Over the course of two albums in four years, and an armful of EPs and singles, Mauro Remiddi has crafted a celestial body of work that drifts in and out of dream states.
Under the name Porcelain Raft, he has been a slippery artist to pin down, perhaps by design. You might think he’s an electronic pop musician adept at sound collages, which he is, but he’s also a singer and songwriter who has trained a gimlet eye on his place in the world.
Microclimate, his latest release, reveals Remiddi at the peak of his songwriting prowess.
As he puts it, his first two albums were exploratory, considering things he had never seen but had envisioned in his mind. On 2012’s Strange Weekend, his studio debut on Secretly Canadian, Remiddi was clearly on a quest. “I’ve never seen the desert before, to be close to nothing,” he sang on “Shapeless & Gone.”
But now he has, by way of Joshua Tree, and these 11 new songs are shot through with probing observations about the vast scope of the world and how we are but a minuscule part of it.
“Suddenly, with this new album, I’m in it,” he says.
“It” is shorthand for the broad horizon Remiddi now stares onto, particularly after relocating to California a few years ago. The dictionary definition of “microclimate” – “the essentially uniform local climate of a usually small site or habitat” – hardly captures the multitudes Remiddi mined from that notion.
“To me the album starts with nature, but it goes to the place that I always go: to the vivid dreams I have,” he says. “It feels like a last chapter of a journey. I don’t know what I’m going to do next, which doesn’t matter. For now, it feels like a circle has closed.”
The new album was borne out of a series of trips to exotic locales – Barbados, Bali, and California’s Big Sur – all strange lands to this Italian native who grew up in Rome and has since lived in London, New York, and now Los Angeles.
“I’ve always lived in cities where everything is made by humans to isolate yourself from nature, which is a dangerous thing,” he says. “The feeling I had in Barbados and Big Sur and certain parts of Bali when I went to these places, for the first time at 44, I felt like I was part of them. After always looking at nature from the distance, I was finally connecting with it.”
Buy the CD via Factory Flaws’ store.