In late January 2017, multi-talented musician and producer Porter Robinson confused fans and critics alike with a tweet declaring all but eleven songs in the extensive catalog he built over the previous 12 years as “unofficial.”
The 25-year-old Chapel Hill native confirmed his disavowment of all of his previous work outside of those eleven songs, represented by a Spotify playlist titled This Is: Porter Robinson and made up mostly of tracks from his 2014 Worlds album, collab tracks with the likes of Madeon and Mat Zo, and his remix of Nero‘s The Thrill, with posts on Snapchat in response to the many questions and misrepresentations he’d heard from followers.
With the release of the five-track debut EP self-titled under Robinson’s new moniker Virtual Self earlier this week, he has revealed a drastically different sound and created a fascinating easter-egg hunt for fans to gain insight into its origin and influences.
In anticipation of the project’s release, Robinson revealed an accompanying website to the EP, virtualself.co and it is a story unto itself (Check out the page source for starters.) The cryptic site kept fans busy with a variety of vague hints and worked to reveal the split personality of Robinson’s new alter-ego, represented by characters named Technic-Angel and Pathselector, and illustrated through official videos for the first official singles EON Break and Ghost Voices.
The characters seem to personify the duality of the project’s sound, with the lighter and more upbeat tracks, including EON Break, as well as new releases Particle Arts and Key, belonging to Technic-Angel. These tracks have more obvious ties to Robinson’s previous work with the use of tender vocal dubs and a similar synth and white noise style, but with a quicker pace and more traditional house-feel mixed with the soundtrack of an early 2000s video game.
The two Pathselector tracks, Ghost Voices and a.i.ngel (Become God), each run at higher BPMs and bounce with thunderous bass, in a manner entirely unseen in Robinson’s previous works. Bangers have never really been Robinson’s groove in the past, but these are certified bangers and I hope there are more where they came from lying in wait in the heady artist’s pipeline.
All five tracks show the level of production mastery we have come to expect from Porter, and if the drastic changes fans witnessed him undergo over the last year continue to progress in 2018 as should be expected, he will continue to prove why critics lauded him as a prodigy in his early years, and why fans continue to obsess over his every move.
Robinson will debut his Virtual Self live performance on December 8, at the Avant Gardner in Brooklyn.
You can stream Virtual Self now on your favorite platform or the official site page, virtualself.co/virtualselfep.
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Written By: Aaron Nelson