Labelmates, friends, and award-winning Australian electronic music pioneers Flume and Chet Faker have collaborated once more to create the three-song Lockjaw EP. Those familiar with either artist may know Chet Faker for his minimalist yet soulful rendition of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” and his work on a track off of Flume’s debut album. Flume is known for his knack for creating downtempo-cum-dance-cum hip-hop instrumentals, and in fact, he recently released a mixtape featuring many up and coming rappers laying vocals over his tracks. To some, it may come as no surprise that these two artists have decided to work together again, combining their unique but complementary sounds to create the perfect collaboration. Many times when two artists work together, it’s easy for the listener to distinguish which components came from what artist. With this EP, it seems that the work was split equally, blending together so organically, that all three songs would all work well if they were individual releases by either musician.
Lockjaw opens with the cavernous “Drop the Game,” featuring Faker singing over an instrumental that was undeniably Flume’s work. The expansive and masterful composition calls to mind memories of Flume’s debut album, only a bit more restrained. This song will get stuck in your head fast — soon enough you’ll find yourself humming and head-bopping along or having a moment of deep introspection. With such moody vibes, this song makes the listener feel things and really sets the tone for the next two songs on the lineup.
“What About Us” begins with a glitchy, almost UKG-sounding beat, which is tastefully juxtaposed against Chet Faker’s sultry croons. The sparse electronic instrumentation paired with piano riffs and an laid back and lounge-ready beat is easily the most minimalist song off of the EP, but do not mistake that for boring. Here, the arrangement allows Faker’s voice to truly shine, demonstrating his vocal prowess. The song also features massive synth progressions in the style of another big name in electronic music, James Blake. “What About Us” ends with a jazzy sax breakdown which, according to an interview, is played by Flume himself, proving that he’s not just someone who makes great beats.
The EP closes with “This Song Is Not About A Girl,” a track with an anxious, pulsating beat and a deep bassline. Here, Faker’s vocals are the most obscured, giving way to the emotive soundscape. This song stands out the most from the other two, a crystal clear demonstration of just how far both artists have pushed themselves to create a sound that is completely new. With a soaring climax that slows down the tempo and ends the song, the listener is left with only one thing to do: listen to the entire EP again (and again, and again, and again).
Lockjaw, in its three-song glory, is indisputably one of the strongest releases of 2013. With fifteen minutes of the most lush beats and passionate vocals to be heard recently, Flume and Chet faker continue to carve names for themselves in the electronic music scene. This EP is begging to be played on replay, perhaps on a rainy afternoon with nothing to do. With a collaboration so immaculate, one can only hope that this is merely a teaser for more work to come.
– Lotanna Obodozie