Porter Robinson’s debut album Worlds is about to drop, and as a treat there’s an exclusive stream of the full album on NPR. Robinson, on the path for a meteorological rise to EDM stardom, has already headlined several EDM festivals and led international tours, but Worlds marks his very first, heavily anticipated studio album. Robinson once captured a fan base enamored with his ‘amphetamine-laced electro sets’ but has since walked away from traditional expectations of the EDM genre and forged a more creative path that aims to dispel any attempts at categorization. Robinson adopts a progressive approach to electronic music, and almost shies away from the EDM genre, explaining “I don’t want my music to be called ‘post-EDM’ I just want it to exist.”
Earlier this year, Porter described Worlds to Billboard, saying “I wanted to do something that felt beautiful and emotional and that felt nostalgic…I think it sort of employs the pretty vibe of the last couple songs I put out, like ‘Language’ and ‘Easy,’ but I wanted a vintage sound. Something that was a little more lo-fi-inspired. It has a bunch of weird tempos that dance people aren’t really doing. There’s no DJ-friendly intro and outro. It’s meant to be listening music. It’s not a party record at all.”
Worlds is most definitely not a party record, and it offers an unexpected, but welcome shift towards more abstract and introspective EDM. Most of the album boils over with a playful mixture of glitching melodies, computerized Japanese vocals, and production that builds up into nostalgic, soaring vocals and video-game sound effects on stand-out tracks like “Flicker”.
Robinson’s debut album is a blinding illustration of how electronic music can be distinctive and intricate enough to evoke emotion. Listen to the song “Fellow Feeling” and tell me the first 2-3 minutes don’t belong on a film score. Given that electronic music has a reputation as a completely over-saturated category, Robinson’s album offers a stark contrast to the vast sea of repetitive, cookie-cutter electronica music out there. It’s individualistic, theatrical, and careens between sci-fi-esque instrumentals and more pop-orientated anthems with video game sound effects, like “Divinity” (feat Amy Milan). Porter’s dedication to pushing boundaries impresses, especially considering he’s only 22 years old.
The Worlds album will hit stores on August 12, and Robinson will dive into an extensive North American Tour, supported by Astralwerks label-mates and electro-funk masters Lemaitre, about two weeks later. He’ll begin in Vancouver, crisscrossing the U.S. and Canada until October, and then hop over the Atlantic to tour Europe.