Your ride to bliss is on Porcelain Raft’s debut


Strange Weekend

Porcelain Raft

Release Date: Jan 24, 12

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Mauro Remiddi is not a mafia son (prince?) but rather a name you actually should be uttering in public. The Italian man, better known as Porcelain Raft, comes straight from Italy, has traveled Europe for 27 years, and compiled over a hundred(s) of samples of music along the way. Movement and memories – his inspiration, his creation. Listening to his debut Strange Weekend will put you into perspective of the moment until the next track comes on and it’s a new moment. It’s all so personal, and yet I’m sure it would transcend into a public or +1 atmosphere seamlessly. While capturing mood as well as the lost sounds of British ambient pop (or at least the kind that succeeded here in the US decades ago), Remiddi seems a bit paradoxically stuck in time. And after all the days I’ve been listening to Strange Weekend, I can say I’ve been a little stuck in time myself. But maybe that’s the point – throw it on this upcoming weekend and see just how strange you get.

It’s always a good sign when you put an album on and feel like it’s narrating your life with just the first track – or as if your life should be following the same mood as the song. “Drifting In And Out” has that commercial air to it, but is more relaxed – it’s atmospheric and transient and is the part of the movie where everything focuses on you. The easy listening at its modern-day finest, with light pulse distortions and consistent steadiness to the ebb and flow of the words, a chorus repeating the title so that you may also feel like you’re caught in an attempt to be hypnotized. Probably good trying-to-get-to-sleep music.

If the Smashing Pumpkins had collaborated with Oasis circa “Wonderwall,” then Porcelain Raft is the resulting spawn. Knowing this now lets you sink into “Shapeless & Gone” with the simple strumming against the crackling background sounds, ambient soars of vocals and an overall feeling of contented joyousness. This is that scene in the movie where you get ready for the day in which you’ll do something really admirable, like open up your ice cream shop or pick up your bags and leave.

All sexual innuendos aside, “Is It Too Deep For You?” takes you in more into the electronica side of moodiness, bordering now on a David Gray kind of somber tone. This is the 90s. You are in London. It is raining. But you are dressed all in black (with some form of a bowl cut) in your white spotless flat. And this is the soundtrack to that shot of you looking intensely out of the window, a hand on the glass perhaps, the rain streaking in front of your face. Somebody get a camera. And turn the volume up on this.

This is the moment. The big moment. Big reverb moment, making me think possibly that it’s going to get scary as “Backwords” begins. But slow lyrics come in and I realize I will be, maybe, just maybe, feeling a little heartache by the end of this feel-good-in-a-kind-of-sad-way track. Like a small arena in sound, and a slow zoom on your face in visuals.

The beginning “Hey” throws me off as the next track comes on. I don’t like it. I hate useless words in music, like those weirdly placed yeahs that singers just toss out there with no context. Thankfully, “Unless You Speak From Your Heart” is devoid of such nonsense and I take back my hate of the start (sort of). It’s slow-motion fun in a fast-paced car or memory. It’s uplifting and calming.

By now, after having listened to this album on repeat for several days, and writing all that I have so far, I realize this is the possibly-perfect-pick-me-up-at-any-time-you’d-like album. Especially as the days become greyer and the sun sets right after high noon. And so concludes Strange Weekend, like one of these too-short days, with the ironically (but not hipster-ically so) titled “The Way In.” But then track one comes on and I’m set.