[Album Review] Porter Robinson – Worlds

Since the dreamy release of ‘Sea of Voices’ on March 3rd 2014, every electronic music fan has had August 12th earmarked in their calendar for the release of something so spectacular that many coined it as ‘The game changer in EDM’. Enter ‘WORLDS’, the first full Album by Chapel Hill’s very own Porter Robinson. Having periodically released a few songs from ‘WORLDS’ earlier this year, Porter Robinson had only given a glimpse of what to expect in his new album. Yes, it is nothing short of mesmerizing and yes it is definitely a new look at Electronic Music as a whole.

Having spoken out publicly about his aversion for what EDM has become today, Porter Robinson made huge, albeit risky, claims that he was working on something that would stray away from the generic bass filled drops we hear today while still sticking to his roots of electronic music. Many believed he’d just talk the talk and not walk the walk but after 4 phenomenal releases people knew they were in for something special that would make 2014 a hallmark year for at least Porter Robinson, if not the entire Electronic Music Industry.

‘WORLDS’ opens with ‘Divinity’, which features serene vocals from Amy Millan. Differing electronic samples with a soft anime score ensures ‘Divinity’ brings a feeling of instant happiness while the melodic synth shifts blend ever so perfectly with the bass, providing the much talked about ‘beauty’ element to the tunes. Progressing into ‘Sad Machine’, which, every fan by now knows, is easily the one song showing man’s relation and love for music and music’s dependency on man to grow and evolve into something blissful. With vocals provided by Porter Robinson for the human and anime samples from the Internet for the machine’s vocals, ‘Sad Machine’ tells a story of how a human awakens a machine and their realization of how interdependent they are to each other.

Next on this colossal album is the upbeat and melodic ‘Years of War’. When Hardwell, current World’s No.1 DJ, recently spoke about how he feels Porter is introducing an Indie-Rock vibe in his tunes, this would be the one song that would agree with him. ‘Years of War’ comes with an Indie-Rock vibe mixed with laser synths (of course) and retro drumbeats. This fresh tune mixes a large range of genres and melodious vocals seamlessly into easily the most upbeat and happy-go-lucky tune of WORLDS unlike the next hit in WORLDS; ‘Flicker’. ‘Flicker’ is absolutely one of the most original and enthralling songs to come out in recent months if not years. Sticking to his love for anime vocals and sounds Porter starts ‘Flicker’ with Japanese vocals that literally translate to “I’m just trying to find what is important. It is a way to lose track of life of their own”. With thumping kicks transitioning into a tranquil bass-line ‘Flicker’ simply takes you through the most beautiful journey your ears can handle. From anime vocals, thumping kicks and a tranquil bass-line, Porter introduces an aggressive electro drop likened to Porter Robinson of old, which is simply genius. ‘Flicker’ not only maintains the beauty of the album but it is also the song that introduces the aggressive bass and electro synths that actually play an integral part in the albums story telling.

Picking up from it left off ‘WORLDS’ offers us the next aggressive (in comparison to other tunes) beat ‘Fresh Static Snow’. Low octave laser synths accompanied with funky electric guitar strums and riffs give ‘Fresh Static Snow’ the funky groove sound in this album. Add some Daft Punk-ish (that’s right) organs and synths as the background score to the vocals and you have yourself all that is ‘Fresh Static Snow’. The theme of Daft Punk (who are arguably on of the pioneers of Electronic Music and keeping it beautiful) tunes can be sensed here, peppered with signature Porter glitches and samples. Next up is ‘Polygon Dust’, providing for fantastic electronic glitches and rhythmic drumbeats. Vocals by Lamaitre are clearly a perfect fit as well!

‘Natural Light’ is perhaps one of the softest tracks in WORLDS. With an introduction of soft glitches and soothing white noise static distantly playing in the background, ‘Natural Light’ takes you by surprise when it introduces hypnotic chimes to an already rhythmic drum and kick breaks, and all this in just 2:21 minutes! Marvelous! Both the upcoming songs post ‘Natural Light’ are the smash hits ‘Lionhearted’ & ‘Sea of Voices’. ‘Lionhearted’ easily the most danceable of all tunes in this album simply sticks to the electronic side of Porters talents. Don’t get us wrong, we are more than glad Porter shone his skills that made us fall in love with him in the first place. In the same vibe as Porter’s ‘Easy’, ‘Lionhearted’ starts with soft samples and distinctive soft echo vocals, building up to one of the most melodious drops (not fist pump drops) recently heard in the Electronic sub-genre of EDM. The drop has probably the best keyboard sequence in the entire album capped with beautiful chimes and break beat bass. ‘Sea of Voices’ on the other hand is everything that Electro is not. With wind chimes playing a major part in the construction of this masterpiece, ‘Sea of Voices’ proves to be the calming influence to this album.

‘WORLDS’ finishes up by giving us 2 wonderful gems in ‘Fellow Feeling’ & ‘Goodbye to a World’. The former signifying everything that Porter has been talking about in the build up to ‘WORLDS’. ‘Fellow Feeling’ begins with so much emotion that one can immediately sense a feeling of loss/sorrow, slowly transitioning into an upbeat tempo of happiness accompanying the feeling of sorrow to put the listener at the emotional balance of the song. ‘Fellow Feeling’ is so spellbinding that Porter manages to put his message across of what the EDM scene has become today and how it is something that saddens him because of the lack of emotional beauty today. The reason this is genius is through the amalgamation of all the aggressive sounding sub-genres in todays EDM. One can distinctly hear the hard-hitting beats and screechy glitches along with Drum N Bass likened to that of Skrillex, Knife Party and even Porter Robinson of old. ‘Fellow Feeling’ communicates to the listener how EDM is now all about aggressive sounds and not melody or beauty, eventually realizing that the only way to maintain the beautiful aspect there is to music is to live together as one sentient being so people don’t forget what music truly is about, i.e., happiness! By far the best tune in WORLDS IMHO. If one song had to describe WORLDS perfectly it would be this one!

Track Listing :

  • Divinity (feat. Amy Millan)
  • Sad Machine
  • Years of War (feat. Brianne Duren & Sean Caskey)
  • Flicker
  • Fresh Static Snow
  • Polygon Dust (feat. Lamaitre)
  • Hear the Bells (feat. Imaginary Cities)
  • Natural Light
  • Lionhearted (feat. Urban Cone)
  • Sea of Voices
  • Fellow Feeling
  • Goodbye to a World

Overall ‘WORLDS’ is exactly, if not more, than what the general perception and anticipation was in the build up to August 12th. A true masterpiece and depiction of art in the form of music. ‘WORLDS’ takes you through an emotional journey like no other Album in the Electronic Music genre in recent years, if not ever. Just close your eyes and let the music take over your emotions when listening to WORLDS for the first time!

Whether this will prove to be a game changer we do not know, but one thing is certain: Porter Robinson has established him as one of the legends in Electronic Music and he will forever be remembered for his gift to music lovers around the world!

Don’t think twice about grabbing your copy now!

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