I saw this photo earlier in the week and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Well, not thinking about it, per se. More just rolling it around in my head. Considering the meaning of it. This is one of those photos you see in the “Best Of’ year end retrospectives but for those of you unwilling to spare an extra click, I’ll describe. The shot is of John Isner, a tennis player competing in the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship. The picture was taken with Isner is in motion, his feet lifting off the ground, about to follow through on his serve. Thing is, this information is only suggested. We don’t see Isner staring across the net at his opponent. We can’t see the sweat off his brow, and there’s no way to judge his form. The only part of Isner that’s visible is his ankles and feet. The real action lies along the clay and chalk. The photographer, Eric Gay, focused on Isner’s silhouette, a crooked but surprisingly detailed visual account of movement and form. The shadow tells the story.
The abstraction, the suggestion, the shift in focus. Once the point of reference is repurposed, new stories and fresh meanings begin to emerge. A new narrative, spun from the same cloth.
Flume’s work on Hermitude’s HyperParadise hit me in much the same way as that photograph. I’ve seen tennis being played before, even played a bit in my youth. That said I’m not well versed in the sport and I have no opinion of Isner as a player. To compare: Hermitude is an Australian hip-hop/electronic production cooperative. I’ve spent a lot of time listening to hip-hop and electronic music but I’ve never heard any of their stuff before.
This is the kind of track that grabs you quick and pulls you along. Some familiar elements create a persuasive, enticing foundation. It’s lavish and skewed something new. A few of the different synth parts sound lush and full bodied. But Flume never eases back. The tempo is fluid, picking up and building at one point to a drop with little suggestion but to lasting affection. The vocals are pitched and chopped to bits. I can only pick up one line for certain.
Never had to worry, never had to worry.”
This could’ve played out in so many ways. This is the only way it could be.