The Kick Inside

Find Raf And O’s Music at http://www.rafando.com

I was blessed to attend the premiere of a performance of Kate Bush’s songs by Raf And O, an experimental music duo who fuse acoustic instruments with electronica.  Raf And O also have a portfolio of highly original music and I’d strongly advise you to get hold of their music and see them perform whilst you can.  Here’s a collage of some of the pieces performed at the evening:

Check Raf And O’s original pieces out on youtube and find their music at Raf And O.

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Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock and Human Dynamics. Author of 8 books on leadership acclaimed by Tom Peters, Charles Handy, Harvey Goldsmith and Adrian Furnham. Featuring an interview exclusive with Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson.

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I fall – Mark E.Smith – a memory

A mini memory of Mark E. Smith and The Fall.

My band supported The Fall at Canterbury University – The lead singer of our band was a fan of Mr Smith and we had planned to do a few Fall songs at the gig in his honour …

We had finished our soundcheck (hardly worth it given the quality of the musicians I was working with in “Akker and The Nice Boys”) and we were walking down the corridor to the dressing room and by chance Mark E Smith was coming the other way. It was a narrow corridor and my friend was gripped by the possibility of shaking Mark E. Smith’s hand. He held his hand out in anticipation and uttered some words. Mr Smith walked on by ….

An uncompromising lyrical genius who could be very difficult to work with judging by this mini memory and the “HR turnover” of his band members which saw 60 people pass through The Fall.

Here’s a selection of Mr Smith’s work which helped define The Factory and the sound that became Britpop:

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Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock and Human Dynamics. Author of 8 books on leadership acclaimed by Tom Peters, Charles Handy, Harvey Goldsmith and Adrian Furnham. Featuring an interview exclusive with Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson.

Time Travel, Retro-Futurism and Religion – Raf and O

I recently attended the premiere for Raf and O’s new album “Portal” in the beautiful setting of St James the Less Church in Pimlico. Raf and O are Raf Mantelli and Richard Smith (O), combining acoustic guitar and drums with an eclectic range of electronica. People ask, what do they sound like and I have to say “Raf and O” !! This is a rare achievement in a world of repeat performances and soundalikes.  They describe themselves as performing unique detailed avant-pop, fusing electro/ acoustic drums, self-made triggers, pads, samplers, vocals, synths and acoustic guitar bathed in effects. This is accurate even if it does not trip off the tongue in a media friendly soundbite !! 🙂

The Eagle Has Landed - with Raf and O

iThe Eagle Has Landed – with Raf and O – where less is more at St James the Less – Click on the picture to buy the album on iTunes

David Stubbs of The Quietus also attempts to explain Raf and O’s music:

“The excellent Time Machine represents the very antithesis of EDM – There is a butterfly, acoustic delicacy 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”

I first came across Raf and O at Richard Strange’s “Cabaret Futura” club – a place where Marc Almond, Spandau Ballet, Depeche Mode and Alexi Sayle first passed through. Since that time, Raf and O performed at Richard’s stunning production “Language is a Virus from Outer Space” at The Southbank Centre. The production celebrated the life of William Burroughs, leading light of the Beat Movement and author of “Naked Lunch”.

The album “Portal” explores time travel, although, questioning the real and the imagined via a sound world of spaciousness, tinged in sinister shades. It articulates their journey of the last two years, a series of connections, discoveries and dreams, seeming at times to tune in with the people who passed, leaving a mark into this world and unto our consciousness.

Photograph by Peter Tainsh

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.  Find them on You Tube for an insight into their performance capabilities.

The evening was started by an equally awesome performance from Emmy nominated electronicist Robert Logan. Robert’s list of collaborators include Grace Jones, Brigitte Fontaine, Steve Roach and Skye (Morcheeba). He recently collaborated with Raf and O on a series of sessions working closely in the same space, in their own words:

“Concocting a deconstructed and layered amalgamation of song, electronic sounds, dense atmospheres and organic instruments, textures and further exploration of fragmentation”

On the evening itself, Robert built up an impressive soundscape in the Church, using modern versions of classic Korg Synthesisers fused with modern digital technologies – the sweetspot where ancient meets postmodern. Even a prayer mat was involved …

Where Church Meets Korg - The Set up for Robert Logan

Where Church Meets Korg – The Set up for Robert Logan

If you are bored with hearing template music and want to hear sounds you have never imagined, get hold of some music by these artists for a change …

Fusing tradition with church and electronica - Click on the picture to find Raf and O's work with Robert Logan - Photography by Peter Tainsh

Fusing tradition with church and electronica – Click on the picture to find Raf and O’s work with Robert Logan – Photography by Peter Tainsh

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Peter Cook leads Human Dynamics and The Academy of Rock. Check his latest book “Leading Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise” out at Bloomsbury.

Author and contributor to 11 books