Albums, Music, The Revue — February 8, 2017 at 6:00 am

Porcelain Raft – “Microclimate”

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Since arriving on the music scene in 2010 under the moniker Porcelain Raft, Italian-born, Los Angeles-based Mauro Remiddi swept listeners away with his ethereal ambience and soaring, transcendent anthems. The release of his third studio album (and thirteenth effort overall including ten EPs), Microclimate, is Remiddi’s most expansive effort to date and arguably his most rewarding endeavor.

The opener, “The Earth Before Us”, immediately introduces us to something new. Less than 90 seconds, the song is a guitar-driven, cinematic pop-song that welcomes us into Remiddi’s essay about our relationship with ourselves as well as with Earth. It is simultaneously warm and vibrant but underscored by a dark, sinister vibe. This is a sign of things to come.

The breathtaking moments upon which Remiddi has built a reputation are omnipresent. “Distant Shore” and “Big Sur” are the album’s signature moments. They are soaring numbers that hypothesize what harmony between us and our environment could be like. Whereas these songs were intended to psychologically move us, “Rolling Over” is a heart-stopping number, offering the feeling of a late-night run through deserted places. Meanwhile, “Rising” is trademark Porcelain Raft – an ethereal masterpiece that simultaneously rises deep into the interstellar and the subconscious.

But like all great stories, there are darker moments, and this is where Remiddi truly extends himself. These tracks also reveal his brilliant artistry. The highlight is “Accelerating Curve”, which is a stomach-churning but mesmerizing number as the drawn-out synths and guitars and the hammering rhythms fill the air with anguish, pain, and anxiety. Remiddi’s delivery on “The Greatest View” is hallowing, giving the song a sense of loss and confusion as if we are spiraling out of control.

Where we land could be in a place where we cannot reverse course, which is shared on the solemn closer, “Zero Frame Per Second”. The song is as much as a warning as it is a revelation, encapsulating Microclimate‘s core tenets and Remiddi’s thesis. Microclimate, as such, is not merely another album to entertain, but a thought exercise meant to challenge every perception of our personal and existential relationships. The album is just another example of Remiddi’s brilliance.

Microclimate is out now on Remiddi’s own Volcanic Field label. Order the album on Bandcamp.

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