To get booked to play on the biggest stage at arguably the biggest (genre-agnostic) music festival is a huge accomplishment and that is exactly what Flume spent his last two Saturdays doing. That is, playing a primetime night slot at Coachella, the Indio, California festival of worldwide fame and acclaim. As a treat to all of his fans who either saw him perform or wished they saw him perform over the last two weekends, he has just released two gorgeous tracks that he debuted live this past weekend. “ESCAPE” and “Palaces” carry some of Flume’s most anticipated features on his forthcoming album (set to release on May 20th, 2022) and build the hype even further for the album’s release.
When we first saw the tracklist for Flume’s newest album we started frothing at the mouth. Not just because a new full-length Flume project was a sound for sore ears but also because the features list felt like a dream come true. So far, he’s released tracks with stunning vocal performances from MAY-A and Caroline Polachek, and with these most recent releases, we’ve got even more incredible collaborations to dig into.
Let’s take a look at “ESCAPE“, a track that combines one of the hottest new names in electronic music, QUIET BISON, and one of Flume’s favorite vocalists, Kučka. QUIET BISON is someone we have covered extensively on this blog for a number of reasons, but first and foremost because his sound design and arrangements are among the most creative in music right now. What makes this a dream-come-true collaboration is the fact that many fans have rightly identified Flume as one of QB’s major musical influences and to see these two come together on a single track means that these two generations of talent have found a home under one singular roof. “ESCAPE” features the best of Flume’s expert sound design and QUIET BISON’s otherworldly arrangement and sample selection.
No Flume track would be complete without a beautiful, emotive vocal performance and that is exactly what frequent collaborator Kučka delivers on this track. The Australian singer has done vocals on more than five of Flume’s tracks in the past and has become an immediately identifiable feature on any new Flume release. She did the vocals for “Hyperreal“, “Smoke & Retribution“, “Voices“, and the iconic Flume redo of “My Boo“. Those being some of the most famous, and for me, favorite Flume tracks it only makes sense that we would be getting a Kučka feature on Flume’s latest album.
“ESCAPE” is quintessential Flume in the best way possible. The way he blends Kučka’s vocals with experimental samples and provides context for a seamless ebb and flow of energy gives fans more than they could have hoped for. The added bonus of QUIET BISON keeps this track feeling fresher than ever and yields more to appreciate with each additional listen. An instant classic is what you should (rightfully) expect from this trio and that is exactly what has been delivered.
If I asked ten random strangers who Damon Albarn is I might get ten completely different answers and zero correct ones. But if I asked ten random strangers who the Gorillaz are, I can’t imagine a single one wouldn’t be able to sing the iconic choruses of “Feel Good Inc.” or “Clint Eastwood.” While he remains largely behind the scenes to more mainstream listeners, Damon Albarn is one of the greatest minds of the modern music generation. Seeing his name on the features list had people both excited and curious to find out what that feature on a Flume track would sound like and with the release of “Palaces” we now know the immense possibilities that these two could achieve by combining their styles. The track is a gorgeous, slower-paced track with a throat punch of emotional power arriving in the back half from the vocals of Mr. Albarn himself.
The song begins with a winding, piano-heavy section that feels melancholic and emotional. Halfway through the track, Flume brings in Albarn’s vocals with this poetic verse:
I thought that beyond the exit, there would be palaces
And so there were, composed within time, being here before
If outside is no more, the golden astroturf
The countdown to the big show, swimming in casinos
What is spectacular about this one is the way that Flume layers in each additional element as the song progresses. After about two minutes of piano and ambient build-up, he brings in the vocals and then goes on to add rhythmic snares. With the addition of each new layer, the listener is treated to a whole new sound without losing anything from earlier in the track. As the track reaches its peak, the listener is showered with all of those elements blended together in a pulsating emotional climax. All at once, Flume has created something that is emotional, deep, melancholic, and dancey, which you would have thought impossible, but because he is less of a producer and more of a wizard, Flume achieves it all with this near-perfect release.
With less than a month until the rest of the album drops, fans can rest assured that Flume is indeed back and better than ever. These two singles likely signal the end of the teasing, we now wait impatiently for the rest of the album to drop and see what other wizardry the Australian Legend has in store for us mere mortals.
Check out “ESCAPE” and “Palaces” by Flume below and let us know what you think in the comments!
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