Porter Robinson Drops Dreamy, Non-EDM Single 'Sea of Voices'

Cass Bird

Porter Robinson

Electronic music it-boy Porter Robinson dropped the first single from his much-anticipated album "Worlds" today, and like Kurt Cobain said about Nirvana's "In Utero," it might alienate a lot of his fans.

Clocking in at a resting heart rate of 64 BPM, the nearly five-minute track is called "Sea of Voices" and lives up to its name, opening with tinkling bells, twirling synths, and sweet female trilling. Sampled strings join the swell, which builds slowly to the track’s first lyric line, sung acapella at the 3:10-minute mark: "We'll see creation come undone." Then there's an intergalactic downbeat-release that recalls atmospheric master M83 -- particularly his space-age work on the "Oblivion" soundtrack. And just a minute later it's all over, resolving with more acapella vocals - aka, an ellipsis...

For fans of 21-year-old Robinson's earlier hits - bass-happy, festival-grade drops like "100% In The Bitch" - the cosmic bliss might be too much of a divergence. But Robinson's known that for awhile, and he's ready. "It has a bunch of weird tempos that dance people aren’t really doing," he told Billboard about the then-untitled album back in November. "There’s no DJ-friendly intro and outro. It’s meant to be listening music. It’s not a party record at all.”

Porter Robinson Announces New Album Title, 'Worlds,' in 10-Hour Video

Porter was rumored to release the song on Monday, but dropped the track via Soundcloud Sunday evening instead. Before revealing the track, he took to twitter to share many thoughts on its recording and his forthcoming album.

“Years ago, I realized that I wanted to write an album that focused on beauty above all else,” he tweeted. “The feeling of hugeness and gorgeousness and vastness and beauty is what I fucking live for. It is my favorite thing in the world. I kept trying to write songs that both satisfied me artistically and also could 'work' in a DJ set. Nobody ever heard these songs because they sucked and made me miserable. Again and again, I found that making a track 'danceable' just meant compromising and ignoring what the song really needed. And I found that the more I forced myself to work within those DJ-friendly limits, the more I resented the genre. I realized that the rift between the music that works for DJs and the music that I love had grown too huge to ignore.”

“I've had multiple anxiety attacks on stage this year and it was always related to feeling like a fraud. It sucked. The fucking watershed moment in writing ‘Worlds’ was when I realized that I didn't have to write songs for DJs. I realized that my need to be honest with myself and with you was greater than my need to be famous or whatever. I don't want to cheapen peoples' past experiences of shows or songs. I still fuck with my old stuff. That was my favorite music when I was 18. I am 21 now and now I'm writing 21-year-old-me's favorite music.”

While the album's tracklisting is still not confirmed, "Sea of Voices" sounds to us like Track 1. And Track 2 will probably determine what these "Worlds" will really be like.