Just like Worlds said goodbye to the electro house Porter Robinson, fans can now say goodbye to Worlds Porter Robinson as he embarks on his journey as Virtual Self. Revealing the project last month and releasing his debut EP at the end of it, Porter stepped out into the public as Virtual Self for the first time on Friday, December 8th at a nondescript garage / warehouse in Brooklyn. To say it was different is an understatement. This is a whole new world for Porter.
Porter had DV-i and Raito open for him, who set the table nicely for what was to come with a mix of techno, jungle and drum and bass. It was all over the place as the production was kept to a minimum in anticipation of Robinson’s set.
Eventually the venue started to get full around midnight with Robinson taking the reins a little before 1. There were some signs of what was to come in his new EP and a recent tweet saying he does raves. But beyond that, with only five songs out as Virtual Self, it was anybody’s guess how he would fill the rest of his set.
He opened immediately with potentially a new number that set the tone for the night. The chilled out Worlds / “Shelter” Porter was dead, gone and stashed somewhere far away from the Brooklyn warehouse. This was very, very different.
This was a rave. A Virtual Self rave. In a dark room, Porter stood on the stage with lights focused on him and occasionally bathing the crowd in a white, green or blue hue. Then at certain drops, lasers would activate and try and keep up with his onslaught of trance, psytrance, hard techno, jungle, drum and bass and even some happy hardcore. The music was all over the place and very fast. BPMs would be lucky to drop under 130. It was a workout and the crowd seemed to be generally ready to dance as fast as they could. If everyone had a DDR pad, it would have been perfect.
The set would peak during the songs that came off the EP like “Ghost Voices” and “EON Break,” but I could there were times when it seemed as though the crowd was a little lost. It could be a bi-product of all of this being so new and unfamiliar, or that it didn’t translate as well as he thought, but talking to people at the end there was a positive reaction to the set, but still some reservations were held.
Is it revolutionary to play high-bpm trance? No. But bringing that with jungle, early rave and Japanese video game music and then as a festival headliner doing all of this is where the genius lies. It certainly is not as accessible as his previous batch of music, but it could open up some very new avenues for him to explore. A State of Porter anyone?
At the end of his set around 3 Porter addressed the crowd, something he didn’t plan on doing, and expressed his appreciation for them. He would go on to say that this was something he had been looking forward to this for years.
“For the last two years I’ve been wanting to play all this music and I had it all, all this time and I wouldn’t play any of it in a Porter Robinson DJ set. I was really waiting for this so it could be all one thing. And this has been a really, really long time coming and it’s my favorite thing in the world.”
Words by Ryan Middleton. Photos by Charles Kang. Follow him on Instagram.