The Evolution of Porter Robinson
by Philip Sherburne | March 23, 2014
Porter Robinson's rise has been spectacular, even for a genre where sudden success is the norm. The Chapel Hill, N.C., native released his debut single in 2010, when he was just 18, and it went to No. 1 on Beatport's charts. A whirlwind of activity followed -- releasing on Skrillex's OWSLA label, getting tapped as Tiësto's North American tour opener, playing just about every major EDM festival of note, right on up to Ultra Music Festival's main stage -- yet his studio output remained slim, particularly for an artist of his stature. Following 2012's "Language," his biggest hit so far has been "Easy," a 2013 collaboration with Mat Zo that reached No. 11 on Billboard's Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart.
Now signed to Astralwerks, Robinson says that his debut album will appear before the end of the year, but he has warned fans not to expect the kind of high-energy festival anthems with which he made his name. "Sea of Voices," a teaser for the album, definitely marks a major shift. Instead of electro-house buzz and dubstep-inspired stomp, it's a buoyant, ambient-pop tune that sounds like M83 -- if M83 were playing from a hot-air balloon way out over the Grand Canyon, maybe. To chart Robinson's path from "complextro" kid to epic voyager, we've assembled an hour-long playlist, working backward from "Sea of Voices" through his singles and remixes for the likes of Lady Gaga and Spencer & Hill.