It could be argued that the ‘drop’ is the most anticipated moment in electronic music. In EDM, there are some ‘benchmarks’ that the music itself generally tends to meet. One of the criticisms of electronic music is that it can be somewhat predictable, despite the rich palette of synths available. Porter Robinson seeks to give electronic music something of a different look on his debut album, Worlds.
Unlike so many of his colleagues, Robinson seems to give more thought to melody, shaping, and contrast. Sure, there are some of the expected ‘benchmarks’ throughout Worlds, but it is the unexpected surprises that makes Worlds a fine album. Sure, some of the material lingers on a bit longer than necessary, but the exceptional moments greatly outnumber those less exceptional.
“Divinity” opens Worlds sensationally, not solely relying on commonplace electronic cues, but also incorporating incredible musicianship, and meticulous production. The cut is truly beautiful, and Amy Miller’s vocals certainly play a solid role in the success of the cut. “Sad Machine” follows up lushly, ceding now momentum from the opener. The chord progression stands out, particularly during the bridge section. The orchestrations – within an electronic context), are stunning.
“Years of War” is briefer in duration than either “Divinity” or “Sad Machine.” While the brevity is appreciated, “Years of War” isn’t quite as high-flying. Still, there are plenty of pros. The EDM drum crescendo is in place, but definitely feels right. Lyrically, the text doesn’t seem to matter – it’s more about the vocal timbre and overall vibe.
“Flicker,” a single from Worlds is nothing short of a home run for Robinson. Soulful, yet firmly planted in the electronic vein, there is a crossover appeal by all means. The vocal sample truly drives this hit home. Robinson’s musical balance is impeccable; he knows when to maintain poise and when to aim more aggressively. Once more, the harmonic progression shines.
“Fresh Static Snow” shows Robinson’s knack for contrasting sounds and his gift of rhythm. Robinson’s musical IQ is high. “Fresh Static Snow” isn’t necessarily the crème de la crème of Worlds, but it remains consistent and enjoyable. Similarly, “Polygon Dust,” among the shorter tracks, is also ‘good,’ if it doesn’t necessarily achieve greatness contextually. “Polygon Dust” ranks as one of the most ‘in your face’ tracks from Worlds.