Raf and O Celebrate David Bowie’s 70th Birthday Covering ‘The London Boys’

January 8, 2017 § Leave a comment

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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

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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

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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.


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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.
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Raf and O Live at Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity aka Memory Of A Free Festival © Gaz De Vere
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A Starman in the sky. picture by O.

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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.

Love

Raf and O X

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Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity, ‘Sonnet 62’ Official Video and Raf and O’s New Album ‘Portal’ is Out Now

August 10, 2016 § Leave a comment

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Raf and O Portal Launch Photos 1
Raf and O Portal Album Launch – soundcheck and performance. Photos 1 and 2 © Gaz De Vere, Photo 3 © Peter Tainsh

Raf and O’s new album ‘PORTAL‘ on Telephone Records is OUT NOW!!
Available on CD and Digital via Bandcamp, iTunes and all good digital stores.
Watch the Official Video for ‘Sonnet 62’ with lyrics by William Shakespeare which was premiered on God Is In The TV Zine (see above)

Latest press says:

“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

“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

“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

“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

GET THE NEW ALBUM HERE!
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Raf and O Portal Launch Photos 2

Raf and O Portal Album Launch. Photo © Peter Tainsh

The Launch at St James The less was a wonderful experience …. performing the album in its entirety, we were able to make the journey. Tons of thanks to the brilliant Klarita Kaparte for promoting a splendid night, Robert Logan for being the ‘special’ special guest and for his excellent set, Alan Pride for tons of support, thanks to the wonderful audience for being part of the journey, for the photos, the footage and for getting the album.The Portal leads somewhere ….
Ahead of the launch we did an extensive interview with Carya Gish exclusively for Kaparte Promotions. You can read the whole thing HERE:

In January we were all shaken by the news of David Bowie’s passing . Now that we had time to adjust, cannot think of a better way to honour him this summer than to return and join the line up for the Beckenham Bandstand renamed the Bowie Bandstand. The festival is and has always been in our hearts. Originally organised by Bowie and his friends from the Beckenham Arts Lab, The UK’s first Free Festival was on 16 August, 47 years ago and it coincided with the release of his first hit single Space Oddity. This Saturday, 13th August, we will all be celebrating him, the legacy of the Beckenham Arts lab and help to raise funds again at Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity AKA Memory of A Free Festival. The line up comprises of Malcolm Doherty, Daphne Guinness, Maggi Ronson, Raf and O, Phillip Rambow, Jona Lewie, Then Jerico, Amory Kane, Boe Huntress and a few others! 
Mary Finnigan who originally organised the festival with David, will be signing copies of her recently published book Psychedelic Suburbia  and we’re honoured to have a mention “Most impressive were Raf and O, a talented avant-garde duo influenced by David Bowie but no copycat.” Mary Finnigan, Psychedelic Suburbia.   The event organiser Wendy Faulkner  says “After the devastating news of David’s death in January we felt we had to do a tribute for him — and there’s no more fitting place to do this than the bandstand where he played in 1969”. The Bowie Archive has donated another item signed by him plus other items will be available at the auction. Generously supported by DavidBowie.com , Tony Visconti and Iggy Pop.

The festival starts at 1pm, Croydon Road Recreation Ground, Beckenham.
See the whole press release/ line up as featured on David Bowie Official on our LIVE PAGE
TICKETS
FB EVENT

See you there!

Raf and O xx

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Commencing Countdown © Gaz de Vere, All rights Reserved

Bowie's Beckenham Oddity - Commencing Countdown, engines on

 

 

 

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

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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!
Get your TICKETS HERE!
FACEBOOK EVENT

Raf and O X

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

Memory of a Free Festival 2014, Fairywood + ‘Time Machine’ is one of this year’s Best Albums on FACT

July 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Greetings!
It’s July and as the sun infuses its energy upon us,
may this spread positives among us all!
In our musical world it’s been a really good year so far and continues to be so.
Raf and O’s new album ‘Time Machine has been selected as one of the best album of 2014 in FACT Magazine alongside Neneh Cherry and Rocketnumbernine in the Joe Muggs’s Top 10 Album list!!
We’re wonderfully blown away and very proud of this. Get yourself a copy of the CD Album
HERE. Digital available in all good stores.

Some other wonderful news – Memory Of A Free Festival returns!
Raf and O have been invited to perform again at the re-run of the legendary Beckenham Free Festival organised by David Bowie and The Beckenham Arts Lab in 1969. On Saturday 16th August, Natasha Ryzhova Lau, with the help of some generous volunteers, is staging the event for a second year in a row, 45 years from the day and the date. Mary Finnigan, a key figure of the original festival is also involved and Roger Wootton from legendary Comus (who were playing weekly at the Arts Lab and played the Festival in ’69 ) will also take the stage. We’re thrilled to join all the artists, some of whom we met in 2013, we are opening up proceedings, see the LIVE page for full line up/flyer, location and transport details. Last year saw an audience of over 1000 people and £7000 pounds were raised towards the restoration of the Beckenham Bandstand; it was just wonderful despite a rain machine in full action; may the sun machine return safely to the Croydon Road Recreation Ground. Get there early, gates open 12.30, it’s only a fiver and there’s a beer tent this year too; we’ll be in action just after 1pm, don’t miss!

As well as the Beckenham Festival we’re really looking forward to perform at a new Festival in Brentwood, precisely Fairywood at Kelvedon Hatch, which used to be home to the secret nuclear bunker. The festival with its fairytale and thematic settings promises to be a magical gathering running on the weekend of the 9th and 10th August.
We will take the stage on the Sunday 10th, as the evening starts to fall.  More info and tickets for the whole weekend or for the one day can be found HERE

And to cap it off we’ve recently been invited by the amazing Richard Strange to partake in a unique and very special William Burroughs inspired project at the Queen Elizabeth Hall planned for October, which will also see the Doctors of Madness reforming for a one off performance after 36 years! We are delighted and very honoured!! More details will be posted here in the very near future.

Raf and O x
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Images: Beckenham Bandstand graphic courtesy of Memory Of A Free Festival.
Photos of Raf and O performing at Memory Of A Free Festival in 2013 and on ”Time Machine’ session by Luigi Altilia.

Raf and O - Memory Of A Free Festival 2014.

David Bowie Official Features Raf and O’s New Album; ‘Time Machine’ is Out Now!

April 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Raf and O’s new full-length second album is OUT NOW!!!
Finally, we’re so proud to present Time Machine, self-released on Telephone, available on Bandcamp, iTunes and all good digital stores.
Latest press says:
“A beguiling slice of noir-pop…a total treat.”
The Girls Are

“Tripped-out hypnotic Raf and O embody the exploratory art school/mime period Bowie from bent out of shape Air meets folkloric avant-noir to ESG and Radiohead’s Hail To The Thief”
Monolith Cocktail

A special gig was staged at the beginning of the month to celebrate its release.
“She’s a tongue twisting storm, she will sing at the show tonight…
David Bowie Official featured the launch for our new album.
We are absolutely thrilled !!!

“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 (http://smarturl.it/liveRAFnOlady)… Lady Grinning Soul is included on that new LP: Time Machine” David Bowie Official

The front cover captures Raf and O performing on the Beckenham Bandstand
GET IT HERE!

See picture to read in full. Continues below

Raf and O featured on David Bowie Official

The album ‘Time Machine’  was launched within the majestic setting of Shoreditch Church. And inside the dark, beautiful reverb haven, free from the outside bustle, a focused audience gave wonderful support to a special evening of songs and sonics. Also, playing solo upon the grand piano in this fantastic space, Raf gave a very rare performance of a very old song, ‘Fatzer’. Adam Donen with Roger O’Donnell and band performed beautifully not long after. 
We’d like to thank all who came down and once again Kaparte for the wonderful hosting.

More live performances are scheduled. Today we’re off to play at the ‘genuinely alternative after-office’ Scaledown. For more details, address etc, see our LIVE PAGE. Then next up is South East London in May; we shall be performing at Vinyl in Deptford. Details again will be added HERE.

Raf and O x

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Raf and O Launch of Time Machine at Shoreditch Church

Pictures by Angelique Le Marchand, Adam Donen and Lee Winter

‘Time Machine’ Album and EP Available Now! Presenting Official New Video And Launch At Shoreditch Church

March 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

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RAF AND O – TIME MACHINE OFFICIAL VIDEO

Hi folks,
lots of news since our last blog.
Cabaret Futura, in February,  got us right into the mood. We performed ‘Dreamachine’ for the first time to its projected spinning counterpart right behind us! Massive thanks to Richard Strange for inviting us and for setting such a brilliant atmosphere!

Raf and O are proud to announce the  TIME MACHINE EP on Telephone Records, featuring contributions from Merlin & Charles Hayward, Irmin Schmidt affiliate Kumo and Grace Jones collaborator Robert Logan. Available now in all good digital stores and on our NEW BANDCAMP SITE : ‘Interstellar spaciousness’ tweets EXCLAIM! Magazine and features the EP. Get your copy HERE!

Our December encounter with the moving image turned into the ‘Time Machine’ OFFICIAL video, featured in February on New York ‘s IMPOSE Magazine : “With silver space lining, stainless steel kettles and 3-D spectacles adorned; we enter the Raf and O “Time Machine” trip…whispering their song like tomorrow’s cautionary lullabies sent backward to today as an omen of intrigue.” Impose asked us as to how the video was realised and how we go about doing what we do. Both features can be read within the images below.
Pre-orders for the  TIME MACHINE CD ALBUM  are available now. The CD features ten original tracks + our version of David Bowie’s Lady Grinning Soul, with an immediate download of one track when you pre-order. The cover picture was taken on the Beckenham bandstand by Luigi Altilia during Raf and O’s performance of ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ at Memory Of A Free Festival (the remake of the iconic Beckenham Free Festival).  GET THE NEW ALBUM HERE!

And finally…Raf and O’s ‘Time Machine’ Album Launch at the splendid Shoreditch Church: April the 4th, curated by the renowned and excellent Kaparte. Do get your tickets HERE,  before they run out, it will be a night full of surprises. We are really looking forward to play our new album and more! Truly special guests on the night.
Roger O‘Donnell from The Cure! He will be joining Adam Donen and expect more still! Leaving you with an old English nursery rhyme  ‘Oranges and Lemons’.
See you down in Shoreditch!!
X

Raf and O x
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Raf and O - Time Machine Releases
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