Porcelain Raft eases out of the shadows

Calming effect
By ANNIE ZALESKI  |  May 22, 2012

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SNAPSHOT POP "When you go to a small party and you introduce yourself — you don't want to tell
the story of your life," says Mauro Remiddi of Porcelain Raft. "You just say 'Hi.'"

Although Porcelain Raft released their debut full-length, Strange Weekend (Secretly Canadian), earlier this year, the project's mastermind, Mauro Remiddi, is no novice. The official label biography accompanying Strange Weekend details some of his musical exploits — "caravanning with the Berlin Youth Circus playing traditional gypsy/Klezmer music, reinterpreting traditional music in North Korea, and a stint playing piano for an Off Broadway tap dance show" — while in conversation, the Italian native also mentions he spent time DJing and playing the piano in hotel bars.

With so much experience under his belt, it raises the question: why did Remiddi decide now was a good time to release music using the moniker Porcelain Raft? "I don't know — that's a good question I cannot really answer," he says, on the phone from his adopted hometown of New York City. "Since I remember, I was always home recording. But I wouldn't let anybody listen to it. . . . It was just for my own entertainment. And with this project, I wasn't feeling that way anymore. I wasn't afraid anymore to show certain things. When you record stuff at home, and you have all this intimacy and space, everything comes out. Anything — it could be you being boring, or it could be you not being brilliant all the time. So either you show it all — or you don't. I didn't show it at all. And now I feel like, 'I don't care.' "

Remiddi laughs. "I'm showing all — this process of me being what I am plus me being boring or me being brilliant."

Still, Strange Weekend is anything but mundane. Remiddi's diaphanous, high vocals slip in and out of the sonic haze, which encompasses glitchy programming, mournful acoustic strumming, disorienting electronic sketches, and throbbing beats. However, it's tough to find solid comparisons for Porcelain Raft — narcoleptic M83, smoggy Destroyer, kissing cousin of recent tourmate Youth Lagoon? — just as it's tough to pinpoint their temporal or genre signifiers. Strange Weekend replicates a foggy existence where it's difficult to tell where reality ends and where dreams begin. But as its title implies, the album represents a finite amount of time in this mist — which is exactly what Remiddi desired.

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"I didn't want [the album] to sum the parts of a lifetime," he says. "I just wanted to be me, at the moment in New York. That's what I wanted — a snapshot of myself at the moment. It's just like when you go to a small party and you introduce yourself, you don't want to tell the story of your life. You just say 'Hi.' " He laughs. "This album, for me, was a way to say 'Hi.' I think also that's the way I want to proceed, even in the future with my albums. I want them to be snapshots, like the page of a diary of me at the moment in that space. That's something I want to keep. I'm more interested in the method with which you do something. I'm not interested in the style of it."

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