Porter Robinson’s Mirror takes gleefully comforting sound parameters to an optimistic pinnacle. For 2014’s cock-a-hoop Worlds, Robinson gave anti-EDM an overweening EDM countenance, sounding both spellbinding and 8bit. Worlds took an extended quest to find its art in Vocaloid synths and grimy basslines. The collage together resulted in fascinating and often enthralling soundscapes. But 6 years have since passed by. On Virtual Self, Robinson’s prevaricating maneuver re-immersed in the sounds of his youth, a Neotrance aesthetic rooted way back in the late ’90s and early ’00s. But rather just diving in, he re-invented the hard trance and Eurodance accession with glittering keygen melodies and incandescent drums.
Porter Robinson has made Vocaloid synth and fizzling production a key part of his practice for years. But with his latest project, Robinson changes course once again. His first two outputs for Nurture: Get Your Wish and Something Comforting have weathered all two manners of his artistic endeavor as himself and as Virtual Self beaming with refined optimistic glows. Mirror has not been any different either. For all the variety in the list, none of the songs have been an eclectic listen. They are not just any wistful and uptempo electro-pop ballad vainly sitting in the background during your chores; they are more likely to set out their presence, unflustered by all the fuss you’re in.
It is one thing to sing optimistically about a time in the past giving the singles a more vulnerable and forlorn tone than the previous outputs and it’s another to present them in a way how Porter Robinson manages to do. It’s an ostensible organizing principle that only Robinson is able to put out and an embrace, rather than just singing optimistically with funky four-to-the-flour beats. It’s about recognizing that most of the “criticism is self-inflicted.”