics were put the use during Wall Fuck and Free, the well timed light show capturing the seizure-inducing electricity of the album’s liveliest two tracks. Surrounded by a simple but effective stage set up of luminescent cuboids and a backdrop of trippy digital artwork, Flume commandeered Alexandra Palace’s majestic stage with total finesse. A truly innovative and hugely exciting live act who is only going to get better with time, this boy wonder from down under deserves global attention.