A wonderful Space-Time and South London’s Calling

October 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

Raf and O at the Apiary
Raf and O live at the Apiary, June 2015 Photo by Philip Seargeant.

October greetings!
It was one year this month since Richard Strange staged ‘Language Is A Virus From Outer Space’, a multimedia celebration of William S Burroughs at Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank.
Raf and O were invited as special guests alongside a stellar cast and we outed our latest version of  ‘Dream Machine’ to a full house! The whole event was extraordinary ending with a sea of Burroughs…; great memories, a wonderful space-time! (see last year’s blogs  here and here )

Mitra Music For Nepal is now released and as mentioned before Raf and O present a previously unreleased original track ‘With Fatzer’ (featuring piano/ vocals & electronics) alongside other artists and legends including, Sakamoto, Wolfang Flur, Scanner, The The, Nick Cave and Anni Hogan. Hogan, pianist extraordinaire and Marc Almond’s collaborator has painstakingly put together this wonderful project. Now you can get to hear it and if you haven’t bought the compilation yet, do it, you can get it here or many other digital outlets (all proceeds go to charity).

Talking about timings, this coming Saturday (October 24th) we’re once again sharing a bill with Anni Hogan, also Autorotation and Robinplayschords (who we’ve recently remixed for his 12″ release ). Full line up and details on the live page and on the flyer below. Really looking forward to join all and  return to the stylish settings of The Ivy House, a little gem on local ground, South London, a Kaparte  Oxjam and a charity event, don’t miss!
All details and tickets available here.
Continues below
Raf and O play Oxjam 2015
Photo of The Ivy House by Klarita Pandofi Carr

In summer we were commissioned to provide  sound design and music for a new play, a tribute to Cocteau. Premiered at Camden Fringe, ‘That Woman’s Voice’ was devised/  performed by Simona Continente and directed by Klarita Pandolfi Carr. O did the live tech and lights and together we wrote the music.
It was a priviledge to be a part of the play and to imagine and externalise the inner turmoil of Simona’s character through sound and music. A great experience!
Continues below
Raf and O sound for That Woman's Voice, a tribute to Cocteau b
Simona Continente at ‘That Woman’s Voice’. Photo by Raf Mantelli

Thanks to Scaledown for inviting us to perform last month, a really enjoyable night at the one and only King and Queen in the heart of London town.
“Aesthetically stunning and sonically astounding ….it’s Raf and O.” Scaledown aka The Orchestra Pit.
Londoners and South Londoners alike, get yourselves to The Ivy House this coming week-end! See you there!

Raf and O x

Raf and O at the Apiary b
Raf and O live at the Apiary, June 2015 Photo by Philip Seargeant.

Music For Nepal, Camden Fringe and a tribute to Cocteau, Records and Live News

June 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

Raf and O contribute to Music For Nepal

As warmer days stretch ahead, the golden evening shadows linger…….. we’re very honoured to be part of an extraordinary compilation to help the people of Nepal. Last year at Queen Elizabeth Hall ‘s Burroughs celebration, we shared the stage with the wonderful Anni Hogan; with Cathy O’Dowd, she has worked incredibly hard in putting together ‘Mitra Music for Nepal’ (Mitra means friends in Nepalese). Raf and O alongside other artists and legends including Ryuichi Sakamoto, Scanner, Steven Severin (Siouxie and the Banshees) , Wolfgang Flür (Kraftwerk), Anni Hogan herself, Martin Attrition, Richard Strange, Marcella Detroit, Billie Ray Martin, D. Coulter + Seb Rochford (see photo above for full list ) have contributed material to this release. Distributed by Sub Culture Records, it will be available 7th July, (here’s the FB Page ) please buy this unique release, all proceeds are going to the people of Nepal who need help to rebuild their world.
The track we’ve chosen for the compilation, ‘With Fatzer’ (inspired by a WW1 unfinished play by Bertolt Brecht) is an early and previously unrealesed Raf and O song, performed last year, only for the second time ever on the grand piano at Shoreditch Church!

Few more releases this summer also include RobinPlaysChords 12″ vinyl for Teardrop Girl-Star on Tiergarten, it features a Raf and O remix of  ‘Mercurial Son, alongside Larsen’s Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo and it is out now plus, we have also been included in a new Ex Gratia Recordings live compilation ‘Beg Yr Pardon’.

Raf and O have been commissioned to create new musical work and sound design for this year’s Camden Fringe, a very exciting project!
The show is a tribute to Jean Cocteau and The Human Voice. Devised by Simona Continente and directed by Klarita Pandolfi-Carr, ‘That Human Voice’ will be premiered at Birkbeck Studio Theatre, running from the 5th to the 7th August. Tickets are already on sale; available HERE
Continues Below (live news)

Raf and O blog - That Woman's Voice, Camden Fringe 2015

On the live front, a big thanks to Klarita Kaparte, Metamono and David Stubbs (DJ). A superb analogue fest from Metamono and a brilliant set from DJ Stubbs that included Bowie, Eno, Faust, Kraftwerk; Raf and O had a smashing time airing a new song, ‘Neurons’ plus a latest David Bowie fix! Yes, our version of ‘Win’ from ‘Young Americans’. Very grateful for such buoyant support from the audience!

” Great night last night at Bar & Co/Ship Of Fools with customarily excellent gigs from Raf Mantelli and O Richard Smith aka Raf & O and metamono, with myself DJing under my street moniker of DJ David Stubbs. Thanks to all who turned up and made it possible.'” David Stubbs

And last…overcoming a bumpy start to the month of June that made it impossible to play (!) we are now back on track, in time to join Raagnagrok and the fine Rude Mechanicals who have invited us to take part at their ‘Child Be Strange II’ show at the Apiary Studios, London.
See LIVE PAGE for details
We’re very much looking forward to perform again, come celebrate with us all things summer, all things strange, all things and feeling renewed – at the Apiary.

Raf and O X
Back to

Music For Nepal and More To Follow

June 25, 2015 § Leave a comment


Raf and O blog - Mitra Music For Nepal


Metamono, Raf and O, Dj David Stubbs at Ship Of Fools and News from Silencio

April 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

April greetings!
Only ten days away … Countdown!

Raf and O in association with Kaparte proudly presents a very special event at the Ship Of Fools, London, May 3rd, featuring live sets  from Metamono, Raf and O and David Stubbs will be our very special guest DJ!
Needless to say we are very excited to be performing at this wonderful bill! Metamono are a band who make beautifully pure analogue electronic music with a unique manifesto.
Head honcho Jono Podmore had already lent his excellent sonic contribution remixing Raf and O on the Time Machine EP under the guise of Kumo, which was released March last year.
We are very honoured to have the legendary music journalist David Stubbs on board this night as a special guest DJ, David has supported us on numerous occasions since he first came to see us performing at Memory Of A Free Festival and reviewed our album last year for the Quietus.
All is happening at Klarita Kaparte’s beloved boat with wonderful views of the Thames!
Setting sonic sails, there will be lots of live music to float and to throb to, plus we’ll all be voyaging through analogue, krautrock, electro, Bowie and more!!
Only £5 (that’s right, a fiver only) for tickets and it’s a bank holiday, so plenty of time to recover. Hurry, as tickets will not hang around for long. Not to be missed!! Get TICKETS HERE
Continues below

Raf and O, Metamono, Dj David Stubbs at Ship Of Fools

In the meantime, we’ve just returned from Hertfordshire, where we were invited to play Silencio. Set in Watford, Silencio is a beautiful event organised by Skopje. It was a delight to perform there and to find a great audience and reception! We want to thank wholeheartedly so many of you who purchased our album on the night, Time Machines are now voyaging the time and spaces of Herts (and we apparently broke sales records!!)
Thanks to John Flashbulb Goode for capturing the event. See photo below.

Other news includes our contribution to this year’s Sonic Circuit, Queering Sound, running this June in Washington DC and RobinPlaysChords 12” vinyl, which features a Raf and O Remix, is now in production.

See you on May 3rd!

Raf and O X

photos by John Flashbulb GoodeRaf and O at Silencio


Twenty Fifteen

March 12, 2015 § Leave a comment


Our first blog of 2015!
A heartfelt thank you to those who contributed in making 2014 a truly meaningful year in the world of Raf and O. You can time machine your way back via our blogs and trace elements and people in our journey, reviews and photographs of the shows we had the pleasure and the fortune to be part of: these included the majestic settings of Shoreditch Church, David Bowie’s Memory Of A Free Festival and Language is A Virus at Queen Elizabeth Hall!
But fear not, as more is happening this year! As we’re beavering away, working towards our next musical adventures, we thought it was about time to surface and keep you posted on things.

“Live, I found this spellbinding to watch… The album like their performances suspends you between swoon and shudder: a fantastic release” Adrian Specs

In January, Raf and O were picked by Adrian Ainsworth as one of the musical highlights of the year for his Specs blogspot. Last year we received some great press, you can still find the album (Time Machine) and other releases on our Bandcamp page.
Time Machine vision. photo by Luigi Altilia. Continues below.
Raf and O - Photo from 'Time Machine'

On the gigging front, after rocking the Boat Party last December with dear friend Klarita Kaparte, Ernesto Tomasini and R in parenthesis we kicked off the New year by joining friends in the beautiful creative space of I’Klectik gallery, London Waterloo. ‘Can You See Your Shadow?’ a fitting name for this cold Sunday of February, saw Raf and O perform on the bill alongside Madam, Jo Quail, the Soap Company DJ and Autorotation, who, together with Oil54 organised the event. 
Both shows brought an attentive crowd and we’re grateful for the energy received; as much as we need isolation to create, just as much we yearn to connect once the work is done.
Extra thanks go to author Carya Gish for her compelling live review. Carya who is about to write her new book has chosen our ‘Strange’ to be part of her playlist alongside PJ Harvey and more. 

“Raf and O’s songs seem to stand on the undefined border between dreams and nightmares, as if on the steps of a majestic but crumbling haunted mansion echoing with the ghosts of the past and the future…the singer’s demeanour is also interesting: petite and fragile in appearance as she clutches her red guitar, her steely stare and very slight twitches inspire respect and make her a compelling and disquieting performer…Industrial, trip-hop, free jazz, electronic, folk.” Miss Gish Blog.

Photo courtesy of Ange LM Photography. More below
Raf and O live at I Klectik

Meanwhile, Richard Strange has informed us that works have begun on editing the film from last year’s William Burroughs event, at Queen Elizabeth Hall where Raf and O appeared as special guest with a live performance of Dream Machine. (See previous blog). We’re excited and we’ll keep you posted with the latest developments.

Expect more live shows soon and something different is also brewing for the summer. Dates will be posted on our Live page and of course Facebook and Twitter.
We cherish your support and attendance.

Raf and O x

Dream Machine, Southbank and a Sea of Burroughs. ‘Mona Lisa Smiles’ is Released and the Thames is Calling

November 27, 2014 § Leave a comment


It’s been a while since our last blog and there’s so much to talk about! Firstly… we’re delighted to be special guests at the Xmas Boat Party by our dear friend Klarita of Kaparte Promotions, with the fabulous Ernesto Tomasini as a DJ and in the fine company of R in Parenthesis (Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo’s solo project) on the London leg of his Winter European tour. Fabrizio has worked with David Tibet, Little Annie, Matmos, Xiu Xiu and Ernesto himself to name a few!
Join us on December 7th for this very special date at the Ship of Fools Club and it’s set to be Raf and O’s last gig of this year!

Last month, O and I got to perform at the Queen Elizabeth Hall! Part of the Literature Festival on the Southbank, the ‘gonzo gala cut-up evening’ to celebrate 100 years of William S Burroughs was masterminded by the one and only musician/ actor Richard Strange. A tremendous event, we were incredibly honoured to perform alongside a brilliant cast of musicians, actors and writers including Bill Nelson, Sarah Jane Morris, The Doctors Of Madness, Anni Hogan, David Coulter with Seb Rochford, Rupert Thompson, the original Black Rider band and Gavin Bryars. All performed and/or presented new material. The spectacular ending saw “a procession of WSB guitarists descending from the audience” and a sea of Burroughs (UV fluorescent WSB masks, which were handed out to the audience in the break) loomed large.
In darkness we mounted a drum riser, which was rolled to the front of the stage. The lights came on and Raf and O performed ‘Dream Machine’, our Gysin/ Burroughs inspired piece to a packed, attentive, house!
A real thrill and a show to remember in so many ways, a massive thanks to Richard Strange for asking us to be part of it! And thanks to the people  who took part, the crew, the audience and all who supported the event.
Another special thanks go to the brilliant journalist David Stubbs who has been regularly supporting us in the last few months. Very thankful for his words.

“I was at the QEH for a Burroughs night, where I saw Raf Mantelli and O Richard Smith, aka Raf and O, deliver a superb if too short set to the large and appreciative audience they really deserve.” – David Stubbs

Thanks to Christina Jansen photography (http://www.cjansenphotography.com) who captured splendidly the whole event. See photos below.
Futher thanks goes to Peter Cook who wrote “Simply superb Raf and O, a new talent which must be seen” and Steve Ash “The duo Raf and O followed with some more Burroughsian music entitled Dream Machine bringing the show back to its high quality musical base”. Very sadly, Steve passed away shortly after the show and more recently, Stoner, the bass player from The Doctors Of Madness (who had re-united for this show after 36 years) has also left this Earth.

RIP Steve and Stoner

Following on from the QEH, Richard  invited us to return to the legendary Cabaret Futura and we’ve recently played a live set in the very lovely settings of Battersea Barge, supporting Robinplayschords who has just released his debut single. A 12″ version which also features a remix by Raf and O will be out early in the new year.
In the meantime we’re really happy to announce our latest musical work and contribution to this excellent release of remixes and reconstructions. ‘My God It’s Full Of Stairs’ on Mark Beazley’s beautiful own label Trace Recordings is OUT NOW! It features Raf and O’s ‘Mona Lisa Smiles’, a five and a half minutes rework and reconstruction (with added vocals and instrumentation) of BLK TAG’ s album ‘A Distilled + Debilitating Loneliness’. It also features works from Rothko, Gagarin, Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo, BLK w/BEAR and many others! You can now listen and grab yourself a copy HERE!

Sea you on the boat!
Raf and O at Queen Elizabeth Hall + Burroughs' Language Is A Virus'
Photos by Christina Jansen, at http://www.cjansenphotography.com

Echoes and Dreams. From Beckenham Bowie to the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Raf and O join Richard Strange & the Doctors Of Madness to celebrate William S Burroughs

September 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

Raf and O - Memory Of A Free Festival 2014 - 2Raf and O - Memory Of A Free Festival 2014 - 3

Photos from live footage by Ashley Jones AKA The Chaos Engineers and Matt Lloyd

Beckenham, 16th August 2014, 1.10pm
Raf and O get ready to play on the bandstand. No rain this year, a tentative sun breaks in and out. It’s pretty early and the people are slowly meandering in; an attentive, compact and special crowd watches as the action begins. To celebrate the return onto the bandstand we launch into a rendition of David Bowie’s ‘Cygnet Committee’. It’s the first time we’re playing it, but it ‘s the perfect place to do it. Then a new song of ours, ‘Echoes’; again a totally fresh track, followed by songs from our latest album Time Machine including ‘Lady Grinning Soul’.
Special thanks go to David Stubbs, author of the latest book on Krautrock ‘Future Days’, the legendary music journalist, who recently reviewed us in the Quietus, came down to watch and hear us play. He later wrote something quite beautiful:

“Earlier today at the Memory Of A Free Festival in Beckenham – Raf Mantelli and O Richard Smith, aka Raf And O, playing an excellent set of their tremulous, exquisitely detailed avant pop to an appreciative audience, many of whom were locals who’d never heard the like but very much liked the like. This site, this very bandstand was where David Bowie played at the Beckenham Free Festival 45 years ago to the day in 1969” David Stubbs.

It was a privilege to perform once again on the Beckenham bandstand. Big thanks to Natasha Ryzhova, Mary Finnigan, Amory & Bill, Roger Wootton of legendary Comus, thank you for your words, honoured to share the stage, along with all artists and folks helping and working hard toward the Festival. Thank you to David Bowie for donating once again to the auction, Tony Visconti, Woody Woodmansey, Holy Holy etc. Details were announced on David Bowie Official website.
And a big thank you goes to Ashley Jones AKA The Chaos Engineers and Matt Lloyd for filming us in action. Here is a live footage of ‘Echoes’. Continues below.

‘Eyes closed, wild walls, wild thoughts, visions… so that I can dream, with the dream machine’ (from ‘Dream Machine’ by Raf and O)

Shoreditch, 28th August 2014, evening time.
O and I have come down to ‘Animals In The Walls’, the latest William S Burroughs and Burroughs inspired artists exhibition of original artworks, ‘so that we can dream with the dream machine’. Having written a song about it earlier in the year, inspired by watching the ‘Flicker’ documentary, now it was the time for the direct experience. And so it was. Richard Strange came down too and took part in the ritual. Eyes were positively open as regards to the rest of the exhibition. Running till the 7th. Wonderful to discover us on the Burroughs page too (see picture below).

It’s now just over one month before Raf and O will be joining the amazing Richard Strange and the Doctors Of Madness (who will be reforming for a single one-off performance) with a bill of wonderful artists in another radical celebration of William S Burroughs ‘Language is  A Virus From Outer Space’.  The World Premiere will be at London’s prestigious Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank on October 11th 2014, and will feature musical contributions from Richard Strange, Gavin Bryars, Doctors of Madness, Bill Nelson, Audrey Riley, Sarah-Jane Morris, Raf and O, Kate St John, Anni Hogan, David Coulter and Seb Rochford, Terry Edwards, Luca Silvestrini, the young musicians ensemble We Are Chidren. Gavin Turk, Haroon Mirza, Rupert Thomson and Jeremy Reed.

We are incredibly excited to be part of this wonderful and unique event!

Raf and O X


Raf and O - Bowie 's Festival, Burroughs, Richard Strange, Dream Machine——–


    FACT magazine Top 10 album of 2014 picked by Joe Muggs

    "The excellent Time Machine represents the very antithesis of EDM ..There is a butterfly, acoustic delicacy about tracks like 'Mad And Brilliant', and yet also the deceptive, steel strength of spider silk in their complex weaving - Raf's vocal ranges far and wide in her emotional and lyrical foragings…Freeze-frame any given second of this album and it'll reveal a hive of pixellated, analogue activity...As with Time Machine as a whole, it's an approach you'd do well to take up, if you know what's good for you."

    "One of the more memorable events of the Beckenham Festival in September 2013 was RAF AND O’s haunting performance of David Bowie’s Lady Grinning Soul"

    "A beguiling slice of noir-pop...a total treat"

    "Tripped-out hypnotic Raf and O embody the exploratory art school/mime period Bowie. Their sound springs from a conjuncture of Aladdin Sane and The Man Who Fell To Earth, but with an added allure of trip-hop...Tender and diaphanous, from bent out of shape Air meets folkloric avant-noir to ESG and Radiohead’s Hail To The Thief"

    "Whispering their song like tomorrow's cautionary lullabies sent backward to today as an omen of intrigue."


    “Interstellar spaciousness” EXCLAIM MAGAZINE

    "Four versions of the leading ‘Time Machine’ journey beyond the stratosphere, kooky, mysterious and breathy, attracting an impressive trio of sonic cosmonauts"

    “Very creative. I enjoyed it a lot” MIKE GARSON

    “Raf and O caress Bowie” BOWIE WONDERWORLD

    “A moving Avant – Bizarre version of Lady Grinning Soul” GOD IS IN THE TV ZINE


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