The first line-up of Raeo, in 1989, Gat CastaƱo, Anton Ignorant, Pepe Sarto and myself, came about on a Spanish tour I made with Gat's Barcelona-based Buildings, which we all were a part of. Gat and I had been speaking for a while about forming our own band, to be very different from the Barcelona rock of buildings. In fact Buildings itself on that tour were becoming more and more outsider with every show, to the point where we almost ended up getting lynched by a rowdy club crowd in a provincial town down south.

On our way back north in the van, crossing the mountains in a thunderstorm, trying to think of a name for the new group, I asked Gat the word for lightning in Spanish - "rayo" he replied, and I repeated, but with my poor Spanish mispronounced it as "raeo", which they all had a good laugh about and agreed it would be a great name, spelled as I pronounced it, which has no meaning in Spanish or any other language we knew of.

I was living more or less between New York and Barcelona those days, so, though we got started and did some recording together. It wasn't until I moved here in 1991 that we were able to play regularly, at that point a trio, without Sarto, but with occasional guest drumming by another ex-New Yorker, Katie O'looney, who was coming down from Ireland. With this line-up we made our first single, "el Diablo", and started working on our first album - "Adios Jupiter", eventually released in 1994.

Raoe - Fulgeo

By the time the CD came out, however ,we were down to a duo, Gat and I, our definitive formation, using electronic bases, trumpet and bass. Did a number of European tours over the following few years, mostly in Italy, France and Switzerland, and in 1998-99 we developed an an audio-visual show with the participation of video artist Josep Maria Jordana, "Body Tapes", featuring images, internal and external of the human body. The album," Body Loops", was released on G3G records, as was all of our work, in 1999, and after touring with the show for a couple of more years we both moved on to other projects.

"In describing the notion of a new classical music constructed from a broader cultural base, Jon Hassell cited a Mona Lisa which, on closer examination, turns out to be constructed from a series of Taj Mahal images. The sound of Raeo embodies a similar illusion: calm, plaintive and often melodic on the surface, in truth it is built on a foundation of carefully sculpted noise. Having started out with New York No Wave group Mars, who strayed as far as possible from rock music as possible while somehow retaning a semblance of it, trumpeter Mark Cunningham, with his accomplice Gat, a veteran of the parallel Movida trajectory in Barcelona, has crafted a form of Ambient noise that subverts the Ambient norm. Although this collection of seven pieces is the result of collaboration with a Barcelona Based video artist, the music is very much a self sufficient entity, invoking the artist's work even in its absence. The theme is human anatomy, the images apparently taken from scans, anatomical illustrations and surgical footage. Fittingly, the music has the same kind of frightening beauty and fragility as a medical picture. Despite its melody, its seductive rhythms and its flashes of humorous appropriation, there's a deep sense of unease about Body Loops, not unlike that of Journey Through a Body, the scariest of Throbbing Gristle's albums."

The Wire



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