Porter Robinson
Nurture


4.5
superb

Review

by Jack Mancuso CONTRIBUTOR (58 Reviews)
May 3rd, 2021 | 177 replies


Release Date: 04/23/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The exact type of life-affirming art the world needs in 2021

The lush and vibrant sound of Porter Robinson’s “Nurture” wasn’t achieved without a fight. To say that he’s been put through the wringer in the last five years would be an understatement. Writer’s block, the ever present weight of depression, and a family member’s battle with cancer are just a few of the colossal challenges that have faced the producer since his last release under his own name. In the years since 2014’s highly influential “Worlds”, we’ve received a remix of that same album, one-off single “Shelter”, and an EP under the guise of Robinson’s alter ego, Virtual Self. He’s been hard at work bringing his Second Sky Festival to life and using his platform to catapult other artists into public discussion. It seems like it’s been an eternity since we’ve been able to peek behind the veil and take a good look at Porter himself, which is what makes “Nurture” such a revelation.

For readers unfamiliar with him, Robinson isn’t just a household name within EDM circles; it’s hard to point to an individual who has influenced the scene more since he arrived onto it. It’s been seven years since his last full-length project, which makes the expectations attached to “Nurture” nothing short of astronomical. I’m elated to say that he has delivered. A late April release date is absolutely perfect for a project like this; “Nurture” is the inevitable bloom of springtime, a downpour passing over followed by the warm embrace of the sun. Short prelude “Lifelike” sets the stage immaculately with propulsive strings and jaunty percussion lurking underneath the surface, but it’s true opener “Look at the Sky” that encapsulates the album’s mission statement. Lyrically, Robinson isn’t shy whatsoever about describing the way his experiences have impacted him; “Look at the Sky” is uncertainty and anxiety (“you’re losing your gift and it’s plain to see”) paired uncomfortably with hesitant hope (“Look at the sky, I’m still here/I’ll be alive next year”). Nothing about this lyric reinvents the wheel, but through the lens of Porter Robinson’s spirited production, it makes the listener believe they can conquer worlds.

The album only gains steam from there. Stirring vocal samples pack a strong emotional punch on early highlight “Wind Tempos”, which is swiftly one-upped by “Musician”, one of the most impressive bangers Robinson has ever crafted. “Something Comforting” utilizes an effects-laden acoustic guitar to build to one of the record’s most satisfying drops, and features a switch to double time that might just be my favorite moment on this whole thing. The aforementioned pairing of anxiety and hope continues to shine through on back half cuts like “Sweet Time” and the poignant “Mirror”, but considering all the gnawing fear and existential angst present beneath the beauty here, it’s wonderful to hear a track like “Mother”, which tenderly affirms community and the ability to trust another person (“I’m on your side for the rest of your life / You’ll never be alone, don’t you worry, my child”). Mid-album instrumental “dullscythe” features Robinson slowing the tempo down a bit, only to paint the canvas with crackling techno drums and jerky syncopation. It’s an anomalous moment on the record, and a sound I find myself wishing he had explored more deeply, but I feel as though I can’t complain when the rest of the album is as wonderful as it is.

The record’s sole feature resides in “Unfold”, courtesy of the hilariously named Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. If any track here hearkens back to “Worlds” it’s this one, with its pulsating kick drum and euphoric hook. I wasn’t surprised to read that this track was inspired by T.E.E.D.’s appreciation for Porter’s “Sea of Voices”, as both use the same wall-of-sound style production and highly tense potential energy in their quiet sections. The vocal feature by T.E.E.D. is great, but “Nurture” is at its strongest when Porter and his story are front and center, which is thankfully the entire rest of the album’s runtime. Closer “Trying to Feel Alive” puts him firmly back in the driver’s seat to do his best M83 impression, which he excels at; however, it pales in comparison to the sounds on this record that more unique to Robinson himself.

“Nurture” takes the extremely high expectations foisted upon it and delivers not only a suitable follow-up to “Worlds”, but improves upon it in nearly every way. Porter Robinson has sublimated his pain and deepest emotions into a gripping listening experience that is the exact type of life-affirming art the world needs in 2021. It doesn’t end quite as strong as it begins, but “Nurture” is still well worth anyone’s time, and an album I highly recommend.



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user ratings (149)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
May 3rd 2021


13973 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

surprised this still needed a review, but even more surprised by how much i enjoyed it

ResidentNihilist
May 3rd 2021


2114 Comments


Incredible album, hopefully this gets featured. Probably my aoty of the year atm as Look at the sky is the best song that Porter's ever done.

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
May 3rd 2021


7854 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Never listened to this dude, but the rev got hyped me up!

Digging: Erika de Casier - Sensational

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
May 3rd 2021


13973 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My AOTY as well Nihilist!

Prancer
May 3rd 2021


1270 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was not expecting this album to be as good as it was

parksungjoon
May 3rd 2021


31674 Comments


does this have any bumnumba1 samples

Digging: Make a Change...Kill Yourself - II

AmericanFlagAsh
May 3rd 2021


10162 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's too long for what it is, but really great album

Digging: St. Vincent - Daddy's Home

TheSpirit
May 3rd 2021


27724 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i don't usually go for this type of music i liked this quite a bit

Digging: Gonemage - Mystical Extraction

parksungjoon
May 3rd 2021


31674 Comments


he just wants u to get 100% in the bitch..

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
May 3rd 2021


13973 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Same @TheSpirit, his first album is solid but this is leagues ahead of it imo

parksungjoon
May 3rd 2021


31674 Comments


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k_LDXa3lPk

Tundra
May 3rd 2021


6006 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it is good

Feather
May 3rd 2021


6847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Porter Robinson is my "EDM"

Drummerboy123
May 3rd 2021


3105 Comments


Sweet Time is a potential SOTY for me, shit hits too close to home. After coming out of a deep depression and starting to appreciate life and how things have turned around for me it almost broke me.

And the sheer wall of sound during the last chorus, serene as fuck.

Digging: Porter Robinson - Nurture

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
May 3rd 2021


13973 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

that one is incredible @Drummerboy, I think my favorite is either Musician or Something Comforting

parksungjoon
May 3rd 2021


31674 Comments


>surprised this still needed a review

sput dont care bout no electronicuh

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 3rd 2021


37586 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review. My first listen intrigued me but didn't win me over. I'll give it another go soon.

Digging: Iosonouncane - IRA

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
May 3rd 2021


2966 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wonderful review, excited to give this a listen

Digging: Porter Robinson - Nurture

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
May 3rd 2021


13973 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks boyos : )

Pikazilla
May 3rd 2021


16372 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I dig this



wtf is wrong with me



I'm gonna listen again later and check if imma start hating it



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