Aussie EDM artist laces big festival beats with hip-hop cameos and crossover dreams
On his self-titled 2012 debut, Australian producer Harley Streten (a.k.a. Flume) came off as an EDM artist with a pop side, mixing shades of R&B into his relaxed tracks. His follow-up is more aggressive (check the bass-driven banger “Wall Fuck”). Layered, abrasive electronics set a grimy backdrop for MC guest spots by Vince Staples and Raekwon, and even when Flume angles for the radio, with female vocals from breathy Canadian Kai and dirty-talking Swede Tove Lo, his beats slam and skitter. But for all its harsh textures, Skin is also richly melodic. On the opener, “Helix,” a flutelike overture yields to a synth ripple that’s punctured by a pummeling beat and rumbling squelches. That restless versatility is all over the LP, generating the emotional crests and sensory overload a festival crowd demands, but with a nuance that’ll make it work even if you aren’t shirtless in the desert.