Porcelain Raft: The Half Awake EP Release Party

Friday night saw the crowd at Baby’s All Right welcome the release of Half Awake, the new EP from Porcelain Raft that came out earlier this month. Porcelain Raft is the solo project of Italian-born Mauro Remiddi, who recently launched his own record label, Volcanic Field. As if both of those accomplishments weren’t enough reason to celebrate, the audience was already in high spirits from that morning’s Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage a right nationwide, a feat that was proudly announced onstage by a majority of the night’s performers and was met with cheers each time.

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Half Awake is a superb addition to Remiddi’s already extensive catalog; this being his 10th EP and the follow-up to his full-length 2013 album Permanent Signal. The night’s set consisted mainly of tracks from the new EP plus Permanent Signal, and his 2012 album Strange Weekend.

The sound of Porcelain Raft is hard to fully articulate. It’s a unique amalgamation of ambient pop, shoegaze, and something that sounds a bit like early Jesus and Mary Chain, and Half Awake is no exception. It’s miles and miles of dreamy reverb, led by an androgynous-voiced angel. “Love Chain” stands out as the most pop-oriented track on the EP, following a more traditional song structure and featuring a chorus that quietly demands you sing along.

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Remiddi is most well known for his poppier singles, including “The Way Out” and “Cluster”, which are both fantastic tracks. But to focus only on his bigger releases would be to miss out on the genius of his experimental nature. His setup onstage consists of a microphone, guitar, a series of synthesizers, a keyboard, and some effects pedals. He creates the music from scratch right in front of the audience, allowing them to become part of his creative process.

During his set, Remiddi also performs a couple of “acoustic” songs, e.g. songs he performs using only vocals and his electric guitar with no added effects. While singing, he steps away from the mic, still playing, but using only the natural amplification of his voice to carry his lyrics across the crowd. It’s a beautiful moment, and stands as testament to his natural ability as a performer. The show ends with Echo, which is left to loop when Remiddi disappears backstage. The audience soaks up these last moments, staring off into the smoke and colored lights on an otherwise empty stage.

Listen: “Love Chain” from Half Awake EP