We love Beck here. I’m always delighted, and somehow perpetually surprised by his versatility. Now, he’s partnered with Flume on the closing track on his LP Skin.
The first time listeners heard the track was Wednesday on Zane Lowe’s radio show hosted by Apple Music, called Beats 1. The track comes sandwiched between short, charming interview segments with Harley (Flume) and Beck about the collaboration. Harley commends Beck’s songwriting, while Beck admires his collaborator’s ease and lack of inhibition in complicated music technologies. The combination shimmers through in “Tiny Cities”, a clean and uninhibited swell of pitch-shifted arpeggios, countermelodies, and microscopic synth stabs.
The song begins abruptly in a huge space with reverb-soaked block chords and vocals, shortly joined by tiny mechanical, quasi-linguistic voices. The harmonic progression drives strongly forward through the addition of harmonies and deepening percussion to a busy but solid chorus. The song continually spirals open in range and texture, until reaching an earth-shattering chillstep dreamscape.
The vague, segmented lyrics, twisted and running into each other, and the stuttering rhythms of the ultra-high voices are a testament to the way the song was captured. Beck hilariously describes how he “ran around the house singing a bunch of random things,” nonchalantly capturing everything on a mic straight to Harley’s laptop. Harley dissected and pieced together surprise segments into a beautiful, glittering pool with no recognizable remnents of a make-shift recording play-date.
Skin will be available in just a few hours on Spotify and iTunes, featuring some absolutely gorgeous album art.