Music and Musings: Are fans ready for Porter Robinson’s post-EDM?

Mary Willson

Porter Robinson’s album “Worlds” is progressive and welcomed by industry, but can fans keep up with his post-electronic dance music style?

I absolutely love Porter Robinson’s new album “Worlds.” As described in a Pitchfork review, it is “part synthy indie-pop, part twinkling bedroom-beatmaker fare, part festival-ready electro.” This album is an example of how the electronic genre is expanding once again.

Ad

The genre’s last major expansion was into the popularity of dubstep and whompy raves. Robinson’s album comes right along with Odesza’s new album “In Return,” which are mellowed out and use sampling and beats to thread together honestly beautiful melodies with gut-wrentching drops that are more emotional than firey in the way that dubstep drops are.

The drops in “transelectro” feel more like you’re in an expansive valley with wildflowers all around. It’s the most scenic view, and then you jump off the cliff and fly down to a shimmering lake. Dubstep drops feel like a car spin-out at 90 mph: it’s exhilarating, but looking back you’re wondering what just happened.

concert
Photo courtesy of Mary Willson

With that said, it is obvious I was excited for the Porter show Saturday at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, but the tone of the night was disappointing. The crowd was extremely young, (like, parents must have dropped them off) screaming at all the wrong times until Porter literally stopped the music and told the audience he likes “quiet for the beautiful parts of the songs,” which just brought out more yelling from the children.

The show lasted until 12:30 a.m. — extremely early for a show at the Fillmore. Maybe it was the crowd, Porter’s early set time or the general lack of energy in the Fillmore, but while the music playing from the speakers was captivating during his set, the vibe was severely lacking, a major part of electronic shows.

I am loving the progressive electronic scene that is growing in popularity, because on a personal level, I relate more closely to the indie mixes, downtempo beats and melody driven beats over thrashing dubstep tempos. In Spin Magazine’s review of the album, they question his absence of “four-four club kicks and spastic drops of his former cohort,” and his moving towards “the soaring sonic vistas and lysergic textures of M83, Washed Out, Neon Indian, Tycho, even French chill-meisters Air.”

Many mixes such as Diplo and Friends, and BBC Essential Mix are featuring hours of chill electronic, which is widely juxtaposed with the drop-heavy hardcore sounds of their mix pasts. It is obvious that the industry as a whole is progressing towards “post EDM,” as Pitchfork calls it. The major question is, can the audience keep up? In regards to this weekend’s Robinson show, it doesn’t seem like they are there just yet.

 Mary “M. Dubz” Willson has a radio show also called “Music and Musings” every Thursday morning from 9-11 on KCSU 90.5 FM. Here she plays electronic music that is inspired from the local scene. Follow her on Twitter @mary_willson and check out her “Music and Musings” blog at https://medium.com/@marywillson.