Trading out the bombastic beats of his EDM years for introspective instrumental-led intimacy, Porter Robinson’s first album in seven years – following arty, atmospheric 2014 debut ‘Worlds’ – conveys a real feeling of contentment and inner peace. Given that the Atlanta DJ and producer overcame an intense period of depression and anxiety following his stratospheric rise to festival-headlining, world-touring status at just 18 years old, it’s fitting that ‘Nurture’ carries an immediate sense of renewal.
From the album’s cover art (on which Porter lies face down in a field of flowers) to the stripped-back twinkling keys of ‘Wind Tempos’ (getting back behind the piano was pivotal in his recovery) and tweeting birds of soothing orchestral opener ‘Lifelike’, it seems that in rekindling his relationship with nature, Robinson rediscovered the beauty in everyday life.
This long-awaited personal and artistic rebirth is channeled through unashamed euphoria on album highlights ‘Look At The Sky’ and ‘Something Comforting’ – two of the most uplifting yet tear-jerking songs you’re likely to hear this year. On the former, punching beats and glitchy crackles build into a celebration of life, Robinson noting that “something must have changed in me; don’t feel it any more”; the latter’s breakbeats erupt with hard-won positivity.
These revelatory moments are fully fleshed-out with jubilant energy on ‘Musician’, on which Robinson distills a newfound love for his craft: “I can see my life so clearly,” he sings. On ‘Get Your Wish’, meanwhile, lyrics refer to walking on water – a representation of his relief at having made it through the darkness.
Robinson also uses his music to thank the people who made him see why life is worth living. Moving stadium-ready singalong ‘Mother’ (about the importance of having a guiding figure through life) should help provide solace to anyone who is struggling and ‘Sweet Time’ is an homage to the impact of finding love: “Since I met you, I don’t wanna die no more”. The soothing, soul-bearing acoustic guitar lullaby of ‘Blossom’, meanwhile, finds Robinson more vulnerable than ever before.
While the title of final track ‘Trying To Feel Alive’ lays bare Porter’s years-long struggle with his mental health, it’s the closing words of ‘Mirror’ that most reflect the entire album and Porter’s journey as an artist: “Sometimes, the inner voice is encouraging, calling for you to run those final few yards / You’re nearly there – keep going, keep going; it will all be okay in the end”.
Release date: April 23
Record label: Mom + Pop