Rai's latest album brilliantly captures the energy that was felt in the studio with producer John Fields. It was recorded during a few fast-paced sessions in Los Angeles, without overthinking. The result is truly a "feel good" album, with strong retro pop elements, epic ballads, and honest lyrics.
I Can See Oxygen
Originally released under the guise of 'Michael Albatross,' Rai decided to re-release 'I Can See Oxygen' under his real name in September 2016. At this time, Rai was going through a difficult period: he had suffered a traumatic relationship break up, and it was also approaching the 1 year anniversary of a tragic road accident which had claimed the life of his band's stage manager and badly injured his touring drummer. Subsequently, Rai sought help, embarking on a personal journey to find new awareness - and began working through some unresolved emotional issues. Central to his process was a quest towards making peace with some longstanding vulnerabilities - possibly stemming from a somewhat confusing childhood - that had since become buried under layers of unconsciousness. Needless to say, it was time to face the music - and a fitting time to send this compendium of 'morbid, self-loathing soliloquies' into the world...and ultimately, into exile.
In Rai's words:
'One distinguishing feature of 'Rikyrah' is that it's based around a particular upright piano housed in Perth, Australia, at Greg Nosow's studio. Greg also engineered this EP. After a few bars of playing, Ben (Vanderwal) and I discovered that the instrument is absolutely brimming with character, but it's also tuned 'in between the cracks.' What I mean, is that although it's in tune relatively with itself, overall its tuning is lower than standard A440 concert pitch. So, on 'Rikyrah,' we tuned the bass instruments and all other harmonic and melodic instruments by ear to this actual piano. (For those that could be wondering, the piano was NOT tuned deliberately to the popular 432hz, it's just old and has its own thing going on.) This unique pitch and tone served as an 'anchor' for the recording sessions, influenced much of the creative dynamic for our performances, and even the song choices are a follow on from this. The cover image of the EP features a fantastic painting by Anaïs Barajas, an artist who is based in Los Angeles.'
'April Skies' is the 2nd EP release from Rai and Ben, and was globally released in April of 2015. It was recorded during September 2014 while Ben and Rai were touring their 1st EP, 'Escargot.' While on the road, the duo hit studios in Perth, Canberra and Melbourne, with some overdubs and mixing done at Rai's studio in Atwater Village, Los Angeles. It features off kilter cuts 'Marlon Brando' and 'Limousine,' and sports a slightly more electro sound throughout (compared to Escargot).
This 5 track EP sees Rai team up with drum-gun Ben Vanderwal. The two met at a jazz club in Sydney in late 2013 and soon after headed into Soundbaker Studios in Perth, Western Australia. The duo recorded 'whatever came out,' and have since taken the outfit on multiple Aussie tours. Experimental and jazz-tinged originals form the backbone of 'Escargot.' Ben's rhythmic approach is unique and unmissable.
The STUDIO DELUX SESSIONS
Everything you hear on this album was performed 100% live: no overdubs or editing took place during the recording at any time. It features Rai on keyboards, synth-bass and vocals, alongside two of LA's most acclaimed session drummers: Matt Chamberlain (Tori Amos/Soundgarden/Brad Mehldau) and Victor Indrizzo (Beck/Alanis Morrisette). Lovingly produced by Matt Wallace at his own studio in Van Nuys and meticulously captured and mixed by engineer Will Kennedy, there are also youtube videos online accompanying the actual performances as part of the 'Live at Studio Delux' artist series!
Rai's First solo EP ever. It was produced and mixed by Rai himself, mastered by Lindsay Gravina, and features the legendary Aaron Sterling on drums for 3 tracks. The EP leads off with 'San Francisco Street,' which received extensive airplay from KCRW Los Angeles, and also a special Yacht Rock remix of Til The Lights Come On by Tyler Blake of The Classixx.