Review: Flume’s Skin Companion EP 1

Harley Streten, aka Flume, has become a force to be reckoned with. Not only a leader in Australia but the international electronic music scene, he has continuously gone from strength to strength since his debut release. His sophomore album Skin took home an incredible eight ARIA Awards last week, and to celebrate, he’s now released a new EP, first announced a little earlier this year. The four song Skin Companion EP 1 gives us all new content, closer in style to his eponymous debut, which remains to be the fan favourite and breadwinner. Each song plays on the emotions of its listeners, and strips his production style of flash, gimmicks, and popular vocalists, and returns us to his original style with a newfound edge.

The first track on the EP, titled Trust, is an emotional journey we take with previous collaborator and Preatures frontwoman Isabella Manfredi. The two previously worked together on 2013’s The Greatest View, and have utilised their combined creative energy to create a spectacular atmospheric track that has become a favourite from the EP. In early 2016, he released a preview of some tracks that were set to appear on Skin, and this track, notably showing up around 3:20, did not make the final cut. Despite not being on the album, the missing sections of the preview may make an appearance yet. This highlight of the preview and EP give us an emotional, breathy journey through trust and missed opportunities for love.

Song two on Companion EP 1 is V, a quietly building track that starts out in a cacophony, but it’s short length leads us to a harmonic conclusion. It has a very nostalgic feel, and is much quieter and minimal in its experimentations.

The third track on the EP is Heater, which is another song that made its appearance before the Companion EP’s release. This track had been played out at many of Flume’s live sets accompanying his new live show and live set that he has used post Skin’s release. This is the most upbeat song on the album, quietly bubbling in to the drop that’s become something of a very ill-kept secret. it still surprises its listener, and all of its elements come together to build something honest and bright.

The EP concludes with track Quirk, which concludes our short musical journey. We resolve on a note of melancholy and hopefulness, in an expertly crafted and full-bodied ode to quirkiness, an expression of styles old and new. The somehow simplistic yet complex song makes the EP feel complete, gives us a conclusion but leaves us wanting more.

The gaps that Skin left behind were mostly smoothed over with this EP. While perhaps listeners shouldn’t have had to purchase 2 albums to collect aspects of Flume’s sound and capacities, this vinyl only release is actually well-crafted enough to be worth it.

Listen to the EP below: