From a box of cereal to a No.1 Album...FLUME (EMP)

 

Electronica, Glitch-Hop, Wonky, Experimental, Flumestep and Trip-Hop. These are just some of the genre titles associated with Australia's electronic music producer (EMP) Flume.

 

Flume AKA Harley Edward Streten from Sydney started his career from a promotional CD on a box of Nutri Grain. In a relative short time Flume had a no.1 Album on the Australian Itunes Charts in 2012. The Album entitled “Flume” contains tracks from singles and an EP released in 2011. Flume is currently touring America at the ripe age of just 23 (Flume, n.d.).

 

 Flume Tour Dates

Flume Tour Dates

Flume’s futuristic style melds perfectly into the current trends, progressing rapidly through the music industry and signing his first deal in 2011 to a company called Future Classics. The following year he was signed by Mom and Pop music where he currently resides. When Flumes album dropped in 2012 he had beaten One Directions album out of the no.1 spot, Flume had this to say in an interview with Jason Newman from Fuse.tv “We knew it was coming out on the same day and we were just like, “Straight up, it’s not going to happen. There’s no way we’ll beat them. F-ck that. It’s impossible.” And then it hit No. 1 and it was nuts” (Newman, 2013).

I have many favorite tracks off the album “Flume” but today I would like to talk about “Sleepless feat Jezzabell Doran”.

Some of the key characteristics that stand out off the track Sleepless are

  • Lots of hi-hat swing which creates a nice rhythm.
  • Percussion claps positioned a fraction earlier than the snare,  adding to the glitchy feel of the track
  • Chopped up vocal samples used for the main melody. This is very creative and I think the main hook for the song.
  • Moody flowing keys and spacey percussion written in A min
  • Pop Style arrangement, helping to keep some formality to a very futuristic piece.(see below in timeline)
  • The background harmonies that sound like  piano keys with some added synthesis play on the off beat eighth notes, giving added rhythm and swing.
  • Lots of panned instruments, creating a wide stereo image.

 

Instrumentation

The sounds and instruments I can make out are;

  • Kick (808 / 606, style kick).
  • Snare, hi-hat, claps, shakers and cymbals.
  • Vocals (Main melody.) Alternates vocal style in last chorus.
  • Keys (Variation of a piano synth).
  • Bass (Possibly either a bass guitar or a combination of some subs and sines in a synthesiser).
  • Synthesiser for dreamy bell type noises.
  • Synthesiser for airy /wind type build up sounds.

 

Timeline Analysis

Intro (0:00.0) - (0:11.1)

This track begins with long sustained metallic like synthesizer sounds with a lot of re-verb. The main vocal/melody glitches slowly fade in from quiet to loud. Very wide stereo percussion noises play a snare like roll predominantly in the left ear (possibly snare with delay, feedback and some other creative effects).

Verse 1  (0:11.1) - (0:32.4)

The main vocal/melody lower in pitch. Wide percussive bell noises panned to the right start playing. The entire drum kits starts and the snare/clap combination comes into effect. Wind effects used for a build up, creating tension.

Chorus 1 (0:32.4) - (0:54.6)

The vocals/melody go higher in pitch. The piano/keys come in and start playing slightly to the right with a stabbing type chord style.

Bandpass filter engages across the master bus in the last bar, helping the transition into verse 2.

Verse 2  (0:54.6) - (1:16.2)

Vocals lower in pitch. breakdown Build up synth noise descends first, then ascends towards the end. No drums playing. No piano playing. Vocal Pitch slide down at the end as it leads into next section.

Chorus 2 (1:16.2) - (1:38.6)

Same as chorus one. Couldn't detect any differences

Buildup and drop  (1:38.6)

Bridge Drum beat changes to 4 to the floor with a different hi-hat rhythm No snare playing at all. Piano changes from stabs to sustained chords ducking to the kick drum. Vocal changes rhythm. (has a delay and feedback on it) Build up wind noise ascends into next section. (1:38.6)

Breakdown  (1:38.6) - (2:02.1)

Drums stop playing. Piano reverts back to stabs (right ear), then near there is a delay on the piano which starts to play out of the left ear. Wind noise ascending into next section

Chorus 3  (2:02.1) - (2:24.3)

Everything same as chorus 1 and 2 , except for vocals changing . 

Outro (2:43.7) - (3:09.3)

Vocal stops, other synth like vocal begins Reverts back to synth (high pitch vocal) Outro Fades out  to the end.

Arrangement timeline

Overall I think this track is like a building. It has a solid and almost simple foundation on the ground level. Everything on top of this is a creative, complex and musically pleasing to me.

 References

FlumeAUS. (2011, June 7). Flume, Sleepless Feat. Jezzabell Doran [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7-yAX9ijuM

Flume. (n.d.). All Dates. Retrieved from http://www.flumemusic.com/

Mom & Pop. (n.d.). Bio. Retrieved from http://www.momandpopmusic.com/artist/flume/

Newman, Jason. (2013, March 22). 'Who the F&^% Is Flume' and How Did He Beat One Direction on the Charts? Retrieved from http://www.fuse.tv/2013/03/flume-interview