Porcelain Raft - Permanent Signal

It’s just like starting over as Mauro Remiddi goes more organic and less claustrophobic.


“The way you begin it decides the way that you own it,” goes the first verse of ‘Think Of The Ocean’ – lead single and album opener of Porcelain Raft’s second album. Perhaps a reassurance to himself or more a statement of intent because, for Mauro Remiddi, ‘Permanent Signal’ is almost like starting over completely. Inspired by the feeling of detachment stemming from touring his first album ‘Strange Weekend’, Remiddi sold all of his former instruments in exchange for a singular modular synthesiser and an altogether less dense approach. And the result is really quite dreamy.

Feeding off an ambient layer of synths and electronics, ‘Think Of The Ocean’ welcomes the new sound in immediately. Sure, it’s filled out with a blend of piano and cello but laid out so delicately, they just add to the spaciousness of the composition, allowing Remiddi’s yearning vocals to float over the top effortlessly. In fact, it’s his vocals that really shine through on ‘Permanent Signal’. Where as on ‘Strange Weekend’ the haunting croons got lost in the restless rhythms – barely audible in places – these sparser compositions allow Remiddi’s vocals to be brought much more into the foreground of each track.

Though it’s not so much that he’s completely ditched the blissed-out, gauzy dream-pop as he has utilised it with more intensity. ‘The Way Out’ is still beat and drone-heavy and the likes of ‘Warehouse’ and ‘Echo’ still writhe in a synthesised haze; it’s just that they’re more organic and less claustrophobic. The same could be said for the gothic-tinged organ introduced on ‘Minor Pleasure’ and glistening guitars of the Beach House-esque ‘Night Birds’, which replace the electronics of the first album. No doubt helped along by the relocation from his bedroom to a studio for the recording process, it’s the strings, keys and percussion that take prominence this time around. But the effect is just as hypnotising.

So while ‘Permanent Signal’ may have taken a whole new approach by Remiddi, the shimmering atmospherics still weave their way through each track. It’s woozy, dreamlike bliss and Mauro Remmidi owns it well.
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