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Porter Robinson Announces Debut Album via Cryptic, 10-Hour YouTube Video

Screen grab from Porter Robinson's 'Worlds' announcement video

Porter Robinson has spoken at length about wanting to do things differently with his debut album. In November, he told Billboard point blank that the record will not be “the next big EDM” album. He’s certainly succeeded in shaking things up as far as his official album announcement goes. Just posted to YouTube this afternoon, it’s a 10-hour video — yes, that’s right, 10 hours, almost enough time to fly from New York to Los Angeles and back, if the winds were in your favor — and while we haven’t watched the whole thing yet, a quick skim is enough to confirm that it has even less narrative than Pharrell’s Oscar-tipped (well, to perform it there, anyway), 24-hour-long “Happy” video.

Fewer characters, too. Aside from a brief introduction featuring digitally manipulated images of a forest flyover (his native North Carolina, perhaps?), the majority of the video consists only of cryptic digital shapes (a horse, a hand, a blob, a kangaroo), emoticons, and glyphs like “?a????a?.” (That’s not quite right, but to be honest, we can’t find the right symbol keys in Microsoft Word to even replicate what he’s done here.) Over it all, a gravelly, bit-crushed voice intones “Worlds” over the kind of grumbling oscillators you’d be more likely to find on an Actress record.

What is going on here? Is this a timely tribute to the Beatles’ “Revolution No. 9”? Are there clues hidden between the pixels, after the fashion of Boards of Canada’s Tomorrow’s Harvest Easter Egg hunt? Is the whole thing just designed as a sleep aid for a particularly creepy night of (un)rest?

We really couldn’t begin to tell you. (And, spoiler alert, fast-forwarding to the end won’t help.) Worlds, to be released on Astralwerks, is “coming soon,” according to a note on Robinson’s Facebook page. Until then, let the head-scratching commence.

Oh, also? We kind of told you this sort of thing was going to start happening.