RAIJ were formed in Liverpool in 1985 and from the beginning they challenged and confounded musical and artistic classification. Not so much a band as a loose creative collective, they gained an immediate reputation for their immersive multi-media performances combining layers of visual imagery, elements of ritual, disparate samples, field recordings and mesmeric live music.
RAIJ described their eclectic and seemingly post-modern creative method as an act of restoration rather than de-construction. Referencing the transfigurative nature of Orthodox iconography, they have defined their work as the pursuit of a deeper truth and a more elusive beauty.
Between 1987 and 1995 RAIJ released their two classic two albums, Gift of Tears and Mirror and two EP collections Paradis and Liturgie Pour le Fin De Temps. Their recorded works initially drew superficial comparison with the neo-folk genre, but their intensely spiritual, meditative and sometimes unsettling pieces have also been compared to artists as diverse as Scott Walker, The Velvet Underground and holy minimalist composers Arvo Part and John Taverner.
RAIJ’s recordings and live performances are often interspersed with periods of prolonged silence. In 2014, the French experimental label Infrastition released a box-set containing RAIJ’s entire back catalogue and two new compositions.
After more than a decade of apparent inactivity RAIJ gave live performances in Liverpool and Leipzig and commenced work on a new album, Beauty Will Save the World, due for release on Occultation Records in the summer of 2015.
Although RAIJ appear to cultivate an aura of anonymity and mystery, they believe that conventional marketing and promotion are antipathetic to their creative purpose. In a rare interview with American cultural and spiritual blogger, Jason Moorehead, they explained;
“We live in a world where we are being sold things every hour of every day, but the things we truly value are not the things we are sold, but the things we discover. To that end we are content to be discovered.”
(Re)discover RAIJ at Greenbelt 2015.