September 16, 2022 | CULTURE | By Jan Alfaro | Photo from the Catalyst Archives
Let’s take a step back to last spring. It’s February and I sign up to get the presale code for Flume at Red Rocks on Sept. 6, the upcoming fall. I’m randomly in Oregon for some geology research when the presale starts, but I’m too late. That’s okay, there’s a second presale. Now I’m back on campus and the presale is right after class, so I make sure I have a reliable internet connection and I’m thinking that hopping on a minute before the official drop is more than enough.
I’m too late… again. Now, I’m mad.
I get waitlisted but I’ve concluded that I’ll probably have to buy resale tickets. Fast forward to the beginning of June. I was checking the “other” tab in my CC email and low and behold, I had a two-day-old email saying that I got off the waitlist. I drop everything and click the link hoping I still have access and was able to snag tickets.
Long story short, I love Flume (and get into AXS presales earlier than one minute, even minutes, before… maybe even 15).
Pretty much present day, it’s Sept. 6 and I. Am. Seeing. Flume.
This has been a bucket list item of mine since the beginning of high school, so this is a big deal for both current and 15-year-old me. Thanks to last year’s Spotify wrapped, I also found out I was in the top 0.5% of his listeners, so that doesn’t really help my ego.
Anyways, I’m going with my incredible friend Sarah, and we’re blasting his discography the entire car ride there, as one should do before every concert. I look up the setlist and although some of my favorites are missing, it’s fantastic.
Now, as much as I want to write about the concert experience, I’ll just summarize it in a couple of words because I want to talk a little bit more about Flume himself. So, in two words: absolutely bonkers.
Flume, the project of mastermind and A-list DJ Harley Edward Streten, was born Nov. 5, 1991, in Sydney, Australia. Releasing his first self-titled album in 2012, Flume introduced his style of chopped and sped-up vocals. The album features “Holdin On”, the prototype for the genre “future bass”, which Flume is known for pioneering and popularizing. Additional select tracks include “Left Alone”, “Insane”, “Ezra”, and my favorite, “On Top”.
2013 was a big year for Flume as he released the EP “Lockjaw” with Chet Faker (which includes tracks “Drop The Game” and “This Song Is Not About A Girl”), and a remix of Disclosure’s “You & Me”, which became future bass’ first popular hit.
Between this and his next album, “Skin”, there were a few singles released – “Some Minds”, “HyperParadise [Flume Remix]”, and one of my all-time favorite Flume projects “Tennis Court [Flume Remix]”. His 2016 “Skin” became the commercial Flume sound as the record includes “Never Be Like You (feat. Kai)” (his biggest hit with 639,661,277 streams on Spotify) and “Say It (feat. Tove Lo)”. Two additional Eps were released, “Skin Companion I and II”, with similar glitchy, pop sounds.
The 2019 mixtape “Hi This Is Flume”was a reset button for Streten’s Flume. I can’t think of a great way to describe this experimental album other than saying it’s sinister and filled with dirty synth usage and melodic manipulations.
Slowthai, JPEGMAFIA and SOPHIE are all featured artists on the album and a few personal favorites are “Jewel”, “MUD”, “Is It Cold In The Water”, and “Spring”.
His current tour is for his most recent work, “Palaces”, which was released just this past May. Sounding hypnotic with sample-heavy instrumentals and Animal Planet-esque visuals accompanying the album, I have to say Flume’s still in the game. Collaborating with Oklou, KUČKA, and Caroline Polachek just to name a few, Streten has created an album that takes its listeners on a trip through the jungle.
I can’t say I know too many die-hard Flume fans, so I hope this week’s earjam and associated playlist give a few more people some good reasons to love Flume as much as I do. Cheers.
Flume inspired playlist link: