Discovering Worlds, the new live experience from Porter Robinson
Porter Robinson‘s experiences as a teenager and young adult are pretty unique. At just 18 years old, one of Porter’s first singles, “Say My Name,” reached Beatport’s #1 spot, quickly followed by his follow-up, “I’m On Fire.” After the resulting explosion onto the electronic scene back in 2010, Porter kept the momentum going, playing festivals all around the world, including multiple Ultra and Electric Daisy iterations. His 2012 Language Tour featuring Mat Zo and The M Machine was a massive success, following the release of his EP Spitfire, which contained the tour’s titular track alongside some other iconic electro-house anthems such as “The Seconds,” “Vandalism,” and “Unison.”
After the frenzy that was the year 2012, the Crown Prince of Dirty Drops decided to take a break that ended up lasting almost two years. When asked about it in a 2014 interview with Clash Magazine, Robinson observed that “the most common discussion about dance music right now, even amongst dance fans, is about how bad it’s gotten, and how completely homogenized the sound has become.” He discusses how, owing to the nature of his early work as “banger-y, bass line electro-stuff”, he was forced into playing the role of the genre-du-jour electro-house DJ, following the strict genre-based guidelines and formulas laid out for his compositions and dutifully mixing sets that served only to make a crowd jump up and down. That is, until he released “Language.”
Porter was nervous upon releasing “Language”; it was a deviation from the style he had previously been known for. Whereas he had typically produced in a generic build-to-climax-to-electrobass-drop template, “Language” instead focused on evoking emotion and conveying beauty. He recalls in an interview with Radio.com “It became my biggest song. That, to me, was very vindicating. It was like, maybe I’m just way better at writing music that’s sincere.” Thus began Porter’s gradual departure from commercial EDM, where he “eschewed” the notion that he was supposed to be “some DJ” and that electronic music is only for dancing, in order to make music that he calls “personal.”
This past summer, for the first time since the 2012 beginning of his hiatus, Porter Robinson released a myriad of tracks. After releasing three teaser singles, Robinson’s debut album Worlds came out in August. The record is a blended sound-scape of beautiful melodies and deliberate beats that manages to create entirely separate atmospheres for each track, and yet tie them together in a manner that suggests such association is natural. True to his word, Robinson did indeed shun the notion of what he was “supposed” to be based on his lucky breakout, and began to focus on writing sincere, personal tracks, effectively reflected by the emotional intimacy within.
The album’s production isn’t all the former EDM poster-boy is doing differently, however. Where formerly, Porter would take the stage with his trusty Traktor S4 digital turntables and mix a set like any other DJ, the artist has opted to instead incorporate live performance in his upcoming shows, where he will be personally playing various pieces of different tracks on a complex keyboard-and-MIDI-controller setup, and will even be singing the male part in the already-fan-favorite “Sad Machine,” for which he himself recorded the vocals. Further moving away from the typical DJ’s routine, Porter has stated that he will only be playing his own original work, including tracks from his newest album in addition to “Worlds”-style remixes of his older music. Proving to be the modern renaissance man of electronica, he even collaborated in the design and animation of the visual aspect of the show. This entirely new, holistic approach to electronic music presentation is sure to result in a spectacle of a show not to be missed by anyone – whether you’re a devotee or just have a passing interest. Check out a few tracks and videos by Porter Robinson below.
Porter Robinson brings his “Worlds” Tour to the Tower Theater on Friday, October 10th, where he will be supported by Giraffage and Lindsay Lowend. The show is 18+ and doors open at 7:00 p.m, more information at the XPN Concert Calendar.