Nurture is not just an album, it is also a life lesson. Porter Robinson has come close to the basics in order to develop himself artistically, offering a lively and unabashed adventure, and for this reason Nurture is seductive both in its great qualities and in its flaws.
It's no surprise that Porter Robinson has become both a fixture and a fascinating artist over the years. Indeed the emergence of the Atlanta native at the age of 20 years old has made the effect of a bomb on the electronic circuit / club by chaining unintentionally positions in the charts until becoming very viral in 2014. What's even more surprising is that Porter Robinson is a very versatile artist who is hard to classify and even in today's time, he is able to do festival music, club music, EDM, Synthpop, Electro-House while ultimately keeping a constant essence for Electro Pop. This is also where the magic of Porter Robinson lies, an artist who aims for the artistic rather than the search for radio singles, endowed with considerable talent and impressive potential. Like any artist who stands out, Porter Robinson not only relies on his versatility, but he often incorporates the spirit of Japanese music (eccentric and contemporary), articulated around an infectious energy and melody pitched. To hide nothing to you, I confess that my discovery of Porter Robinson is rather late since it is through the confinement of last year that I began to put interested, me who follows for a long time remained generally allergic to the electronic music of club. Although his debut and his first album Worlds are very promising and often of good quality, it is especially what he offers us since 2020 that conquered me. Yet it was not an easy task, since my first resistance to him was based on the effect that his melodies both vocally and musically had difficulty to convince me. It only took a few listens to realize that not only was I wrong, but that Porter Robinson deserved the status he currently has. But when you think about it, is this status a curse for him? Unfortunately for him, Porter Robinson's early and resounding success (as well as family problems) that led to a Grammy Award nomination last year have taken a heavy toll on the artist, although it must be emphasized that this was never the intention. A difficult blow to bear for the young artist who saw a part of his youth flew away and therefore the fact that he is also taken a step back. It is besides for this reason that the heart of Nurture is turned mainly on this subject there.
With the singles released beforehand, the context and with the promises of its potential, everything leads to believe that his second album Nurture had the possibility of doing something great. Nurture is therefore a cry from the heart and a deeply intimate album, like an auto-therapy. One observes there a disconcerting maturity allied to a voluntary and exaggerated insouciance. It's as if Porter Robinson has caught up with the times on Nurture, focusing solely on sincerity, the essential things, like his mental health or his love for the music he wishes to express. Each time, positivity is the only answer to each ailment, each observation, as the way to healing. We can clearly see a 180° turn between Worlds, which sounded like an album that unveiled him to the world, and Nurture, which focuses solely on himself. A necessary inner peace for an artist who suffered so much and ended up lying to himself. It is also for this reason that the album presents very few collaborators, with almost the only voice of Porter Robinson, except samples of course. Finally everything seems on logic, and it is often in the real that we come out the best of ourselves. Everything starts with the magnificent cover of Nurture, which perfectly illustrates all that one must retain from the album and the state of mind of its author, his connection with nature, an element essentially both lyrically and musically, or this kid, like a symbol. On Nurture, Porter Robinson abandons the extravagance and festive energy to indulge in introspective expression, whether it be silky, soothing or, on the contrary, very anxious. It is often said that it is never a good idea to keep your problems, doubts and discomfort to yourself and that you should know how to evacuate them by any means. It is also said that you should see things with optimism, as a glass half full, rather than half empty. Nurture is an outlet, a deep and human liberation, like an example for all, as if it was finally necessary to follow one's heart and really do what one wanted to do despite the constraints of life.
The album begins with a delightful piano, a primary element of Nurture that you will follow as a guide through this experience, before realizing that the instrument is often a metaphor for his heartbeat. LifeLike is a rather short, but symbolic introductory song that transpires both Porter Robinson's love for Japanese music, a sort of neo-classical modern folk ballad, only instrumental, that one could find in an anime or a movie that revolves around a folktronica and Glitch elements. Of course, you can feel the naturalness and spirituality of this sweet introduction, preparing you to go on Nurture's adventure, which happens in the next song. Look At The Sky is one of the most interesting examples of this album, as it's not the "best song" to be found here, but yet it exemplifies everything Porter Robinson is fighting for. Tackling an Electro-Pop and Synthpop aesthetic, articulated around very naive melodies, Look At The Sky is a dose of hope and introspective goodness. That is to say that despite the flaws that can be reproached to this song, the power of the message and the positive energy that emerges from Porter Robinson manages to transcend and give it a fascinating dimension, where many would have failed. Although it was released earlier (in 2020), Get Your Wish offers the same theme as Look At The Sky, but with a softer, more sophisticated and seductive instrumentation. This ballad also testifies to its openness to nature, with the contribution of birdsong in particular, or by its musical sincerity, where we still find a real piano and a non-synthetic drum. It may seem trivial when you think about it, but I assure you that it makes all the difference, we clearly feel more authenticity and personality. Globally the singles released beforehand manage to live in the album and even to improve. In fact, Nurture is built with more symphonic songs that come to support and show another face of the singles, which allows the album to live in a surprising way. This scattering of ideas does not prevent in my opinion to overshadow neither the single, nor the album songs since Porter Robinson manages to manage the balance and homogeneity with sincerity and naturalness as a common element in its entirety. It is enough to listen to Wind Tempos, a fantastic instrumental surprise sprinkled with some light minimalist pitched vocals that give off some jolts. Again we find this angelic piano, inspired by the Japanese and his influence Masakatsu Takagi, Wind Tempos comes to make the link with the introduction LifeLike, but differs by the instrumental nature. It is known that even in his early days, Porter Robinson liked to get lost at times in a music that is close to the ambient, this is also one of the pure example. Everything is perfectly mastered, whether it is the progression and the construction of the song, so much so that I had not even seen that it lasted 6 minutes, when I devoured it.
Musician is probably one of my favorite songs from Nurture and even his repertoire, simply because I think it has all the right elements of Porter Robinson. I love the sample manipulation, the melody is absolutely killer and the instrumentation is literally breathtaking. Once again, Porter Robinson comes through with transformed simplicity of execution and exaggerated optimism to make this a lively and meaningful song. It's typically the kind of song that you'll listen to over and over again without any problem. It is not a coincidence that the album is followed by a kind of interlude called Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do, a wink for the musical bases. This interlude fits well in the album but unlike the previous rather similar songs, it has a hard time living alone. One could think that the middle of the album sounds at first like a low point, but in reality it's not the case, it must also be said that you just listened to some very good stuff just before. There is first Mother, a joyful and rather psychedelic electro-pop song in its rhythmic, a real love letter for his parents and which also expresses his memories of youth, a logical element to get closer to what is essential for him, before switching to Dullscyte, a complex and minimalist instrumental that takes your breath away. Once again it is necessary to insist on the fact that this kind of song keeps an indispensable place to the balance of the album, as if the "sung" songs sounded like a cry of the heart, while the others sound like an inner therapy, like an absolute meditation, focused only on oneself. On a very warm and atmospheric synthpop, Sweet Time is a very beautiful romantic song, which finally completes little by little the primordial elements that the author explores throughout the album. It is necessary to appreciate the musicality and the melodies of Sweet Time that manages to capture exactly what love provides, that is to say a kind of force of gravity that makes your heart beat, at the limit of suffocation. It is a very beautiful proof of love. Already that Mirror is a fantastic song musically, the writing and the main idea, focused on the 2 characters which offer a lyrical interaction are really the highlight of it. I find the idea clever and well realized, which again gives additional elements that enhance the main concept of Nurture, while giving depth to its musical content. Imagine that you have just taken you in the face, a stunning Mirror, but that's not all, since the album follows on one of the wonders of this album: Something Comforting. It is complex to describe how much the emotions that emerge from it are both palpable and impressive. There is first of all this catchy sample which resounds all along, without forgetting this bewitching and so warm piano which comes to rock you like a baby.
We start to arrive on the end of Nurture, but we are not yet at the end of our surprises. Blossom is a romantic lo-fi pop ballad again, with a melody as colorful as it is formidable. Accompanied by a simple guitar, Porter Robinson has fun playing his voice, which brings the little extra. Unfold offers the unique and direct collaboration of Nurture. Supported by TEED (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs), Porter Robinson proposes us an explosive and contagious synthpop, very introspective which will come to bring an additional grain of madness which fits perfectly in Nurture. A brilliant collaboration that shows a total alchemy. The album concludes with Trying To Feel Alive, a ballad that makes the link with the introduction musically, although it is different in the approach. We find again the Japanese sounds, but this time Porter Robinson makes his voice speak one last time. Finally we can summarize the album with the title of this outroduction "Trying To Feel Alive", it is concretely one of the main message of Nurture. A song that wants to be optimistic and alive, there was also no better way to conclude Nurture. Although it is not perfect, nor revolutionary, Nurture gives off something unique, something palpable that you rarely feel, except in general when listening to a very good album. I loved the optimism and discovering a little more of the author's personality, because finally it's quite uncommon to hear a speech like this one, especially when there's some unhappiness. It's just something very positive, especially in these times, it's an example.Over 60 minutes, Porter Robinson managed to master his subject, with some forgettable moments. In my opinion, he confirms a lot of the potential he had, it's a milestone for his career, hoping that he continues in this momentum.