Is Anyone There?

> Oh…

> Hi!

Sad Machine by Porter Robinson

Who survived?
Somebody new?
Anyone else but you?

On a lonely night
Was a blinding light.
A hundred leaders would be borne of you.

And though I know, since you’ve awakened her again
She depends on you, she depends on you
She’ll go alone, and never speak of this again
We depend on you, we depend on you

I don’t know much about your life beyond these walls
The fleeting sense of love within these God-forsaken halls
And I can hear it in his voice, in every call
This girl who’s slept a hundred years has something after all

And though I know, since you’ve awakened her again
She depends on you, she depends on you
I’ll go alone, and never speak of you again
We depend on you, we depend on you

“I just thought the notion of a human and robot duet was something that was really beautiful and touching to me. And that vibe really evoked the whole feeling of fantasy and fiction and escapism that I wanted to album to have.”

– Porter Robinson

Music has evolved so much side by side as humans and his culture had also evolved. Now at the dawn of the 21st Century, music is now being produced digitally with the aid of technology. Synthetic and Electric voices are now a new genre of music with the ever increasing use of technology in all aspects of the arts, especially in the music industry.

One of the music born out of this zeitgeist is the song entitled, “Sad Machine“. A media content in the form of a music video, it was made and recorded by the American electronic music producer Porter Robinson. In his budding career as a young music producer, Robinson found himself being drawn and having deep respect for the Japanese culture.

“I wanted to have a grander vision, something that I felt like I was really fighting for and I wanted to have a real idea and be authentic. I wanted what I was doing to be really true to me and my tastes. That’s what Worlds was, me taking a break from what I was doing and doing something that was honest, authentic and real. So that’s how I ended up there. It was not a response to EDM. It wasn’t me trying to give the finger to EDM. It was just what I was in love with and what I wanted write.”

 – Porter Robinson

Sad Machine was the last song the Robinson wrote for his debut studio album, Worlds. Robinson described the tone of the song to be “Fragile and vulnerable… but wistful and nostalgic.” He has also stated that the song is one of his favorites on the album.

It really did felt like there was a feeling of longing and sadness through the song. There were real emotions that were authentic and that only a music artist who has passion and experience can only truly create and that my friends, is what I really call beautiful. A culmination of experiences and passion expressed in a media content is one of the wonders of today’s modern technology.

There is actually a crazy huge amount of creativity in Robinson’s techniques in creating his music with technology being involved during the creation of the song Sad Machine. First is that he used soundfonts, which are low-quality emulations of real-life instruments. He used these soundfonts to emulate the music from the 1998 video game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Another is the use of the newly developed voice software technology Vocaloid,  AVANNA, to provide the lead vocals for the song, to which Robinson technically described it as “Like a text to speech software, except that you can assign notes to each syllable.”

There is a kind of like purpose or a reason maybe why Robinson made Sad Machine. First is the expression of emotion and the love for the music especially in EDM. Second is to portray an idea or feeling of escapism, the tendency to detach from the unpleasant, boring, arduous, scary, or banal aspects of daily life. Which then leads us to the idea that this idea of escapism is being primed to the audience regardless of them being the target or the unintentional audience. The idea that people use the song as a frame of reference in their lives as they associate the song with the idea of escaping the harshness of reality something that is actually tolerable. Add it with Robinson’s Album Worlds, creating songs through time overly repeating the same kind of feeling and idea in each of the songs created.

Almost every single song on Worlds is supposed to evoke the feeling of stories. I’m often asked if there is an actual literal story that I’m describing. There’s not, it’s just supposed allude or give the feeling of a narrative that doesn’t really exist or isn’t real. I think that the lyrics of “Sad Machine” are mostly just composed of phrases that I felt were kind of poetic and nice and sang well, but also give that sort of fiction, escapism kind of vibe. Like “She depends on you,” I was so happy when I stumbled upon that lyric. Like, that’s so nice, something about it pulls out all of the feelings that I want to pull out. It’s not about anyone in my life or anything like that, it’s just my approach to music.

 – Porter Robinson

The main idea that the music video represents is the idea of escapism, that in the harshness and dullness of reality, we can actually find solace and distraction from such to preserve ourselves and prevent us from losing sanity. It just strongly attests to the idea although the lyrics don’t explicitly say it, the idea of escapism is creatively expressed through the music. What is seriously omitted from the music video is the idea of what will happen once people started to look into escapism for comfort instead of choosing bravely to face the problems and hardships. The implication of such could be very bad for individuals when they start running away from reality.

The feeling of calmness of the music and the way it is made may represent the idea of escapism, but I do truly think we should not overly tolerate such idea and apply it to our lives.

Obviously, the content of the media is directed towards the digital natives or those who are well versed with the use of internet and technology. The unintended audiences are those who are the laggards or are struggling to know and keep up with the technology in modern times. With the music created heavily on technology it is no wonder that most of the people who will receive the music well are those who are well versed in such format of the creation of art.

> Pizzo, Mike “DJ” (2015-10-05). “Porter Robinson Reflects on “Worlds,” One Year Later: The gifted young producer revisits his seminal debut track-by-track, with a new remix album in tow”. Medium. Retrieved 07-25-2017.
> Times, Music (2015-10-05). “Porter Robinson ‘Worlds’ Remixed Released: Odesza, Mat Zo, Sleepy Tom Featured”Retrieved 07-25-2017
>  “Hot Dance/Electronic Songs”. August 30, 2014. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved July 25, 2017.

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