Music — Porter Robinson: “Sea of Voices”

Porter R

Last night, Soundcloud crashed briefly after Porter Robinson unexpectedly released “Sea of Voices,” a track from his highly anticipated debut album Worlds. On top of that, his new track even found itself trending on Twitter during the Oscars.

Porter Robinson has been relatively inactive for almost a year, since releasing Easy, a collaboration with Mat Zo, last April. Before that, fans might remember Beatport #1 anthem “Language” (2012), the track that catapulted Porter Robinson to the top of the EDM world.

“Sea of Voices” signals a departure from Porter Robinson’s earlier work, as Porter Robinson himself has already made clear, saying this record is “not a party record at all.” Nowhere to be found are the heavy bass drops or electro-driven melodies that characterized his work up until this point. Instead, we are left with, well, something else—something much more reminiscent of M83, than say, Skrillex.

An emotional soundscape projected onto a dreamy, nostalgic atmosphere is the best way I can describe this track. The track opens with layers of synths, pads, and voices, along with some faint bells. It progresses, adding some new layers and loops, building for about 3 minutes, until finally, everything falls away to an angelic voice: “I’ll see creation come undone.” Everything then resumes, this time with enormous drums, opening up the space to a higher level of feeling. Then, once again, the waterfall of sound falls over us, leaving a lone verse before it all fades out. When the song fades out completely, we’re left with a sense of having taken just a journey somewhere, to someplace new in Porter Robinson’s musical world.

While there is no release date set for Worlds yet, we can already get a taste of the direction Porter Robinson is heading. At age 21, Porter Robinson has already achieved genre-transcending maturity, as he now seems poised to enter a bold new era of electronic music, one with less focus on dance, but more focus on beauty.

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