Escape through looking inward
Mauro Remiddi’s musical journey is fascinating. From scoring tap dance performances to playing accordion in a klezmer trio, to playing piano for an Off-Broadway show, Remiddi has done it all. His eclectic influences translate subtly in his solo works as Porcelain Raft, combining the dreamy indie-pop sound with a hint of electronic ambiance to create spacey soundscapes. In his latest album, Come Rain, Remiddi strips back while still hinting at his old sound to capture how the pandemic has put life in his home country Italy to a halt through the lens of introspection.
Remiddi vaguely encourages escapism on the more stripped back tracks whose messages can be undermined by their lack of urgency. “Out of Time” depicts his desire to escape his old life while trying to persuade an ambiguous “you” to make up their mind and come with him: “wasting my time/ unless you let me know.” However, the repetitive laid back drums and guitar undermine the urgency of an already lyrically vague track, diminishing his persuasion. “Tall Grass” adds lyrical and musical specificity to Remiddi’s fantasy. The interesting chord progression with dreamy vocal harmonies and arpeggios highlights the lyrical theme of overcoming inhibitions to explore the vastness of the world: “giant marble rocks are shaking the Earth, right on my floor/ a ball of light in my head.” However, he returns to vague descriptions and empty encouragements in “For A While.” The Jake Bugg-esque ballad tries to continue the sentiment of the two aforementioned tracks, but the lines, “we are here just for a while/ I’m not wasting time,” display a laughably contradictory hesitation which undermines every call-to-action that precedes and follows.
Remiddi shines on Come Rain’s more introspective cuts that hint back to his old, more expansive, sound. While “The Crow and the Rainbow” remains simple with the rhythmic guitar and the laid-back beat, the subtle touch of muffled synths in the background provides an ambiance of uncertainty. The track is as angsty as it is self-aware, creating a nuanced narrative: pondering his lack of perspective in the verse and resenting his betrayed love in the chorus. Going from soaring belts to dreamy humming, His vocal performance effectively conveys this nuance. His layered soundscape and compelling performance are also highlighted in the haunting “Into The Light” and the glorious “Come Rain.” Both tracks feature dramatic vocals soaring over lush orchestration and harmonies, depicting precisely the complex mixture of poignancy, anxiety, and hope that inspired this album.
Come Rain tries to inspire escapism through the lens of Remiddi’s introspection. While a few oversights in songwriting and production undermine this attempt, the album still manages to capture the current global uncertainty that inspired its release. In most tracks, Remiddi intentionally leaves both the identity of “you” and his destination ambiguous as if to welcome projection. Through Come Rain, Remiddi invites his audience to escape with him from the overarching uncertainty in the world to wherever their dreams may lead.