Virtual Self Hits Us With Surprise Music Video For “Key”

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angelic substream – it is the arcanesystem. do you feel the air ? Porter Robinson has been dropping bombs on electronic dance music with his new alias. The alias delivers a mesmerizing new sound which has rejuvanted an industry that has been dropping the same pop-droppy sounds for the past few years. Back in December

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Porter Robinson: Calvin Harris was my inspiration for Virtual Self

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Porter Robinson‘s new “neo-trance” project, Virtual Self, has officially exploded into the mainstream. With appearances at Holy Ship!, Buku, Ultra, Spring Awakening, and Bonnaroo, the artist’s side moniker has now caught the attention of MTV News in a recent revealing interview.

Previously, a leaked insider e-mail from Robinson to his close friends had revealed his side project’s inspirations for blending trance, hardcore, techno, and more nostalgic genres. Yet, in a surprising twist, Robinson tells MTV that it was Calvin Harris‘ 2009 mega-hit, “I Am Not Alone,” that partly inspired his journey as Virtual Self to upset the electronic music realm.

The catalyst for mentioning Harris’ name was based on a previous tweet from the Scottish producer on his appreciation for Virtual Self’s instant classic, “Ghost Voices.”

“I was just really surprised when Calvin tweeted that out,” Robinson revealed. “I’ve never interacted with him before, ever, and even as Porter we never had any relationship. Often times people won’t even say that kind of thing when their buddies release new music, so I messaged him and I told him – and this is true – that I think his track from 2009 ‘I’m Not Alone’ was really inspirational for this project. It’s one of the only tracks from the last 10 years that sort of gives me that classic sort of trance feeling.”

Whether Robinson’s goal with Virtual Self was to even reach the mainstream remains unclear. In actuality, it seems Robinson detests the culture surrounding pop music, a terrain for which Calvin Harris so easily fits in. Whatever the case, Virtual Self has sparked a movement within the electronic realm that is changing the way music is experienced.

Via MTV News

Featured photo by Rukes

Porter Robinson Says Calvin Harris Was The Inspiration For The Virtual Self Project

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Porter Robinson has seen a tremendous amount of success with his latest project and alter-ego, Virtual Self. What initially started as a passion project soon became a fan favorite, as Porter demonstrated his new sound is just as captivating as what fans came to expect with his previous work. Porter recently sat down with MTV

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Insomniac fills out robust 2018 EDC week with over 25 artists and 14 new shows

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Insomniac added over 25 new artists and 14 events to the fifth annual EDC week in Las Vegas, coinciding with the festival’s 22nd annual installment. 

In doing so, the festival welcomes 14 signature party experiences during the week of May 16–23, including the hardstyle focused Basscon Pool Party and two dubstep-fueled Bassrush parties, along with a variety of diverse headliners throughout the week. New programming includes a vast array of parties across the cities hottest nightclubs, including Elephante, Porter Robinson, NGHTMRE, Gryffin, Hot Since 82, Illenium, Yellow Claw, and many more.

Full programming details, more information, and tickets are available here.

Adventure Club Teases ‘Ghost Voices’ Remix In New Teaser Video And It Sounds Glorious

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Porter Robinson made waves with the reveal of his new alias in the last quarter of 2018. Virtual Self was unlike anything many had ever heard, and the passion project of Porter soon grew into a life of its own. The biggest hit from the side project so far has undoubtedly been ‘Ghost Voices’. The

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Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 33

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dexter's beat lab

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA music editor and staff writer Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic — to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery — DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.


Fresh off his debut album in October, KRANE continues to wow. His latest is a stunning remix of Dua Lipa‘s “Be The One.” Backed by top-notch sound design throughout and a series of dramatic, fluttering synths in the chorus, KRANE’s crafted a beautiful rendition of an already tiptop song.


After months of waiting, dubstep fans finally have new Dodge & Fuski material. Turns out they’ve been working on an 13-track album, humbly titled The Greatest Album of All Time, and “Mistakes” with PhaseOne and The Arcturians is one of its latest singles. The Disciple track is one of pure energy. It’s packed with the heavy wubs we know and love from both bass acts, along with haunting vocals from The Arcturians that give the track a unique flavor.


Koven kick off the sophomore installment in the Monstercat x Rocket League collaborative album series with a drumstep original, “My Love.” Katie Boyle’s heartfelt vocals put a more lighthearted touch on the verses, but other parts of the song are a whole different animal. The duo have put together a track that exudes intensity in the best way, making it the perfect kick-off for the forthcoming compilation album.


Unlike Pluto has tapped into my nostalgia. Last Friday, he released an incredibly emotive cover of My Chemical Romance‘s 2004 hit, “Helena.” His vocal-centered rendition strips down the original track to a slower-paced ballad that oozes pure emotion and passion. Unlike Pluto’s voice is so well-suited for this track, and I’ve found myself re-obsessed with it 14 years later.


Seven years and countless remixes later, Porter Robinson‘s “Unison” remains one of the greatest hits of the early “EDM” era. It’s been reworked, revamped, reshaped, and re-imagined into genres across the board — and some are truly a treat. This latest one from SYN is a substantial contender. The mysterious producer ushers in the iconic melody before plunging listeners into a sea of glitchy bass. It’s raw and harsh, but in the best possible way.

H/T to DA managing editor M. Cooper for this one.

Porter Robinson Announces 3 Hour Virtual Self Set As Official Ultra After Party

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Porter Robinson has been blowing fans away with his new Virtual Self moniker. The alias brings with it a powerful new sound which has breathed new life into a world of dance music which began to suffer from repetition. Back in December the Virtual Self live show was debuted in Brooklyn and immediately people fell

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Virtual Self aka Porter Robinson Announce “Ghost Voices” Video Release

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Virtual Self took shape a few months back and sent the entire Electronic Music scene into a frenzy. Over the past few years, Porter Robinson has become a staple in and Electronic Music conversation and the transition from the “Worlds” star into this new demention of music was something that many questioned. That questioning has

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Arty’s Pure Trance Alter Ego Remixes Virtual Self’s ‘Ghost Voices’

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Virtual Self has been one of the most interesting story lines in EDM over the last several months. Porter Robinson released his new alter ego focusing on an unique and unexplored world and obviously it became an instant success. Several artists have tried their hand at remixing Virtual Self and most have come out incredible.

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Virtual Self & the State of Electronic Music: Keeping art authentic in the face of a swallowed up culture

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porter robinson

Porter Robinson is either a tortured soul, or the “tortured artist” personae is one that works to his favor. His love of electronic music and simultaneous disdain for “EDM” culture is a complicated and genuine struggle, much like his highly self-critical relationship with his own music. But there’s something authentic and thoughtful in the way Robinson goes about creating art. Here is a guy who publicly lambasts his own style for becoming too stale or no longer honest. He has also been both artistically and commercially successful at once — something producers may work their whole careers to achieve, which Robinson had already accomplished at the ripe age of 21 when he debuted his electrifying Worlds project.

Porter Robinson incorporating live vocals on his Worlds Tour in 2014

Revered by his fans and respected by industry veterans alike, the now 25-year-old artist embodies a legacy much bigger than his music or visuals could convey. Over the years, he’s fostered a creative space for a global community to connect with spirituality and find purpose in his work. With an artistic inspiration entrenched in video gaming and Japanese anime, Robinson stays ahead of the game by not bothering to compete with anyone.

“I didn’t have this goal to be the next number one DJ in the world. I just kept taking the opportunities that we given to me and doing my best,” he once told BeatsRadio. Because of this, he’s developed a niche that allows him to be wholly genuine in his approach, consequently influencing fans and fellow artists to value substance over surface and to pursue their passions at all costs.

Just weeks after a surprise performance on Holy Ship! and one month prior to his debut festival appearance at Buku Music + Arts Project, a certain e-mail was leaked in which Robinson introduced his Virtual Self project and his rationale for making such a move. The letter itself was revealing and personal, but so is Robinson despite his aversion to the public spotlight. Robinson speaks to pop’s infiltration of electronic music and his concern over how artists are compromising authenticity for the safety net of a chart-topping hit. His ultimate goal with the project, per the email, was to reignite creative risk-taking.

 “[E]lectronic music is at its best and its healthiest when new, exciting, unexpected things are happening. This is a genre that thrives on novelty.”

Yet, while he certainly alludes to such, Robinson never explicitly discusses the state of art in the context of latent capitalism. And that is precisely what is missing in his lamentation over the loss of artistic originality.

This begs the question: Why are artists quick to discount, or often times uncomfortable even mentioning, art’s relationship with money and capital?


Art for art’s sake? Or art for money’s sake? 

“As electronic music essentially converged with pop in 2016…I think it’s pushed a lot of artists away from risk-taking and passion projects. In the last two years, for most artists, all they really had to do was compromise their style by like 30% and add a safe, inoffensive tropical vocal to have a chance at having a hit — and I think for many, that temptation was too much.” – Porter Robinson

In today’s hyper-commercialized culture, some musicians hold steadfast to the notion that art is art first and foremost. That is, money comes secondary to creating a genuine expression of one’s self. This creates a quandary for artists like Porter Robinson. First, because it’s a luxury only commercially successful artists can afford to make. Second, because it’s a claim that rests on an outdated, modernist mode of thinking.

The fact is, Robinson wouldn’t be in a position to take huge artistic risks had he not garnered the widespread support of prominent labels like OWSLAAnjunabeats, Universal’s Astralwerks and Ministry of Sound. How did he do this? By hopping on the “big room” train and playing packed-out stadiums on Tiësto‘s Club Life: College Invasion. Robinson was able to go onto pursuing future passion projects like Worlds, his “Shelter Tour” with Madeon, and now his Virtual Self alias — all the while enjoying monetary success — precisely because he had compromised artistic identity at the onset.

Porter Robinson plays Tiësto’s Club Life College Invasion tour stop in Los Angeles, California.

It’s no secret that Porter Robinson grew quickly tired of a commercial EDM scene centered around formulaic songs with their timed builds and beat drops — a scene which was also responsible for his success. The point of disconnect for himself, and other artists, lies between the passion for creating art and disdain for the ubiquitous money-making side of the music industry. Therein lies an inescapable truth: music is an industry, through and through, and the pervasiveness of capitalism plays a vital role in how one’s art reaches the masses.

Therefore, art doesn’t exist in subservience to money, or vice-versa. The postmodern collapses this distinction. In a postmodern world, money and art exist in a cyclical relationship — they are constantly coming back to one another, fighting with the other, and, yet, are codependent on each other.

This is the intersection at which Robinson’s outward struggle with art and authenticity lies. It’s a problem of postmodernism. Or perhaps it isn’t a problem at all.


Art is a copy of a copy. So what is authentic anymore? 

“I tried to authentically incorporate IDM-y, jungly drum breaks, era-accurate trancy super saw sections, early hardcore and j-core elements, but all morphed into something that sounds kind of ‘big’ and thoroughly produced.” – Porter Robinson

Porter Robinson poses for the American Dream Issue of CLASH Magazine.

Exposed, vindicated, and honest, Robinson is poised as a tastemaker to influence dance music trends. The producer has dabbled in big room, complextro, and now seeks to fuse trance and happy hardcore with his Virtual Self identity. Robinson states his new project’s objective is to morph 2001 tropes of dance music and update them for a 2017 production sensibility.

The stance reflects the very contradiction of postmodern art that we’ve been encountering since Andy Warhol’s famous depiction of his Campbells Soup Cans. Crucially, Warhol showed that art is a commodity and a commercial business, and that the commodity is a fetish in capitalist society. Like Warhol, Robinson finds himself knee deep in the thick of postmodernism — by imitating art. The act of imitation sanctifies art as a commercial activity, affirming and celebrating its commodity status.

Inevitably producers will soon piggyback on the style of Virtual Self just as others mimicked the style of Robinson’s Worlds, especially as they see his new formula successfully selling records. By this token, capitalism is the same metaphorical beast that The Beatles evoked in Yellow Submarine — a beast that swallows up everything in its path and, as it runs out of things to swallow, ends up swallowing itself.

This is the state of art in latent capitalism, as “new” art becomes a copy of its original, and then a copy of a copy, until consumers have forgotten where the art originated. Likewise, how many dance music enthusiasts can describe what classic genres influenced the birth of techno? Or what city house music was born in? How many can even name the multitude of genres that fall under the umbrella of EDM?

Electronic music is, by its very design, a postmodern process, as evidenced in how producers pastiche various styles and genres of music together to tell a different story.

 I want to convey a certain kind of ‘new nostalgia’ and resuscitate some things that have fallen out of fashion, especially from the early 2000s.” 

The postmodern collapses not only the distinction between the old and the new, but also the gap between “highbrow” and “lowbrow” art. By the same token, the work of Virtual Self isn’t something new or original; although it may be an exciting spectacle to behold.

The quandary for Porter lays in his pursuit of the authentic, resting on the modernist belief that what Virtual Self is doing is somehow “high brow,” or more authentic; while making the inference that those who pursue “safe, inoffensive” artistic choices, by not taking risks, are pursuing lower forms of art.


Revive, Reinvigorate, Renew: Making the old sound new 

“I really, really, truly, love electronic music, and I want it to be as good as it can be. I hope that by doing something unexpected, I can shake things up and hopefully inspire other artists to do something weird.” – Porter Robinson

So what do we do as creators and consumers of art to preserve its sanctity?

Ideologically, we might stand to collectively change the way we think about art and authenticity. Authenticity is not some modernist dirge, but a postmodern undertaking. What is authentic to one’s artistic process may not be to another. Authenticity then boils down to whatever is honest to one’s own human experience. Given how his Virtual Self identity is rooted in the fragmented nature of online identity, Robinson seems to understand what it means to live a postmodern life. Yet, Porter’s struggle over authenticity is evidence to the fact that we are still coping with the modernist sentiments of yesteryear in our postmodern time.

“And to be totally clear, I don’t think that Virtual Self, early 2000s trance, or digital abstract art are the solution or the future at all.”

Artistically, Porter is doing everything right! That is, he is evoking his Virtual Self identity to change the way music is experienced. At the same time, he is evoking his privilege as a commercially successful artist to package a different sound to the masses — a feat that would be much more difficult without the name recognition he earned from his earlier, safer pursuits.

If, as the postmodern turn suggests, the sanctity of art lays in its commodity status, then what is hallow about songs packaged onto iTunes for $1.99 a pop? Why the experience of course! The experience is the key to the spiritual domain, or the feeling of human connectedness. That is something capitalism can never imitate or reproduce. What Porter Robinson and artists like him understand so well is that the solution lays in experiencing music live.

Porter Robinson performs with Zedd on their 2013 Poseidon Tour. Photo cred: Rukes.

Thus, we return to the original point at hand: Robinson is neither the first nor last artist to straddle the contradictory space between art as a tool of honest self-expression and art as a commodity good. The aim of this observation is certainly not to condemn anyone who pursues art to make a living, but rather to unearth the many contradictions associated with living in capitalism.