SKIN COMPANION EP II by Flume
Favorite Tracks: “Enough (featuring Pusha T),” “Weekend (featuring Moses Sumney),” “Fantastic (featuring Dave Bayley of Glass Animals)”
Flume is a singular, influential talent in the realm of electronic music at this moment. The 25 year-old Australian artist, known personally as Harley Streten, has managed to both comfortably integrate himself into the mainstream scene and simultaneously pump out experimental tunes that meld the wonky subgenre into some of the most fresh and appealing sounds electronic music has heard in years. Nowhere was this unique duality more present in the producer’s discography than on his previous release, SKIN COMPANION EP I, an offshoot work of his Grammy-winning sophomore album, SKIN. The EP flexed some of Flume’s most left-field, experimental tunes to date, while still retaining SKIN’s trademark lush production and endearing soundscapes. Hot off the heels of that EP, Flume has released his final SKIN-related work, SKIN COMPANION EP II. The four song collection once again proves Flume’s willingness for forward-thinking momentum and a desire to innovate in surprising, dazzling fashion.
This EP, darker in tone than the previous companion release, hits the ground running with the nocturnal, grimy “Enough,” featuring rapper Pusha T on vocals. Push raps in appropriately braggadocious fashion against eerie, blown-out synths, accented by alien vocal manipulation. The track is perhaps the most menacing Flume song anyone has ever heard, with wonky production reminiscent of Arca looming over Pusha T’s lyrics like a haunted house. Admittedly, Push could have gone harder on his vocal delivery, but overall the track is a perfect mood-setter for the rest of the EP; sinister and blood-pumping.
“Enough” transitions directly into “Weekend,” featuring R&B crooner Moses Sumney. The opening instrumental carries the established ghostly tone with off-kilter, Burial-esque synths and Flume’s trademark warble effect emitting faintly. The rhythm is low-key, but keeps the beat clipping at a quick enough pace that it remains engaging. When Sumney’s mournful, lovesick vocals begin, the backing synths transition into slight, robotic cries, effectively contrasting against the track’s melancholy tone.
Picking up the shattered remains of the stellar first half, the EP pivots into sunnier territory with the instrumental “Depth Charge.” The track is a classic Flume banger, brimming with warping, expanding synth explosions and a feverishly upbeat demeanor. The song is sure to be a sleeper hit at future Flume concerts thanks to its endearingly steady build-up and satisfying drops.
The EP closes with its most infectious jam, “Fantastic,” featuring Dave Bayley, vocalist of art pop band Glass Animals. Bayley’s silky smooth vocals glide effortlessly across Flume’s slinking, foggy synths and crisp beats. It’s a gorgeous cut off of the EP and arguably the most radio-friendly of the four tracks, while still finding room to display surprising, thought-provoking sonics at the forefront.
SKIN COMPANION EP II is one of Flume’s greatest triumphs as a producer to date. His continued masterful blending of the best of the mainstream with the stunning risk-taking of the underground breeds enormous returns. The only true noticeable downside of the EP is the abrupt endings of the songs. Thankfully, that detail can be easily overlooked when stacked up against the tracks’ plentiful merits. In a music industry that churns out one tired EDM trope after another, we can only hope we see more subtle maestros of innovation like Flume burst to the forefront.