I’ll admit that Porter Robinson is an artist that I haven’t been keeping tabs on, and that is an error on my part. I absolutely loved his track “Language” in college. Follow the link for your listening pleasure.
Anyway, I am currently in the process of righting my wrong by discovering his new album. I recommend you give it a try as well. I’m going to steal the iTunes analysis because I couldn’t agree more. iTunes wrote that this album gives “nods” to Washed Out and M83, but I think its more than that. Its like Robinson spliced those groups’ DNA into his own to produce this sound.
I wanted to share one of my favorite tracks from the album so far. It is called “Divinity”. The original version of this track is a slice of chilled out electro euphoria. It makes me feel like I’m in a beautiful computer world.
Now, here is a great remix. I actually like this one better because some of the glitchy sounding parts of the original have been toned down or edited out. I prefer that. The original is a good song in its own right, but this remix elevates it to great. This is the version I will be buying. Thank goodness for remixes. As I’ve written before, the flexibility of EDM is one of its strengths.
The 4 years that I was in college was a time in which the identity of EDM changed pretty drastically. This track, which came in the middle of that, is like a snapshot of the evolving EDM scene. It embodies many sub-genres all at once and in discrete packets to produce an interesting and memorable track. I think this track is like a musical Lucy. Lucy was the missing link in the evolutionary chain between early hominids and the Homo genus, just as this song is an evolutionary link between two time periods of EDM music.
The track starts off simple enough. A basic beat reminiscent of many EDM songs leads us into a dreamy progressive stretch starting at 0:30. Then at 1:30 it takes a glitchy turn, of which I am not a fan. However, I try and keep in mind the context of this song. Skrillex was super popular, and so was the glitchy sounding dub step in general. Even deadmau5 was getting in on the dubstep game (see below for a dub step track that I actually like), and Porter Robinson was no exception.
Incorporating that glitchy stretch out of nowhere in this song is a bit like musical whiplash, but I will let is fly because what comes next makes up for it. 2:00 is when this song really comes into its own! Quite possibly my favorite few seconds of an EDM song starts at 2:11. I have written about syncopation and how I like gaps, pauses, and silence and this little effect that Porter Robinson included is on the top of my my “favorite snippets” list.
At 3:00 we get an excellent stretch from a vocalist who leads us into a buildup and another glitchy sounding section. Finally, the song culminates at 4:30 with a repeat of the previous themes.
This song has it all. Porter Robinson included some traditional sounding trance/progressive stretches, threw in some glitchy segments, and appealed to many with the inclusion of an awesome sounding female vocalist. This is truly a representative sample from a time when the identity of mainstream EDM was in flux.