I love the live session Chet Faker did, though his album work doesn't do much for me. Neither does the Flume collab. Now I'm going to try and put into works what mostly exists as unspoken concepts in my brain, so sorry if gets a little pretentious. You'll just have to indulge me as I jettison some words.
I was using soul in a more abstract way, rather than 'soulful', per-se. You can have a cool track that works from an objective standpoint, like all the tracks in this post, but for music to have soul it has to actually sound like there's a human inside of it. The human is the soul of the music.
Humans are layered, detailed, multifaceted, equal parts predictable and surprising, skilful, restrained... enter adjectives here. If this human nature isn't embodied in the music, it quickly becomes boring to me. So I listen to these tracks and I here drums, bass, vocals, ect, all your standard musical components. They're all put together well and sound nice, undeniably.
But it's like, I hear each new section for 5 seconds and that's it. There's nothing new for me to hear. No little details or augmentations of the established elements. No interesting or exciting fills at the ends of phrases The composition does so little in comparison to what can be done with electronic music that it just feels devoid of that 'something' to me.
And of course, there's such a thing as a restraint. You can't just have things going crazy all the time because that would be confusing. But one can only be restrained if they're also unrestrained. If everything is restrained nothing is.
An example of this could be:
This starts out as simple as you like. But even in the first 45 seconds there's arguably more for me to listen to in the details, layers, and arrangement than in entirely of those other tracks. So I can listen to the track as whole but also let my ear latch on to the subtleties and decorations which gives me a new perspective of the track. It drags me inside of it. I'm not just listening to it, I'm in it. Even the main elements don't just stay as they are. They evolve, mutate, and surprise, even if only in small ways. But at the same time, it's all cohesive. This is the soul, the human.
Now there's definitely an argument that electronic music doesn't need all that. That a great track can just be the perfectly crafted groove looping over and over. It can be. In fact, one could claim that is whole foundation or perhaps even pinnacle of dance music. But that is an art in itself. The art of the loop. Pieces that actually pull this off and successfully sustain themselves for 5+ minutes are rare. There's few artists who can even achieve consistently. In Drum & Bass, these types of pieces are referred to as 'rollers.'
One guy in D&B has basically made a career out of making these and is one of undisputed masters. This is Calibre.
Your mileage will vary, but seemingly very little happens in this tune but I can easily listen and enjoy it for it's full 6 minutes. I can't tell you exactly why, I haven't figured it out. Outside of just finding that perfect groove with the way things bounce off and meld with each other, it's maybe to do with the finesse of expectation and release. But still, this in some ways the culmination of elements described in previous paragraphs that, instead of spanning the whole composition, are focused into one lovely looping phrase.
And perhaps Flume's work achieves this for you. Which is great. Like I said, I don't mean to negate him, his music, or your choice of his music. Whatever is enjoyable. But that's just what I was getting at with my initial comments.
To finish, some more examples of music I think embodies these concepts:
I'm too tired to think of any more.