Virtual Self, a new project taken on by Porter Robinson, is a “technic Utopia awakening” and neotrance EP. With aliases Pathselector and technic-Angel, this new artist persona and sound Porter is taking on is a darker, more glitchy and futuristic version of the sound he is so well-known for. Since his album Worlds was released in 2014, he became incredibly popular for his upbeat, post-modern, and unique electronic sound. With huge waves of energy felt in his music, Porter began something that even the most well-known and experienced electronic artists often lack – the ability to make the listener feel immense emotion through his music. Through his album Worlds, he captured the hearts of many as the record reached number 1 on electronic charts, and he began playing shows and festivals around the world. Fans fell in love with his energy, positivity, and brilliant live sets, as he brings a child-like happiness and freedom.
Long-awaited and anticipated new music came in the form of Virtual Self last week, maybe not being exactly what fans expected, but something new and interesting nonetheless. It flows well with his themes as an artist and storyteller through music, as Worlds is an album about a post-apocalyptic and fictional, child-like world, Virtual Self carries us even further into the future with a more mature sound. Working on his own (as opposed to Worlds, which was produced with Madeon), the album brings a fresh sound many popular electronic artists have yet to venture into. As artists like Rezz and G Jones are becoming increasingly popular in the EDM scene, this type of eerie, glitchy electronic is not unwelcome, but is definitely different and more challenging than the typical mainstream EDM we often hear.
The sci-fi, techno-spiritualism vibe is evident right away, with dramatic piano and violin with a ghostly-anime sounding voice in the background of “Particle Arts”, the first song on the EP. It picks up quickly, and has the classic Porter-sounding energy, but has displays of his growth as an artist with a more mature sound. “Ghost Voices” has a really solid and catchy beat, but also a very underground feel to it. “a.i.ngel (Become God)” is definitely the most interesting and edgy song of the EP, having heavy drums, bass, intense synths and a robotic voice, also carrying the futuristic theme of the project. The next song, “Key,” is the most dancey and one of the lighter songs on the EP, sounding similar to something you would hear on Worlds. Finally, the 5-track EP ends with “EON BREAK,” bringing a powerful and energetic end to the album with its fast-paced drums and breaks.
Virtual Self is definitely displaying a more mature side of Porter Robinson with a mysterious and eerie-sounding blend of hardcore, garage techno, and house, creating his own story and own version of neotrance. Being glitchy and difficult, but at the same time, smooth and powerful, the EP is absolutely what you make it. Porter tells his own story with this project, but also gives the listener space to make it what they want it to be. You can explore the website for Virtual Self by clicking here, and you can listen to the EP on Soundcloud below.