Press/ Quotes

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“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

GIG OF THE YEAR: RAF AND O PORTAL  ALBUM LAUNCH, ST JAMES THE LESS, LONDON, 22/7/2016
John Clarkson, PENNYBLACK MUSIC MAGAZINE

Raf and O ‘s ‘Time Machine’ is in the FACT Magazine Top 10 album of 2014 picked by Joe Muggs

“Describing what they meticulously concoct as electronica is a misnomer, really. 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…the surreal dreams, hopes and fears embraced and expressed in the words matched by the colourisation and reinforcement of the ever-shifting, kaleidoscopic backdrop. Freeze-frame any given second of this album and it’ll reveal a hive of pixellated, analogue activity. The album takes a lovely turn with a cover of David Bowie’s ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ from Aladdin Sane, a theme song for an imaginary Bond movie, whose warm, analogue synth waves remind of Brian Eno circa Before And After Science...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.”
DAVID STUBBS, THE QUIETUS

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

“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” 
DAVID BOWIE OFFICIAL

‘Superbohemian, super kooky…the sort of record that makes it feel like John Peel is still alive’ 
JOE MUGGS, FACT MAGAZINE

‘Most impressive were Raf and O, a talented avant-guarde duo influenced by David Bowie but no copycat”
MARY FINNIGAN, PSYCHEDELIC SUBURBIA

“Raf and O are a band of kaleidoscopic, unusual ideas, and, with ‘Portal’, they have created a remarkable record. There is a celestial, otherworldly element to them…they are totally unique”
PENNYBLACKMUSIC MAGAZINE

“A further voyage into their adventurous musical dreams, spliced with the literary influences of William Seward Burroughs and Shakespeare.”
GOD IS IN THE TV ZINE

“The sublime new album by Raf and O is called ‘Portal’. It’s very difficult to choose highlights from such a consistently winning record”
ADRIAN SPECS

“Raf and O’s gothic and magical references are twisted to conjure up ominous visions, to a backing track of free-spirited avant-jazz drumming, trip-hop and contorted machine music …from esoteric Italian to plague originated nursery rhyme English, on ‘Drunk’, to channeling a smoky bar room Scott Walker vibe, on ‘Neurons’… Paying homage once again to their biggest inspiration, David Bowie, the duo transforms the original (Win from ‘Young Americans’) into a beautifully melting, strung-out plucked love recital. Brilliantly shimmering with an affectionate, ruminating and heart-aching vocal … the album cementing the partnership’s unique narratives and poetic views of a machine age and cybernetic world”
MONOLITH COCKTAIL

“If you are looking for instant gratification in a busy world, try listening to “The Deadliest Flower” or “Magic” to give you an insight into just one window pane of their diverse work”
HUMAN DYNAMICS

“A beguiling slice of noir-pop…a total treat” 
THE GIRLS ARE

‘Raf and O’s newly released LP ‘Time Machine’ is a hauntingly atmospheric, Folktronica masterpiece’ 
DEXTER BENTLEY, RESONANCE FM

‘One of the most innovative and charismatic acts of the European scene’
KAPARTE PROMOTIONS

“Tripped-out hypnotic Raf and O embody the exploratory art school/mime period Bowie. True scions indeed, their sound springs from a conjuncture of Aladdin Sane and The Man Who Fell To Earth, but with an added allure of trip-hop…Kooky, mysterious, tender and diaphanous. From bent out of shape Air meets folkloric avant-noir to ESG and Radiohead’s Hail To The Thief…a solid thumbs up! ” 
MONOLITH COCKTAIL

“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 (16th August 2014, Memory Of A Free Festival)

“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 (11th October 2014, Queen Elizabeth Hall)

“Raf’s delicate guitar and breathy, intimate vocals lure you in,…instead of trying to programme ‘real’-sounding drums, O has reversed the process to almost mechanise himself, creating a ‘ghost in the machine’ vibe. The album, like their performances, suspends you between swoon and shudder: a fantastic release”
ADRIAN SPECS, Jan 2015

“From the very first song,  Raf and O got me hooked. This is beautiful yet unsettling stuff – admittedly my favourite thing in music; it mixes Raf’s unusual acoustic guitar to the sounds emitted by O’s very own portable music lab which provides percussion, beats, gurgles, scratches and other various noises. 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. 
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; Raf’s voice whispers, flies up and croons but carries an edge in its discreet tremolos. It is the voice of someone willing themselves to stay calm but who knows the crisis is coming. 
Industrial, trip-hop, free jazz, electronic, folk (the names Queen Adreena, Bjork, Elysian Fields and Portishead have all crossed my mind as I listened to the albums) “
Live Review,  MISS GISH (1st February 2015, I’Klectik Gallery)

“Southeast London duo, Raf and O  (aliases Raf Mantelli and Richard Smith) experiment between the air, place and space that occupies where nature’s breath is conjoined by manufactured ambient excercises…With silver space lining, stainless steel kettles and 3-D spectacles adorned; we enter the Raf and O, “Time Machine” trip…The strums and subtle poly-rhythmic drum arrangement and programming create the sound of two desert nomads walking the earth in quest of finding new waters, and perhaps new time zones. Raf’s vocals and the production slowly spin, and twirl; whispering their song like tomorrow’s cautionary lullabies sent backward to today as an omen of intrigue.”
IMPOSE MAGAZINE (NEW YORK)

“Interstellar spaciousness from European avant-garde outfit Raf and O.
South London-based avant-garde duo Raf and O have been steadily gaining steam at home in Europe, thanks to their critically acclaimed 2010 debut, A Giant in the Snow, as well as their recent reinterpretation of David Bowie’s ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ which gained them a live spot on BBC Radio and a shout out from Mike Garson. Now, the art-leaning two-piece are aiming for a larger audience than ever before with their upcoming full-length, Time Machine. and similarly titled  EP… a downtempo mix of electro-acoustic landscapes and Krautrock-inspired grooves. Joining them on the remix front is Irmin Schmidt collaborator and electronic composer Jono Podmore (a.k.a. Kumo), who transforms the track’s cascading synths and singer Raf Mantelli’s dreamy vocals into a truly hypnotic mix, as well as experimental drummer Charles Hayward (of This Heat fame) and performance artist Merlin, whose out-there interpretation recalls the avant-garde experiments of Karlheinz Stockhausen. Bringing the recording full circle is electronic composer and Grace Jones collaborator Robert Logan who stretches the track into a seven-minute odyssey of pulsating synths and club-heavy bass.” 
EXCLAIM! MAGAZINE

“Kooky, mysterious and breathy…attracting an impressive trio of sonic cosmonauts..Metamono Podmore (under the guises of Kumo) builds a Clangers find Kubrick’s holy grail monolith techno vibe. Stripped down and rebuilt, Merlin & Hayward’s turn at the controls, plays with Raf’s Bjork-esque whispered utterances, placing them over ratcheted drums, dawdling lost guitar and vapourous static. Going deep into the minimalistic regions of techno, Logan creates a ticking, dark drum break that wouldn’t sound out of place on a DJ Shadow record.”
MONOLITH COCKTAIL

“Raf and O caress Bowie”
BOWIE WONDERWORLD

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

‘An Awesome Cover’ 
TIM LOVE LEE, TUMMY TOUCH 

“Indietronic delicacy. Seductive, winding pieces of jazzy vocal electronica ” 
MIXMAG ****

“The intimacy of the album is just beautiful, and makes those Aphex Twin sounds really accessible, and a lot more emotively intense than I have heard before”
SUBBA CULTCHA 8/10

“Most artists that stand out possess a distinct ‘sound’, a hook, that makes the listener sit up and take note. For Raf & O, it is surely without question the haunting, sensual vocals of Raf Mantelli.”
XYZ MAGAZINE

“Raf and O are a south London based secret that need sharing with the wider world…akin to Bjork discovering the joys of a Tascam back in the 80’s….they display outright pop mastery”
FLUX MAGAZINE

“Somewhere between Boards Of Canada’s ambience, Aphex Twin’s glitchiness and the pop sensibilities of early Bjork.”
THE SKINNY

“Really enjoying Raf & O…really absorbing stuff to sink into”.
Paul Clarke, BBC

“I really like this album, especially the heavier, fuzzed out, layered tracks… a great sound.”
Ruth Barnes, RESONANCE FM

“A worthy addition to the record collections of fans of minimalistic electro bands.”
THE ARK MAGAZINE

“Above all Mantelli’s sugar sweet and very sensual singing which is mostly the centre of attention bewitches the listener…Extremely pleasant LP and not only for Indietronic fans.”
RAVELINE (GERMANY)

“Really excellently knitted experimental cinematographic, Indietronic world…The music pulls, tugs and purrs”
DE-BUG (GERMANY)

“Through The Length is a beautiful slice of Raf and O at their most powerful….Passionate in content, vibrant in context……snaking whispery vocals, almost trance-like melodies, short sharp jabs of sonics rise and swell throughout the song”
OUTSIDE LEFT

“A record that clearly defines the coordinates of the new english group….pop constructions beloved by the groups of early Too ” Pure (Pram, Laika, Stereolab etc) dipped in a sea of glitch”
******* ROCKERILLA (ITALY)

“Raf and O are absolutely pleasurable”
AUDIODROME (ITALY)

“Raf and O easily and succesfully switch between kitsch, references to pop, jazz, trip hop and cross them.”
D-SIDE (FRANCE)

“A great album full of lazy, glitchy, cinematic vocal shenanigans on Geo, it’s a super nice listen start to finish”
GLOBAL SOULJAH (SPAIN)

“ It was just supreme. Sound angles swerving, balancing and bouncing off the walls. The band playing on instinct, grooving on the mesmeric guitar plucking and rhythmic rush.”
Live review, HESTERGLOCK.COM

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  • Recent Posts

  • NEW ALBUM PORTAL OUT NOW

    "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."
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    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."
    DAVID STUBBS, THE QUIETUS

    "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"
    DAVID BOWIE OFFICIAL

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    THE GIRLS ARE

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

  • BUY TIME MACHINE EP HERE

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