Virtual Self - Virtual Self EP
Virtual Self EP
The Thing about Porter Robinson is He is always willing to try something new or take on a project that many people might think is to out there. Virtual Self both the EP and alter ego for Robinson gets into his most technical production with these super dense electronic environments. The first track "Particle Arts" has this really gentle and sweet piano line that then explodes into this all out electronic dub barrage. However just when you thought the song had given you all it had to offer it switches gears into this bass guitar driven almost jazz sounding piece. Just describing it gives me the bends but somehow Porter makes it all work and still maintain that dance music soul that He is so good at. The roll out of the album featured a really futuristic feeling website with a early internet style forum with fake avatars coming into consciousness. If it sounds high minded that's because it is; Porter has long discussed how formative it was as a young producer to be able to get onto early forums and discuss production with other people from around the world. It is how He and Madeon first met and formed a friendship which He clearly wants to make a crux of the record. The technology aspect of the record is right at the forefront with Porter taking you into his usual high tech dystopian future. With song names like "a.i.ngel (BECOME GOD)" you can clearly see the place technology holds for Porter. It can be something beautiful and wild but it can also trap you or completely take over. This record pushes those boundaries as far as they can possibly go and often further.
"Key" feels like classic Porter Robinson: driving dance beat with a super clean electronic sound and tons of peaks and valleys. What makes this track different though is it never slides back into what we would consider classic drops. Instead of this build then a big drop Porter uses this skittering bass which overwhelms you with sound. It's inspiring and off putting all at once but it makes you have to recon with it. You can't passively listen to this music, it's to in your face. We never get lyrics, just distant spoken words that are so slight it's like speech is only a memory in this world where percussive beats are king. As quickly as the album appeared it just fades away with a song still going underneath leading you to believe that this EP is not the only thing we will be getting from Virtual Self. It is an interesting project and a cool first step, but we will have to really see where this thing ends up going.
7.9 out of 10