Everyone knows the feeling they get in the pit of their stomachs when a track like “One More Time,” “Wake Me Up,” “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff,” or “One” comes on. The outside world fades away and the music, the classic dance track and the feelings it invokes, are all that matters. There’s a beauty in some tracks’ ability to shed the outside world in a fleeting moment of sonic bliss — exactly the phenomenon that Porter Robinson achieves with “Divinity.” Few opening tracks in modern electronic dance music are as recognizable, and ultimately, few opened listeners up to an entirely unique world of an artist’s music like Worlds‘ opener did.
Robinson’s Worlds is four years old on August 12 and although he’s moved on to newfound creative avenues, the energy and, well, otherworldliness of Worlds still plays as if the listener’s making a new discovery on each and every listen. Described by the journalist Larry Fitzmaurice at Pitchfork as “an antidote to the aggressive, toxically masculine culture that’s pervaded mainstream American dance culture” surrounding its release, Robinson’s retro and Japanese culture inspiration, the album’s now iconic, glitchy sound design, and its propulsive knack for turning mere objects into easily pinpointed sounds stretched the parameters of what mainstream electronic music could be in a way that hadn’t been challenged in a long time.
Worlds flouted the expectations of the American dance culture it existed in, even if it did rely heavily on the past and influence from artists like M83, to challenge its present. The album defied the logistics of the DJ set and what the live dance music performance could mean, much like its predecessors did in seminal LP’s from the likes of Daft Punk, Justice, and others. Robinson bridged the gap between the indie-pop world and dance music, too. A modern opus, and certainly not the pinnacle of Porter Robinson’s career, the album is undeniably one of his brightest moments so far — one that illuminated the path for an entire wave of emotionally-charged, conceptual dance music to follow.
Featured image: Rukes