Home recordings give rise to certain expectations: organic production, no-frills execution, raw creativity expressed through scrappy experiments. Assembled in a Brooklyn basement, Porcelain Raft’s debut Strange Weekend has this DIY aesthetic, but tolerates no defects in presentation. Italy native Mauro Remiddi’s solo project is built on meticulously constructed and delicately polished dream-pop soundscapes, delivered with urgency and momentum. Despite the emphasis on textures over hooks, he doesn’t neglect his songwriting duties, and the album’s best tracks—“Put Me To Sleep” and “Unless You Speak From Your Heart”—pulse with movement, driven by bubbling beats and brisk rhythms.
Remiddi’s hollow vocals, often folded into echoing harmonies, coat his compositions in a sonic frost and give the record a shivery tone. Strange Weekend has much more tension than the average chillwave record, however. He isn’t tied to his keyboards and laptops, using guitars and strings to add depth to “Backwords,” underpin the stripped-down “Picture,” and develop plodding drama in “Is It Too Deep For You?”
Not all of his ideas are winners, and a few tracks float off aimlessly into the shoegaze ether. Strange Weekend is only 34 minutes long, and there’s still quite a bit that could have been left off. But even when they don’t ultimately pan out, the album’s broad explorations of moods and atmospheres show a touch of personal handicraft behind the painstaking preparation.