CD review: Porter Robinson’s ‘Worlds’


Three and a half stars

Porter Robinson Worlds

Despite benefitting richly from commercial EDM, North Carolina prog prodigy Porter Robinson grew tired of the genre’s patterns two years ago, so he retreated to his childhood escapades—namely video games and anime. Worlds sounds like the soundtrack to his Japanophile fantasies, where chaos may reign but hope carries the day. We’re not talking MDMA-powered bangers, but largely utopian soundscapes that go from the womb to the dancefloor with a quick acceleration of the beat or morphing of the basslines. Robinson clearly finds inspiration in indie outfits like M83 and Sigur Rós (“Sad Machine”) and Passion Pit and Holy Ghost! (“Lionhearted”), and often matches those acts’ melodic strengths. “Flicker” even throws in an old-school hip-hop breakbeat before the chorus’ emotional payoff. The narratives feel complex for a 22-year-old, but not so much that they thwart the nostalgia and idealism Robinson expertly evokes. Worlds may not carve its own musical wave, but it serves as a necessary crosscurrent to the swells of EDM.

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