Porcelain Raft

Completed Circuit

Feb 13, 2011 Issue #35 - Winter 2011 - Death Cab for Cutie Bookmark and Share


 

Mauro Remiddi believes one of the key elements to his songwriting process is achieving a level of exhaustion. Writing, recording, and mixing a new song in a single day is a common occurrence for the 38-year-old, who regularly sequesters himself in his small London flat. Because he progresses from start to finish so quickly, Remiddi says his work often feels like “an afterthought, like finally you think of what actually happened. I listen to what I do a lot afterwards just to understand what I’m doing. It’s like a snapshot, where CHA! You do this Polaroid and just when it’s done you wait until it gets in focus and finally you see what you’ve done.”

Over the past few months, Remiddi and his stunningly prolific performance-capture sessions have caused an excitement among British tastemakers that has gradually worked its way across the Atlantic. Performing under the guise Porcelain Raft, Remiddi has already self-released three critically lauded EPs (Collection of Porcelain, Gone Blind, and Curve) as well as numerous downloadable singles available on his website. Utilizing a mix of loop stations, samplers, distortions, and delays as a backdrop to his fuzzy pop melodies and sweet vocal delivery, Remiddi’s cracking psychedelia feels like the sound of someone passively moving through a powerfully dark place.

The emergence of Porcelain Raft came with a long gestation period, as Remiddi spent the past 20 years shelving his more experimental compositions in favor of whatever band he was attached to at the time. “I always had a double life in music,” he says. “Finally, something clicked. It’s as if before I didn’t want to show it around, as if I couldn’t accept the fact that those things were imperfect, as if there was something about me that was not right. Suddenly—I don’t know now, maybe it’s maturity—I don’t give a shit.”

Much of Porcelain Raft’s aesthetic can be traced to Remiddi’s upbringing in Rome. As a boy, he gleaned from the limited record collection of his parents. His mother was enamored with the David Bowie-influenced Italian pop singer

Renato Zero and his father was obsessed with Pink Floyd. Other influences, however, were more abstract in nature. As a teenager, Remiddi spent years living next to a power station.

“When I mean next to, I mean a few meters away,” he remembers. “From my window I could see it clearly. And of course I could hear—after days, after months, after years living there—this constant humming.” Remiddi believes the humming is still in his head when he’s writing. “The melodies come out because I have that type of sensibility to write them,” he explains, “but then the humming comes after, and I think it comes from that time I was living there.”

Remiddi, who appeared stateside at last year’s CMJ, says that one of his main goals in the coming months is to tour and play as much as he can, and take some time to make a proper full-length debut. “I just need a place where I can turn the amps a little bit louder,” he says. “To be honest with you I’m ready now. Anytime. So as soon as I have a chance to bring all my instruments in a room where I can be a bit loud, I’m going to record it. And my idea is to not plan anything; to go there and to compose on the spot.”

Whatever develops out of his constant writing, recording, and online postings, Remiddi’s exertions are met with equal resilience. The power plant of his youth has become a metaphor for him and Porcelain Raft. “It’s something which you know has so much energy and so much electricity but you don’t see anything,” he says. “It’s there, and you don’t see anything but you feel it. You don’t even know why but you feel it. I think that’s the music.” (www.porcelainraft.com)

 



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