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!
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
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.
Raf and O X
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The Quietus Reviews ‘Time Machine’. Interviews / Session on Resonance FM, Ableton Live Expert + Feature on FACT.
May 31, 2014 § Leave a comment
May and June to be greetings!
We’re very honoured to have recently featured in The Quietus with an excellent review of our latest album ‘Time Machine’ by legendary music journalist David Stubbs:
‘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’
David Stubbs, The Quietus
FACT Magazine have listed Raf and O’s ‘Squeezebox’ as one of the 36 best indietronica tracks! Taken from “Has The Air Gone Walking” debut 10” vinyl alongside Gagarin from 2008; to be on this fine selection we are indeed extremely pleased.
‘Superbohemian, super kooky…the sort of record that makes it feel like John Peel is still alive’
Joe Muggs, Fact Magazine
This month we’ve done a few interviews: Shout 4 music popped us some Q&A’s and we’ve also been featured on the Ableton Live Expert website with a video interview and a live in the studio performance of ‘Mad And Brilliant from the ‘Time Machine’ album. Martin Delaney came to film us and we spoke briefly about our Live set up. It was bright, fun to do and here it is!
Meanwhile on the gig front, since launching our album at the fabulous Shoreditch Church (featured on David Bowie Official – see previous blog) we returned to Scaledown, where O’s bass made a rare appearance, closely followed by our very first gig in a record shop at Vinyl in Deptford, where we were bathed in psychedelic visuals courtesy of Punkvert VJs for the new Psyche Satyrday.
And to cap off the month, we popped into Resonance FM for a Live Radio Session on the excellent Dexter Bentley Hello Goodbye Show. Thoroughly enjoyed it! You can catch the podcast HERE where we are performing material from our latest album: You Made Me’,’Saturated Dreams’, ‘Lady Grinning Soul’and ‘The Fog’ with an interview.
Raf and O’s newly released LP ‘Time Machine’ is a hauntingly atmospheric, Folktronica masterpiece’
Dexter Bentley, Resonance FM
Our new ‘Time Machine’ Album and EP are available on the Bandcamp Page. Please support these independent releases by getting your copies HERE!
Raf and O
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