Here’s an electronic record that you can’t really dance to. There’s been a lot of buzz over “Sea of Buzz,” the first track from Porter Robinson’s forthcoming ‘Worlds’ album, because it is completely unexpected. Just as Avicii incorporated country music into his recent album, Porter has moved away from the electrohouse he is known for (“Spitfire,” “Vandalism,” “Language”) and created a beautiful soundscape for listening while chilling out. There are no banging beats, massive drops, or shouting “throw your hands in the air.” The beautiful soundscape washes over you with strings and effected backing vocals until the lead comes in with a simple melody. Whether the rest of his album will continue in this more BT/m83 direction is unknown, but it definitely does bring a few things to mind. The banging big room electro/festival EDM sound seems to be starting to slow down with the rise of slower-tempoed nu-house in the UK and deep house across from Europe. This kind of chilled-out soundscape might be part of that natural evolution. Since electronic music has been so embraced by the current generation, it only makes sense that they will want to listen to it outside of the club, and let’s face it, the majority of banging EDM tracks just don’t make sense outside of the normal environment. Chilled-out house and mellower tracks fit that bill much more readily. “Sea of Voices” is not what you would expect from Porter Robinson, but it’s a sign that during his time off touring to produce his album that he explored some new ideas and might be on the cusp of a major transition in the electronic music world.
Image courtesy of Astralwerks.
Porter Robinson – Sea of Voices
While the use of ’90s samples has becoming quite prevalent recently, some make more sense than others. British DJ/producer Mat Zo is best known for his big room progressive tracks (“Easy” with Porter Robinson, “Mozart” with Arty) and remixes (Empire of the Sun “Alive,” Kylie Minogue “Get Outta My Way”). He is also is a drum-and-basshead under the pseudonym MRSA, so digging back to seminal ’90s jump-up/drum & bass track “Rock the Funky Beat” by Natural Born Chillers doesn’t seem like too big a stretch. For “Pyramid Scheme,” he constructed a progressive stadium house track which moves between big beats and quite a pretty midsection. Enlisting Chuck D to come back and rerecord the vocal line (which was originally sampled from the Public Enemy track “Caught, Can We Get A Witness?”) is quite the genius move. Though the track is strong in its current form, I have a feeling there will be another version forthcoming with an additional topline aimed at the pop market. As for the title “Pyramid Scheme,” one can only wonder if it could be a sarcastic reference to the behind the scene mechanisms of the EDM industry.
Imagine Courtesy of Astralwerks/Anjunabeats.