Gazing Ahead to The Space Between Nothing And Desire + Celebrating Kate Bush with The Kick Inside Launch and a Live Session on the DeXter Bentley Show
February 11, 2018 § Leave a comment
It’s 2018 and we’re kicking off with live activities again!
Kate Bush has given music lovers something to treasure: a great musician and producer, a brilliant composer and an amazing most unique voice. This year and month marks the 40th anniversary of Kate and her debut album. Adopting their name from this album,TKI or The Kick Inside, a tribute to Kate Bush by Raf and O (see previous blog), perform tracks from her early albums fully live, elegantly and stylishly capturing the energy, excitement and fragility of Kate’s music on vocals, piano and double bass. Celebrating Kate, The Kick Inside Launch, promoted by the always excellent Kaparte, is in London at Bar & Co, the club on a boat, Temple Pier, on Sunday 25th February. It is also O Richard’s birthday and Raf, will keep celebration on hold till then.
‘We’ll be playing a full show of Kate’s beautiful songs from the early part of her career. Triple celebration. Come!’
The launch is also featured on Kate Bush News and TKI has been described as:
’Strikingly individual’ Kate Bush News
And to kick start it all off, The Kick Inside will be playing live in session on the mighty deXter Bentley Show on London’s Resonance 104.4 FM, Saturday 17th February, 12pm which is the date marking Kate’s debut album 40 years ago!
We’re now gazing ahead to … and we’re very excited to introduce ‘The Space Between Nothing And Desire’. That is the title of Raf and O’s new album and it’s set to be released later this year!
A slice from the album was aired yesterday for the very first time on the deXter Bentley Show: an edit preview of a brand new Raf and O song, ‘Your Gazing Stare’. The album will also include our version of David Bowie’s ’The London Boys’. We can’t say too much more at this stage, but keep your ears and eyes peeled, social media is always the quicker way to get fresh news!
Last November we even got to say thank you in person for the support Mike Garson had given to our version of Bowie’s Lady Grinning Soul back in 2013 after he played a magical show at the Camden Underworld!
Raf and O Xx
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July 10, 2017 § Leave a comment
The Kick Inside – Kate Bush Tribute (TKI)
Promo Shot and Still from Video – ‘Wuthering Heights’ ‘Wow’ & Teasers Live in the Warm Room
July greetings from Raf and O!
This year we’ve been very busy getting a new project off the ground:
The Kick Inside (TKI)!
This is an entirely separate music outfit, named after Kate Bush’s first album and it’s a tribute to the artist herself!
We’ve also been busy with Raf and O and you can read more on the latter part of this blog.
I’ve been doing a lot of piano playing recently on the latest and beautiful addition to the instrument roster: a lovingly converted piano keyboard by O featuring f holes!
Last May we announced it on our facebook page – As well as cracking on with writing material for our 4th album, and reinterpreting favourite artists, mainly David Bowie interpretations, I’m starting a tribute to the music of Kate Bush, where I will sing and play piano extensively, focusing on the early part of Kate’s career and this time, keeping faithful to the original pieces.
Since then we’ve got a new TKI website up and running and just over a week ago we released our very first video, recorded live in The Warm Room, which received a great reception.
Monolith Cocktail writes:
“Raf Mantelli one half of our favourite avant-garde and frayed experimentalist duo Raf and O adds her idiosyncratic, enchanting signature to the music of Kate Bush on her latest project, The Kick Inside. Concentrating on Bush’s early career, the focus being on her ‘core essence as a pianist singer songwriter’, The Kick Inside tribute band will soon be announcing dates for a number of performances. In the meantime, here’s a teaser” Monolith Cocktail
The Kick Inside, as well as the solo show, will also perform as a duo and here, O will be alongside me but in a role that may be a surprise for many amongst you.
THE KICK INSIDE LINKS
In the meantime…
Raf and O will return to Italy to play a small series of shows and look forward to go back to some favourite places during the tour! We will debut some new material and there will be a few surprises along the way too! Already looking forward to seeing friends old and new and very excited about the set we will be playing!
As well as developing the TKI project we’ve been also writing material toward a new album; this has been keeping us focused in the studio, so it was lucky if you managed to catch Raf and O playing earlier this year including the legendary experimental Klinker Club and a charity show to raise awareness on mental health for Punk4MentalHealth at the UnderDog Gallery.
Our own cover interpretation of David Bowie’s ‘The London Boys’ received radio play on the latest Chaos Theory Radio Show where Kunal was joined by Alan Pride for a selection of cool tunes! It was also aired on the Dexter Bentley Show Resonance FM and our Bowie’s cover of ‘Win’ was aired, again on Dexter’s ‘The Day Before’ , a tribute to David which also featured an extract from Mary Finnigan’s book ‘Psychedelic Suburbia: David Bowie and the Beckenham Arts Lab’ plus an interview with her; we were deeply touched by Mary’s words for Raf and O who introduced us on the show. And lastly, Raf and O’s Magic from our latest album Portal that was mastered at Cage studios is included in a new free to download compilation ‘Cage 24’ by Martin Bowes from Attrition, pioneers of darker electronica.
Raf and O xx
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January 8, 2017 § Leave a comment
Raf and O – The London Boys (David Bowie Cover)
Photo by Wendy Woo.
Today would have been David Bowie’s 70th birthday.
Last year was tough and performing at the Union Chapel in his honour felt right, even if strange. We then released ‘Win’ on our last album ‘Portal’ and by the time of Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity (The Beckenham Free Festival Remake) it was easier to smile. Always an influence, we’ve been featuring his tracks in the live sets for a few years and getting a thumb up from Mike Garson for our take on ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ was very special – so to celebrate this special day we have recorded our version of ‘The London Boys’, a Bowie gem from 1966! And leaving electronics aside, this is us at our most acoustic: I play piano and sing and O plays guitar.
Happy birthday David!
With much love.
Raf and O X
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Original press release for David Bowie’s Rubber Band/ The London Boys
Electronic Sound Reviews Portal, Raf and O Cover Scott Walker, Bowie Reflections, Italian Summer, Live on Radio and Magic on Video, Halloween DJ’s and other outings.
December 18, 2016 § Leave a comment
Well, this year is “almost” over and before the new one begins we thought we’d endeavour to bring you news, thoughts, collection and recollections of the last 4 months and this will include the playlist for a special dj set we did at this year’s Kaparte Oxjam. In July we launched our new album ‘PORTAL’ (available ‘HERE‘) at the wonderful St James The Less in Pimlico (see previous blog). It has now been reviewed on Electronic Sound Magazine!
“Raf and O specialise in floaty and delicate musical paintings. Raf’s dreamy vocals leading the way but more often than not melting into the instrumentation. The highlights include a track based on the words of Shakespeare’s ‘Sonnet 62’ and a version of David Bowie’s ‘Win’ which is almost unrecognisable and utterly charming. All in all, this is beautiful stuff.”
Push, ELECTRONIC SOUND
(See picture below for the whole review).
We also launched an EP containing two tracks from Portal and two tracks with Raf and O working alongside electronicist and Grace Jones’s collaborator Robert Logan (available HERE).
Now, the latest! Raf and O have covered the very beautiful Scott Walker’s ‘Such a Small Love’ as part of ‘Plastic Palace People’, an exclusive streamable and downloadable album curated by God Is In The TV Zine! We’re thoroughly proud to offer this Seasonal gift, which we recorded in Florence for your festive digestive. Listen and free download below.
The portal will lead us into 2017. 2016 has been a very strange year, a lot of crazy things happening and a lot of people left us David Bowie included. A very recent trip to the wonderful Lazarus Musical brought forward this consciousness, stirring up feelings and sadness, a shared feeling by Bowie fans across the world. But Lazarus is also a celebration of his artistry and alongside Blackstar, the inner workings of a man facing up to his own mortality. This summer we returned to Beckenham for Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity (formerly Memory Of A Free Festival and Beckenham Free Festival) and it was a complete joy/ honour to perform again as Raf and O. Huge love unified all performers musicians, organisers workers and the crowd, all celebrating the Starman. Lovely contributions by many, a real pleasure to share the stage with Maggi Ronson and the band Jona Lewie, David Live, Clifford Slapper, Amory Kane and more. Thanks to all involved who contributed to make this day very special especially Wendy Faulkner who worked very hard in bringing this year’s festival together and it was brill catching up with Mary Finnigan again who organised the festival with Bowie in 1969. We’ve got some footage shot by the lovely Rhianna, that we’ll post soon, so watch out for that! Alongside new Raf and O material, our set included Bowie’s ‘Lady Grinning Soul’, ‘Win’ included in our last album ‘Portal’ and even a short rendition of ‘After All’.
This is us doing our thing captured beautifully by mister Gaz De Vere. Continues below.
Raf and O Live at Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity aka Memory Of A Free Festival © Gaz De Vere
A Starman in the sky. picture by O.
Since the festival, we traveled to Italy to do some writing and recording including our Scott Walker cover, played a few parties and the excellent Frame Live Club In La Spezia (see press above) on the Ligurian Coast where we were warmly welcomed and throughly enjoyed playing the show to such a receptive audience. Thanks to Alan Pride for keeping things running smooth and on our return to the UK we were kept fairly busy supporting TE Morris from Her Name Is Calla at Chaos Theory’s Whispers and Hurricanes, putting together a special Dj Set (see above) for this year’s Kaparte Oxjam at the Slaughtered Lamb and we played a live session on the Dexter Bentley’s Hello Goodbye show on Resonance FM alongside The Monochrome Set.
In the words of Dexter Bentley “the original post-punk / arch-pop pioneers The Monochrome Set, plus ethereal, futuristic folk duo Raf & O”.
And Monolith Cocktail also featured ‘Portal’ in the top albums of 2016.
Here below is the podcast Raf and O live on Resonance FM and following that is our live performance of ‘Magic’ from ‘Portal’ lovingly filmed and edited by Riff Underground and Peter Junge. Many thanks to them both and to Chaos Theory for this video.
And to bookend the year, Raf and O just performed at the Xmas edition of the one and only Scaledown in the heart of London. We have a few things brewing but for now wishing you all a peaceful, productive, engaging holiday and see you back in 2017.
Raf and O X
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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.
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.
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
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Raf and O announce release for Bowie’s Lady Grinning Soul + The Fog + Remix by Nedry (Cafe OTO Launch)
February 26, 2013 § Leave a comment
Having spent all of 2012 closing the live shows with our rework of David Bowie‘s ‘Lady Grinning Soul from the seminal album ‘Aladdin Sane‘ we are finally releasing it ahead of our new album. We’ve had some thoroughly excellent feedback from live audiences, so we are celebrating this as well as Bowie’s return!! Being long standing fans of his work and Raf a complete Bowie nut means we are buzzing!
It will be released as a package containing the studio version of ‘Lady Grinning Soul‘, ‘The Fog‘ and a wicked Remix of the latter courtesy of the brilliant three piece post-dubstep/ electronic band Nedry. More details on this soon.
In the meantime, here is a video of a live version of ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ from the Lewisham Arthouse show – massive thanks to Luigi Altilia for filming.
The launch is to be taking place at CAFE OTO on April 1st promoted by the wonderful Klarita from Kaparte Promotions – great venue and great bill!
We will be opening for Larsen (15 years of avant/ experimental activity) on their European Tour feat. legendary dub-diva Little Annie (a.k.a. Annie Anxiety Bandez), who has recently released her autobiography.
You can get your TICKETS HERE
We’ve also just started a TWITTER page – you can follows us HERE
Extremely excited 😀
Raf and O
October 23, 2012 § Leave a comment
October! We’ve very pleased to announce Raf and O are going to play live, as part of the Oxjam Festival run by Kaparte Promotions at Club Surya, Sat 27th October. A great roster of artists shall make for a special night for a noble cause. We are opening the event and will be playing at 7pm on the dot, so come EARLY!! For details see end of blog.
The gig at the Buffalo Bar in September (which saw us supporting the excellent Prescott) was very beautifully documented by the Chaos Engineers who took pictures of us in action – see below.
And in December, as the end of 2012 approaches…some more live excitement with a very special gig in a very special place – watch this space!
We’re finally putting the last touches on the artwork and one more piece is going to be especially recorded to be included in the album; this has now become an integral part of the live set. Working hard and will bring you some more news very soon. x
photos by http://www.thechaosengineers.com
March 25, 2012 § Leave a comment
Very happy to announce that we’ve just finished remixing the wonderful Nedry’s new single Violaceae! It’s a lovely track in its original form and we’ve put our own take on it. Please check it out HERE
Raf and O are still in smiley face mode after launching (quite literally) the new material to such an appreciative audience, thanks again and to Kaparte for hosting us and to Will Connor and Crewdson for really cool sets.
Now…just few days to go to our gig supporting the amazing Rude Mechanicals this Friday 30th March in Stokey at ‘The Others’ for their new video launch. Details HERE
And for April… massively looking forward to share the stage with long standing friends and wonderful musicians Snorkel and Low Bias on the 15th April at Below U @ Power Lunches.
Don’t forget to email firstname.lastname@example.org with your names for the CHEAP ENTRY LIST OF £3
Also Raf and O will perform a stripped down set at the intimate Scaledown on Fri Apr 27th. More details soon.
Raf and O x
January 17, 2012 § Leave a comment
As promised…..Visit our Soundcloud and listen to the latest Raf and O material –
January 8, 2012 § Leave a comment
We’re thoroughly excited to say we’ve now completed our second album…
Eleven tracks, developed through experimentation and reconfiguring who does what and how, whilst keeping a weather eye on the live show.
Allied to this Raf and O are also putting the finishing touches to a collaborative album with Robert Logan.
We’ll be posting info and some stuff onto Soundcloud in the next few days, so you can hear what we’ve all been up to.
Last year saw us working on an arrangement of David Bowie‘s ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ from 1973’s album Aladdin Sane. Bowie has been a huge and long standing influence of Raf’s, as it’s his 65th birthday today, we thought we’d record it and share it, we’ve run ahead with enthusiasm, but it proves to be more complicated/ involving to share as first thought. So it may have to wait. Still, happy Birthday David!
Next up…brand new Raf and O material.