The 22-year-old producer from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Porter Robinson unanimously wowed the blogosphere this week with his debut album Worlds, from the Astralwerks label. Choosing to release the free stream on NPR before the actual debut, fans from around the world are ecstatic for the LP, which Porter touted “would not be the next big EDM album.”
Emotional, deep, beautiful – this definitely isn’t your run-of-the-mill top 40 dance album, but that’s why it’s so very worth your time. Containing twelve tracks, each with the gravity that his hit Language brought, Porter proves his prowess at making you feel real feelings and holds your attention for well over an hour.
With an ear for detail at such a young age (he got into music at the age of 12), it’s no surprise that Robinson is currently out-performing most of his peers in a side-by-side comparison of the depth and breadth of melody construction and track composition. With a trademark sound and a completely original LP under his belt, I’m stoked to see what this will mean for a live, solo performance from the production powerhouse. He’s just one excellent visual production show away from being one of the most moving artists touring today.
But I digress. Going back to Worlds, this is one of those albums that you shouldn’t listen to until you have time to click start on the first song and listen completely uninterrupted right until the end. Worlds will immerse you in a serene calm that you won’t want to walk away from anytime soon.
Porter decides to start the journey with Divinity, featuring Amy Millan on vocals. A glitchy, synth-heavy track that perfectly sets the futuristic robot tone for the rest of the songs to come, it’s an excellent way to welcome you into his world. The second single release and next song on the album is Sad Machine, a delightfully upbeat melody with futuristic vocals that carry you forward on this virtual dream-like journey.
Sea Of Voices, the first single and first peak that fans had into the experimental direction that Porter teased he would be heading in, is still as powerful as the first time I heard it. Robinson has a genius way of making you feel feelings, and this particular song will always pull at my heart strings, no matter how many times I listen to it.
From there, Porter continues his new-wave, futuristic vibe through out all of the tracks, right up until Fellow Feelings, which is my favorite song on the LP. He begins with an orchestral interlude reminiscent of a lucid dream that takes you down the path of complete tranquillity, until a beautiful feminine voice tells you, “Now please… hear what I hear,” followed by a hard, dark break down that sets up a beautiful counterpoint between the soft melody you’ve come to expect and the future dynamic he is trying to create. It’s a really masterful switch that helps drive his emotional point home.
I’ll stop there, because honestly, I find it difficult to dissect this work of art in pieces. The album is really not meant to be talked about in piecemeal fashion. Instead, it is an hour long piece of audio art installation that must be experienced from beginning to end if you want to hear the complete story that Porter wants to tell you.
Worlds may signal a new artistic direction for the young producer, but it’s an absolute gem and I highly recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in Porter Robinson’s music.
If a robot could play for you the soundtrack to one of his most beautiful dreams, it might sound a lot like Porter Robinson's Worlds.