Nurture, by Porter Robinson: Album review

It’s been seven years since Porter Robinson’s last album Worlds was released. To say the new album, Nurture, was worth the wait is an understatement—it is a masterpiece. The style Robinson has created over the years is so unique, and the sound design is superb. Even though some of the singles have been out for a while, listening to those in the context of the full album makes me enjoy them even more.

Porter Robinson's Nurture

A Walk Through Porter Robinson's Nurture

The album’s intro track, ”Lifelike,” starts with piano and is slowly layered with a multitude of strings, instruments, and even an accordion. It’s simple, but every time I listen to the album it’s like it is slowly waking me up for something beautiful.

The fourth single “Look at the Sky” is such a positive anthem. Every time the pre-chorus drops in volume before the chorus starts I get chills. I’ve listened to this song so many times but even while listening as I wrote this my arms had goosebumps. The music video is really fun with Porter being surrounded by ghosts as he plays piano.

The first single, “Get Your Wish,” has a very unique chord progression at the beginning. The chorus of this track is so well done. The intensity Robinson achieves the first time the chorus hits is so full and overwhelming.

“Wind Tempos” starts out with a myriad of piano loops and strings, there is a reverse sound effect that makes me think of passing through a tunnel as all the sounds are fluttering around. About halfway through the track it all comes to a sudden stop, and there is a serene piano piece. It’s the kind of music that quiets your mind before the chopped-up vocals pop up. It’s not a traditional song structure, but I have found those are the kinds of songs that grow on me the most.

My favorite track on Nurture has to be “Musician.” The beats in this song are so much fun. The vocals probably resonate with me more than anything I’ve listened to in years. He even samples the “woo yeah” from Lyn Collins “Think (About It)” that Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock sampled in “It Takes Two.”

“Do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do” reminds me of a Japanese video game soundtrack. I love the chopped-up guitar throughout this song. The vocals are simple and cute, and I like the way the voice is manipulated and bit crushed. I love all the computer sounds and glitch effects on the track “Mother”. The lyrics throughout are so sweet and the chorus is really touching.

The first half of “Dullscythe” is a seemingly random piano, and the first thing I thought of when I heard it was Art of Noise. This is another experimental track that really grew on me over time. About halfway through the song, it’s like there is a wave of strings rushing over you before a beat off in the distance is met with piano and arpeggios. The intro to “Sweet Time” has some of my favorite piano on the album. The strings throughout the track stand out the most to me. The depth Robinson creates is so well done.

The third single “Mirror” has one of Porter Robinson's most interesting music videos. It Is essentially an animated avatar drawn and then placed in a forest as someone walks through the forest. The thing that made this crazy is that there is a website with an interactive virtual environment that corresponds with the music video. The song is really catchy, and I absolutely love the glitched out pads.

The second single, “Something Comforting,” is so upbeat and fun. The melody throughout this track is infectious. I always catch myself singing along with the pre-chorus. I think this has some of my favorite beats on the album, and the way he shifts his vocals back and forth makes me think of switching channels on an old tv.

“Blossom” is such a beautiful track. The guitar is magnificent and accompanies the vocals elegantly. The way he makes his natural voice more prominent on certain lyrics adds so much emphasis on their importance.

The sixth single—“Unfold” with Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs—was released a day before the album. The vocals during the chorus are so well done. TEED and Porter’s pitched up voices harmonize beautifully. The sound design on this track is spectacular, all the layered pads and harsh static create some really unique transitions.

Porter Robinson

The album concludes with “Trying to Feel Alive.” There are a lot of similar sounds to the intro track which creates a feeling of coming full circle. I really like the way the gliding bassline and the fluttering arpeggios are used to create some really beautiful transitions.

The weekend after Porter Robinson released Nurture, he held a virtual festival, Secret Sky, that featured a ton of amazing artists and djs. Robinson’s set that ended the festival was unreal. All the songs performed are pretty different from their album version. I highly recommend checking it out on his YouTube channel. He has also announced the return of his Second Sky music festival and a North American tour this summer/fall.

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

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