Wake up all you dream pop fanatics, just long enough to open up your Spotify app, locate the album “Strange weekend” by Porcelain Raft, press play, and drift back into the musical haze of its opening track: “Drifting in and out”.
Yeah, that’s the spot. Right there. An itch you didn’t know you needed scratched. I know because I’ve been there myself. In fact, why don’t you go listen to it again. I’ll wait (or perhaps I’ll give it another go myself).
This beautiful piece and the nine tracks that follow it are the work of the unfortunately-named Porcelain Raft, a “basement” project of Italian-born composer/songwriter, Mauro Remiddi. “Strange weekend” was in fact the debut album under this name but you couldn’t mark Remiddi down as fresh-faced kid with a crazy dream, even at the time. He had already been at the music game for many years in 2012, cutting his teeth working as a musician in projects all around the world and dabbling in musical styles ranging from gypsy Klezmer music to North Korean traditional music.
This particular chapter in his music story was inspired by his move to New York City. Remiddi worked alone on the album, without a lot of external intervention, but it does not feel as detached and self-aggrandizing as these types of projects tend to feel. This could have something to do with how quickly Remiddi reportedly recorded the album, just focusing on the music in the moment, as fleeting as that can be.
“Strange weekend” was released very early in 2012. It made an impression on me from the get-go and though I remember doing my best to discover and listen to as much new music as I could that year, somehow, this one was never very far from my ear phones. So many great mind-expanding and explosive moments for me and I’ve likened it many times over to an alien retelling of Primal Scream’s “Screamadelica”. And it all starts here, with this track.
If you haven’t heard it already, I’ll just point out the similarity here to Chapterhouse’s “Mesmerise” and now you won’t be able unhear it. The dreamy danceable vibe. The skull latching medicine. The synths that flit about in shards of light and in between wispy clouds. The lasers beaming out from the retro spaceship. The half-remembered saturday night on the town played in reverse and in slow motion. This is blissful dream pop. Yeah, let’s listen to it again.
For the rest of the Best tunes of 2012 list, click here.