Intel Powered Tablets + Flume = Intelligent Sounds

By Kristin Houser, iQ Contributor @LAMusicBlog September 27, 2013

Dust. Dirt. Smoke. Sweat. The grimy outdoor setting of Los Angeles’ FYF Fest starkly contrasted the synthetic sounds produced during Australian beatmaker Flume’s set, but embracing contradiction is nothing new for this electronic wunderkind.

Harley “Flume” Streten has been riding a wave of critical acclaim ever since the release of his self-titled debut full-length in his native country last November, mere days after the artist celebrated his 21st birthday. That album introduced the electronic world to Flume’s signature style, one that straddles the lines between experimental and accessible, minimalistic and lush, electronic and organic.

While his tracks boast a variety of influences, they feature an emphasis on melodies and heavy basslines, the kinds that get crowds dancing even after a long day under the Southern California sun.

The young Aussie took to the stage for FYF just as the last bits of shade, which had been so highly coveted earlier in the day, began to fade in the twilight. Under the expansive Samantha’s Tent, festival-goers packed in tightly to hear Flume drop tracks from that acclaimed full-length as well as remixes of songs by popular EDM artists Major Lazer (“Get Free”) and Disclosure (“You and Me”).

But it wasn’t just the sound that captivated this audience. Flume’s set was a full sensory experience.

A cluster of disco balls of various sizes hung from the makeshift rafters, reflecting a rainbow’s worth of colored lights, and the flat screen at the center of the stage displayed clips featuring everything from stark black-and-white images to brightly colored neon cityscapes to intense geometric patterns.

However, despite everything that was going on visually, I still had trouble taking my eyes off Flume’s hypnotic Infinity Prism.

Featured in the official music video for “More Than You Thought,” the Infinity Prism is a custom-built optical illusion of sorts, an infinity mirror equipped with LEDs that interact with the music in real time.

No doubt it was Flume’s emphasis on innovative, creative technology in both his music and visuals that lead to his recent collaboration with Intel, ‘Intelligent Sounds.’

In a sleek new video campaign to showcase what is possible with Intel powered technology inside tablets, a music-loving robot “performs” a brand new Flume track, written especially for this collaboration by triggering each element of the song using over 60 Intel powered tablets throughout the music video.

Rather than simply pressing play and having the various parts of the song performed electronically, however, each trigger is connected to either a physical “instrument,” be it a snare drum, a tin can, a butane lighter or a tablet powered instrument. Imagine if Rube Goldberg produced electronic dance music; this is what his live performances would look like.

As with Flume’s set at FYF Fest and his music itself, the final outcome of the campaign video is a cool blend of seemingly disparate elements, in this case the technological and the mechanical, the future and the past.

After Flume dropped his last track, festivalgoers poured out of Samantha’s Tent, many looking startled to find that his set had straddled one more line, that between day and night.

With a chill in the previously stuffy air and the illuminated Los Angeles skyline now on the horizon, we had Flume to thank for helping us all shake off the dust of the day and get ready for the evening of live music that was still to come.

As the Co-Founder and Lead Writer/Editor for LA Music Blog, a Los Angeles-based music news and review website, Kristin Houser’s life revolves around music and technology. She has been an avid fan of music ever since discovering her parents’ vinyl collection while still in elementary school, and she is fascinated by all the ways technology allows her to discover new music and share it with the world. She currently manages a staff of fifteen writers and contributors at LA Music Blog, and when she isn’t scouring the internet for her latest musical obsession, Kristin frequents Los Angeles’ many music venues where she can usually be found hovering near the front of house engineer while jotting down set lists in her smart phone. She is very pleased to share her latest music obsessions and all the ways technology allows her to discover and enjoy music with iQ by Intel’s audience.