Photo via Pitchfork.com

 In April of 2021, North Carolina EDM producer and musician Porter Robinson released his second studio album “Nurture.” This sophomore release takes its listener on a beautiful journey while showcasing Robinson’s newfound maturity and change of musical style.

Robinson got his start as a self taught producer present in online music forums. In 2011 he got his big break when he released his eleven track EP “Spitfire”. Later in 2014 he released his first real spark in popularity with the debut album “Worlds” which is highly regarded by Robinson’s fans. In the years leading up to the release of “Nurture” Robinson had struggled with bouts of depression and his ability to enjoy creating music became harder and harder due to ever growing expectations.

The production of Nuture gives off an incredibly cheerful, breezy and uplifting mix of electronica, lo-fi, indie pop and various music influences. The sound of the album is predominantly electronic dance music but the lyrics bring each track down to be more personal and human. The atmosphere of the album takes its listener through a transcendent electronic landscape as the subject of each song takes us into Robinson’s creative mindset.

The instrumental opening “Lifelike” starts off with a soothing piano lead that gives off the feeling of opening a nostalgic children’s novel, and is reminiscent of video game soundtracks that have influenced Robinson such as the music from “Dance Dance Revolution.”

“Look at the Sky” introduces some of the main themes of the album. Intense expectations can affect some people and in Robinson’s case his newfound popularity in the early 2010s caused him to suffer from imposter syndrome, believing his craft wasn’t good enough. Robinson also showcases the appreciation of nature as a means to alleviate inner turmoil through being more connected to your outside environment. 

The absolutely enrapturing “Get Your Wish” further develops this sentiment of rising fame and learning to create music for others to enjoy rather than to receive glory for yourself. This song also showcases Robinson’s pitched up vocals to give off the voice of a younger child that is present throughout the album and his other material as well.

The sentiment to create transcendent musical experiences for others is what led to the tracks such as “Wind Tempos” and “Musician”. Wind Tempos is largely inspired by Robinson’s love for Japanese pianist Masakatsu Takagi and the track itself is influenced by the work of LCD Soundsystem. “Musician” is an incredible electronic piece using various vocal techniques and delightful synths. The track was conceived with one idea in mind; for Robinson to have a blast while creating music.

The desire to create music and have fun with the process also led to more experimental tracks such as “do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do” and the instrumental “dull scythe” which features abstract and various tempo switches.

Love and appreciation of oneself is present in the track “Mother” as well as “Sweet Time” where Robinson believes he may become more distant from his family and loved ones because he is getting older, but the truth is that the people who’ve supported him in his life will always stick by his side. In the track “Mirror” Robinson reflects on being much too hard on himself by confronting the inner voice within him. This longing for self reassurance continues in “Something Comforting” which features one of the best chorus/drops on the whole album. 

“Blossom” adopts a much more different and simple instrumental style as it is predominantly a love ballad for Robinson’s romantic partner Rika Mikuriya. The final two tracks “Unfold” and “Trying to Feel Alive” serve as Robinson’s look into the future of his creative output and the idea of appreciating the journey rather than the destination. 

The positive reception of “Nurture” has left Robinson with newfound confidence but the accomplishments aren’t what keeps him going. The album’s themes of expectation and creativity have both helped Robinson in his future releases and the fans who cherish the experiences his music provides.