Ra
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Ra

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"Ra CD Reviews"

Black Sun" (Sahaja Music Records; 2008)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers



This is Ra's third album. You might have missed it since many retailers didn't carry it due to some distribution problems. You can still find it on iTunes or through their MySpace account. It's worth the digital download.

Ra has been releasing albums since 2002. "From One" had driving guitars and great vocals. "Black Sun" still sounds like Ra but they have mellowed a bit. A song will start with some power but then they put the cruise control on for a bit. However, they will then put the hammer down to finish out a song. The formula is Nu-Metal and it works for Ra.

The most intriguing part about Ra is the guitar. It can be acoustic and hard rock with heavy crunchy rhythms all within a song. You never know what you are going to get in the guitar department but it sounds so good it's worth the listen. You might get a guitar solo, you might not, but you will get some driving rhythms nonetheless. Toward the end of the disc they lean toward a more progressive sound.

Sahaj Ticotin has a great voice and when he stays in the same mood as a song he will have you singing along. He does have some rap core stuff happening on a few tracks. It’s a different style but he makes it work because his range is so high. On the third track, "The First Step," Sahaj holds a note for about twenty-eight seconds ... that's pretty good if you ask me. The song "I Believe Again" on this disc is a continuation from the song "I Believe" on "From One." (That's just some useless trivia for your music arsenal.)

One more different feature that Ra offers on each song is an original opening. Each song is its own creation and the intro is always a little weird. It might go with the song but, then again, it might not. I listen for just that reason. There is something exotic about them and I guess that's why I'm drawn. They also have a Middle Eastern sound on some songs and, if you like harmony with your rock, then Ra will deliver like the sun does every morning.

Download these (since that's about the only way to get them): "Broken Hearted Soul," "Faulty Information," "Don't Turn Away," "Lost Along The Way," and "Genocide."

Ra: Andy Ryan - (drums); Sahaj Ticotin - (guitar, vox, keyboards, producer); P. J. Farley - (bass); Ben Carroll - (guitar, programming).

For more information, check out http://www.ra-band.net or http://www.myspace.com/ramusic.



"Raw" (Cement Shoes / Homebass; 2006)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton



What makes "Raw" by Ra a cool live album is that it sounds like a bootleg CD with really killer sound quality. In other words, it doesn't sound like a live album that's been virtually re-recorded with layer after layer of studio additions until the live sound is completely buried. Instead, "Raw" is ... well, raw. It sounds as though it were captured as it was played live.

I might be wrong about that, of course. It might just be that "Raw" was PowerTooled to perfection. But it doesn't sound that way to me. It's got the kind of sound you remember hearing from music played live in a venue. You know, that amplified-in-a-big-space sound that you only hear at a live show or in a genuine live recording.

The band certainly doesn't give anything away. There are no obvious errors or shortcut cheats that might identify "Raw" as the product of a studio rather than a live setting. Instead, Ra deliver a charismatic performance, with songs from both their "Duality" and "From One" CDs, with terrific musical ability and real energy. Like all great live albums, "Raw" sounds like the band is having fun on stage and the positive audience response captured here only enhances the live sound.

The CD also features a new studio recording of "Don't Turn Away," which starts out sounding a little like The Police(!) before morphing into the harder rock sound of Ra. Like many of the tracks captured in the live portion of this CD, "Don't Turn Away" has the melody and - Rough Edge


"Debut Band of the Week: Ra"

In an effort to be more active on this blog, I am starting a new trend called “Band of the Week.” The title is pretty self-explanatory; every week (or more realistically, every 7-12 days), I will post briefly about a certain band and give a short profile as well as some song samples. I will try to make many of my posts about bands that aren’t widely known, so as to make the whole thing more interesting and illuminating. Occasionally, Ryan can post about some bands he would like to discuss. Just don’t expect them to be nearly as interesting as my posts (just playin’ Ryan…but seriously). This idea was inspired by my love for rock music as well as the shameful Grammys, which do anything but award the best musicians.

That being said, the first ever band of the week is an overlooked act called Ra. A hard-rock/alternative metal band with a slightly progressive touch, the group takes its name from the ancient Egyptian sun god. The band is from Los Angeles and has been around since the late 1990s, and, after several lineup changes, its current members are as follows:

Sahaj Ticotin: Vocals, guitar

Ben Carroll: Guitar

Andy Ryan: Drums

P.J. Farley: Bass

Ticotin, when discussing the band’s name, said, “When I was naming the band I wanted to come up with something that tied the Sun into the image of the band. I was thinking of different kinds of things but, I like the idea of Ra because it’s short, melodramatic and sort of an odd thing and really unique.”

Ra’s songs often feature Middle-Eastern sounds (understandable, given their name) as well as a bit of Latino influence (Ticotin is half Puerto Rican). These influences help add a progressive flair to their music.

Ra has released three full-length studio albums (From One, Duality, and Black Sun), one EP (One, their debut album, which formed the basis for their first full-length release, 2002's From One), one live album (Raw), and one album (Black Sheep) that is a collection of b-sides and previously unreleased demos. Their most successful and well-known songs include “Do You Call My Name” (off From One; this is my personal favorite Ra song), “Fallen Angels”, a cover of The Police’s “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” (both of the previous two songs come from 2005's Duality), “Broken Hearted Soul” (from the 2008 album Black Sun, though the single was released in 2007), and “Supernova” (2009, from Black Sheep).

Links to these songs are below. I suggest you check out Ra for yourself!
Do You Call My Name
Fallen Angels
Every Little Thing She Does is Magic
Broken Hearted Soul
Supernova - Tommy D


"Ra"

The sun god. Every religion has one in some guise or another. Think life force. Think birth, death and resurrection. Think all-consuming passion. The ancient Egyptians called theirs RA. It's a fitting name for a band, especially one that generates such passion with its dynamic, multi-dimensional sound--and one that has cheated death in a sense. "Naming the band RA wasn't about tying it in with the Egyptians," says vocalist/multi-instrumentalist/producer Sahaj. "It was more about the actual sun god. The solar system and our planet's ecosystem is completely dependent upon the sun. Plus it's a fiery, passionate image."

Greet RA. The band has revolved around Sahaj in various forms since the late '90s. The real story, however, began in early 2002 when RA's current line-up solidified. It was then that Sahaj and New York drumming ace Skoota Warner were joined by upstart guitarist Ben Carroll and veteran bassist Sean Corcoran, both from the Boston area. The quartet began gigging on the east coast. Soon after, an early recording of FROM ONE's first single, "Do You Call My Name," entered heavy rotation at one of Boston's top commercial stations. In radio parlance, the track received "crazy phones" via request lines. The fans' enthusiasm was not lost on major labels.

When the froth finally settled in the wake of a signing frenzy, RA had aligned with Republic/Universal. Working quickly to capitalize on the momentum, the band entered the studio with Paul Logus (Limp Bizkit, David Bowie), who co-produced the band's debut alongside Sahaj. The success of that creative marriage is apparent throughout the disc's twelve tracks.

It almost didn't happen, though. "I knew I was able to connect with people, but I felt we were never given an opportunity," recalls Sahaj of his early struggles with the band. "After working at it for five years, I finally told myself that unless something amazing happened at the NEMO festival in Boston, I was basically quitting. As with the rest of my life, it all came down to the wire. We played that show, and a month later we were receiving major airplay."

"Do You Call My Name" marked the beginning of RA's rise. The song reflects facets of the diverse cuts that make up FROM ONE. It's exotic yet familiar, heavy yet funky, direct yet sophisticated, sensual yet soulful, unrelenting yet cathartic. It takes only one listen to realize that the question in the song's title is purely rhetorical, and the answer, of course, is "yes." Elsewhere, "Rectifier" combines eerie guitar atmospherics and peddling bass and guitar rhythms that burst into a cloudscraping vocal melody. The aptly named "Fallen Rock Zone" marries raga-esque guitar runs with a stuttering riff tattooed by Skoota's deft snare work and Sahaj's ganged vocals. And the aching "On My Side" chimes to life, gradually climbing to a windswept chorus that's bound to produce classic lighter-waving moments in concert. It's a varied collection of songs, for sure, and yet it all sounds unmistakably like RA.

"Our music can be played alongside that of any contemporary band, and it sounds like all of them and none of them," says Sahaj. "That's the key. I tried to make the music sound familiar yet different." It's all the product of a mind that reconciles opposites with ease. "I wanted to hear Metallica with the Police's Andy Summers playing guitar and Sting singing. It bothered me that there wasn't a band like that, so I formed one," he says with a laugh.

Both Ben and Sean had the benefit of seeing Sahaj perform before joining the band. As a result, they became fans of the music before they were even playing it. "It was heavy but melodic at the same time, and the hooks were totally there," recalls Ben, who first heard the bludgeoning "Fallen Rock Zone" via the Internet. "The music couldn't have been any better for me; it was a perfect match." "I fell in love with the music and the way it was approached and performed," says Sean. "The fact that it was all so - The Gauntlet


Discography

FROM ONE
Released: 2002
Label: Umvd Labels

1. Do You Call My Name
2. Rectifier
3. Fallen Rock Zone
4. Only
5. On My Side
6. Violator
7. I Believe
8. Parole
9. High Sensitivity
10. Skorn
11. Walking And Thinking
12. Sky

* From One charted in the Billboard 200 charts.

DUALITY
Released: 2005
Label: Republic

1. Fear
2. Fallen Angels
3. Tell Me
4. Take Me Away
5. I Lost Everything Today
6. The Only One
7. Superman
8. Love
9. Say You Will
10. Got Me Going
11. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic Ra
12. Far Enough
13. Undertaken
14. Taken
15. Swimming Upstream

* Duality charted in the Billboard 200 charts and the Billboard HeatSeekers charts.

RAW: LIVE
Released: 2006
Label: Cement Shoes Records

1. Fallen Angels
2. Rectifier
3. Only
4. Violator
5. Superman
6. I Lost Everything Today
7. Tell Me
8. Sky
9. The Only One
10. Do You Call My Name
11. Skorn
12. Don't Turn Away (Studio Version)

BLACK SUN
Released: 2008
Label: Federal Distribution

1. Broken Hearted Soul
2. Faulty Information
3. The First Step
4. Push
5. Don't Turn Away
6. Lost Along the Way
7. I Believe Again
8. Waste of Space
9. Genocide
10. A Poets Dream
11. Easier Than This

* Balck Sun charted in the Billboard 200 charts, the Billboard HeatSeekers Carts, and the Billboard Independent Album charts.

BLACK SHEEP
Released: 2009
Label: Sahaja Music Records

1. Supernova
2. Cross Of Snow
3. Yesterday's Rain
4. The Foundation
5. Busted
6. Baghdad
7. Chained To The Ground
8. Crazy Little Voices
9. What I Am
10. Not In Your Head
11. U Need Me
12. What I'm About
13. Seen All Good People
14. Who's To Blame

NEW ALBUM FOR 2012 RELEASE IN PROGRESS!

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Bio

Self produced, engineered, promoted, and managed Ra is considered by many to be the most underrated hard rock band still releasing music today. True Musicians and real vocals creating truly commercial and marketable songs that somehow manage to remain intense, mysterious, heavy and creative.

Ra's debut album, One, sold more than 20,000 copies as an indie release before getting signed by Republic/Universal and released as From One. It went on to sales 200,000 plus copies thanks to massive airplay by In Boston and a tour with more than 200 dates in less than a year with other bands such as Seether, Stone Sour, Powerman 5k, Doubledrive and others.
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After the success of From One, Ra planned for the release of their next album Dulity. At first Universal Records shuts down the album, not happy with the results they received. However after being persuaded to give the album a chance, they release it in 2005 with little promotion. Regardless of the lack of support the album went to sell 80,000 copies and also placed on the Billboard charts.

In 2006, Ra opted to leave Universal Records and took matters into their won hands. After doing business with Cement Shoes Records and Federal Distribution, vocalist Sahaj Ticotin, decided to create his own label Sahaja Music Records and to start releasing Ra's music himself.

After a short break and a few released singles and side projects, the band is back ready to rock the world again. In July 2012 , the band encouraged their fans to help them create a fully-fan funded album to be released later that year. Using Kickstarter Ra set a goal of $15,000 in one month. After a slow start, the band was shocked as the fans not only met the $15k goal, but more than doubled it! Production for the new album has started and is expected to be released in September 2012.