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Porter Robinson “Worlds” – Album Review

Astralwerks (2014)

Arriving on the EDM scene almost at the exact point it exploded in America, 22-year-old North Carolina producer Porter Robinson became something of a poster boy for the brash-is-best generation. However, having grown tired of gigantic bass drops and hedonistic beats, his debut album, Worlds, sees him bravely abandoning the sound that launched him to fame in favour of hopping across a whole host of sub-genres while simultaneously showcasing his passion for Japanese culture.

The rowdy fratboys Robinson previously used to whip up into a frenzy may therefore feel slightly bewildered by the likes of “Flicker,” which sounds like the theme tune to a children’s manga animation as recorded by Discovery-era Daft Punk, and “Sad Machine,” a melancholic blend of washed-out synths, oriental harps and chillwave beats which evokes the deceptively melancholic synth-pop of Passion Pit.

But as with his rise from his bedroom to the superclub, Porter Robinson’s deliberate attempt to distance himself from the party crowd couldn’t have been timed any better. Indeed, with even one of its leading exponents, regular motormouth Deadmau5, recently declaring that it’s only a matter of time before the EDM bubble bursts, the widescreen cinematic instrumental “Sea Of Voices,” the woozy chillwave of “Natural Light” and the space-age electro pop of “Hear The Bells” all indicate that Robinson has the ability to survive once it does.

Worlds does feature a couple of concessions to Robinson’s past, namely the swirling 8-bit electronica of closer “Goodbye To A World,” and the chaotic bleeps and lurching basslines of “Fellow Feeling,” both of which could have sat comfortably on the debut EP he released through Skrillex’s OWSLA label.

However, the album is undoubtedly stronger when Porter Robinson fully commits to his virtual fantasy world of anime, video games and imaginary sci-fi soundtracks. Worlds might not be an entirely seamless reinvention, but it’s an intriguing and admirable one which proves that dance music’s golden child is definitely growing up.

3.5 / 5 stars     

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About the Author


Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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Posted in: Album Reviews, Electronic Music, Featured


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