The Claude Mono Blog

Best of 2018
December 16, 2018, 9:55 am
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Highly subjective selections … Yes, it’s that time of the year again … where I trawl the folders on my Seagate external backup drives … shuffle through the Expedit shelves checking the recent vinyl … Did I not buy more this year? … why did I buy so many new-age reissues? … and I plunder other people’s blogs and lists but never really find what I thought I would find …

no top ten countdown type order- this year’s list is elegantly sequenced to match its own musical bell curve but really who cares … you can ignore the diary-like reflections and random thought-bubbles and just enjoy the HQ Mixcloud mixtape here

Rabbit Island – Jonah’s Dream, on the Rocks – Deep In The Big

Over the years I have enjoyed seeing Amber Fresh and friends in many unusual places including the ever first fundraiser for The Golden Apples of the Sun a longtime ago, performing in the basement at the Re-Store for The View from Here, at Camp Doogs, and even in the kitchen at a party at Jade Nobb’s house. This new LP beautifully under-engineered. Jonah’s Dream, On the Rocks is not the ‘best’ track but is my favorite. And I love the cover artwork


A Hawk & A Hacksaw – The Magic Spring – Forest Bathing 

I have loved A Hawk and Hacksaw since I discovered their Easter Folk many years ago. They have stayed true to the cause with little treasures along the way such Oporto and last years solo LP Agistri by Heather Trost. The video for ‘The Magic Spring’ of latest LP Forest Bathing is directed by Peter Strickland of Duke of Burgundy fame, with Producer, production & costume designer: Dora Nedeczky.


Gavino Morretti – Dawn of a New Generation – The Shildam Hall Tapes

Since 2014 Stephen Prince’s A Year In The Country has been defining and redefining its own pastoral and hauntological identify evolving to a vast project that now encompasses the original blog, a series of musical releases, and now a book. The music is “an exploration of the undercurrents and flipside of bucolic dreams and where they meet and intertwine with the parallel worlds of hauntology; it connects layered and, at times, semi-hidden cultural pathways and signposts, journeying from acid folk to edgelands via electronic music innovators, folkloric film and photography, dreams of lost futures and misremembered televisual tales and transmissions”.

This track by Gavino Moretti was a highlight on 2018’s The Shildam Hill Tapes  which is soundtrack providing ‘reflections to an imaginary film’ – think Rosemary’s Baby meets Berberian Sound Studio…


Sonoda – Goodbye – Karaoke Life

Lisa Sonada’s LP Karaoke Life came out in September 2018 but really was a celebration of all that preceded it: “…for growth from struggle, for lessons and challenges. for years Lisa Sonoda has guided us through her sonic universe to gaze and contemplate upon the arcs of existence by way of waves of sines. with karaoke life, recorded live to 2″ tape, we find her for the first time supported by a band of six close friends to articulate a vision. if karaoke rewards those who read from the script, act with linearity, and find comfort in familiarity then karaoke life is a practice in looking away from the screen, pulling the plug on the music, and singing your own song”. The track Goodbye was originally found on Clearing 1 back in 2016. I accidentally discovered Sonoda this year through this Tiny Desk video…


John Makin & Friends – No Lie – Uneven Paths: Deviant Pop From Europe 1980​-​1991

Creating timeless and stand-out works of great beauty in the vast compilation genre has been a challenge that when done well I can really appreciate – compilations like Creation Record’s Keeping The Faith, or more recently Efficient Space’s  Sky Girl and Music from Memory’s Outro Tempo. Well Music From Memory got it right again in 2018 with Uneven Paths: Deviant Pop From Europe, 1980-1991 a multiple artist multiple genre compilation compiled by record connoisseur Raphael Top-Secret and label man Jamie Tiller. “It brings together twenty one tracks from across the European continent, ’Uneven Paths’ focuses on a selection of tracks that go beyond the confines of mainstream pop music but which also transcend expectations of much of the ’experimental’ music of the time”.

Footnote: remembering now last year’s Sky Girl and Nora Guthrie, daughter of American folk musician and singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie and his second wife Marjorie Mazia Guthrie, sister of singer/songwriter Arlo Guthrie, and granddaughter of renowned Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt… her largely (still) undiscovered track Home Before Dark


Testbild – Under Paraplyet –  Stad

A new LP from Testbild for 2018. They are from Sweden have been around like forever really and are much loved by those who know of them and who sometimes reference them as a Swedish Stereolab hybrid. I like that in the same way as the (kind of) legendary Kriedler are the other band from Dusseldorf but everyone has only heard of Kraftwerk.

Testbild have a lengthy catalog to explore. The new album Stad was recorded at Sonores Studios in Gothenburg, deep inside a hidden shelter where saxophones and mellotrones may howl and buzz as much as they want without the rest of the city hearing. Van Der Graaf Generator and Nürnberg 47 are lurking behind the facades, the flashing and crackling of stars falling down into a dark pond at night. The track ‘Under Paraplyet’ just oozes out of the speakers like a jazz-buzzed Stereolab.

From their website bio…

So, finally to the big question: is Testbild! really pop music?
The answer is Yes, if you want it to be. But Testbild! is also an abstract idea that is everywhere around you. A strange conspiracy of thoughts and musical beliefs, always dedicated to hummable tunes, otherworldly sounds and song writing. You are always welcome to join us, if you think you can see trough the web of lies and hypocrisy of commercial music. Because, and this is important, ANYONE can be a member of Testbild!. And anyone IS. You know that guy with the glasses sitting in the corner of your local café, staring at you all the time? Most certainly a Testbild! member. The old lady selling apples at the market square, always humming on a strange tune? Testbild! member. The little girl in a school uniform standing on a balcony, looking up in the sky? OK, now you get it.


The Limiñanas – The Gift (feat. Peter Hook) – Shadow People


C’est Magnifique… The Liminanas put this out at the very start of 2018 on ‘Shadow People’ and 12 months later its one of my best songs of the year. Peter Hook adds the New Order style ‘hooks’ and those Marie Limiñana vocals. Peter Hook himself is always modest and full of humility and I am sure he is quite genuine in this interview video when he confirms how his contribution takes the track towards the status of ‘La vie en Rose  by Grace Jones or the work of The Velvet t Underground. There are some great live versions – all very raw – I love the one with the guy in the suit on stage dancing – in the band? who is he? … move over Bez. 


Zooey – Ride, Ride / Fin Du Travail, Vie Magique – Inspiration Information

Love this – I guess its 2018 style indiepop? It has a lot going on. I think my love could be more related to a little Instagram video I made when I mixed it with an obscure 1980s band called Twins and that little video is now the only image I have when I listen to this great happy song.


A Beacon School – Its Late – Cola

This was already a great song and has loads of fan videos but I think this is one of the best video ideas I have watched this year – it goes perfectly well with the track and is such a simple editing idea.


Jonathon Wilson with Laaraji – Loving You – Rare Birds

This one first appeared in a very celestial new age set within a great edition of the Golden Apples. You can still hear the HQ mix here and an equally good one by Jesse Yuen here

Jonathon Wilson has appeared in my ‘Best of’ lists before with his stunning song and video for Desert Raven’.

If 2018 was ‘peak’ new age revival then Jonathon Wilson and Laraaji coming together and sharing some love was really all you could possibly hope for.


Khruangbin – Friday Morning – Con Todo El Mundo


After being under the radar for a while 2018 saw Laura Lee, Mark Speer, and Donald “DJ” Johnson as Khruangbin go completely overground. A band that truly knows, understands and channels its influences. So tight live – I love their live versions. 


Pram – Across The Meridian – Where the Sea Stops Moving

Still from upcoming video for ‘Shadow in Twilight’

Pram’s first album in over a decade is something to celebrate. “The album’s apex is reached on the penultimate ‘Where the Sea Stops Moving’ – a still piece that echoes with the quiet, scratchy fuzz of an old record player while Sam Owen delivers a downright haunting vocal performance. Her voice glides over the song’s ghastly aura as well as its distant classical piano notes, creating one of the most disturbingly memorable moments that Across the Meridian serves up. By the time the album concludes there’s this sensation of awaking in the middle of a dream, and the only solution is to be to re-emerge your ears and your mind. It’s an album that rewards repeated listens because there is so much to be gained from them. Every journey back to Meridian offers one more dazzling gem, shimmering in the music’s translucent waters just waiting to be discovered. Immerse yourself and become beautifully adrift”.


Bibio – Capel Celyn – Phantom Brickworks

juju namjai’s YouTube comment expresses it better than I can… “I like where he’s going. It’s where he’s at. It’s just a snapshot in an everlasting wave of time. I like the way this piece makes me feel. You can’t please fans, where’s the art in that?!. Someone will always compare and someone will always have attachments. This is perfect, in every way. Repeat. The video is a from a series made by Bibio himself. I posted them here.


… and so it ends

… don’t forget you can listen to all the tracks on a HQ Mixcloud mixtape here

Near misses

Too many… but a few that I definitely should have thought of but forgot are:

From Feb Lake Ruth’s great LP Birds of America – love the track ‘Julia’s Call’

From December Unloved and ‘Hearbreak’ with its Julian House video – the new LP did not make it for 2018

want more? 

Best of 2017 last years and previous lists here


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Breakfast Mix
December 9, 2018, 2:19 am
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A Breakfast Mix for Taylah as featured on Breakfast with Taylah on

A 30-minute musical ‘bell curve’ that starts of slowly and then ends back where it begins… poetry and cinema with Sylvia Plath, Sofia Coppola, Risky Business… music from The Billinda Butchers, Zooey, The Chemical Brothers, A Beacon School, Red Axes, Global Communications and more..

Listen on Mixcloud here


Darkel – Satanama – Summer – 2015 /

Sylvia Plath – Lady Lazarus (excerpt) – 1962 BBC recording /

Zooey – Ride, Ride Fin Du Travail Vie Magique – Inspiration Information EP – 2018 /

The Billinda Butchers – All My Friends – regret, love, guilt, dreams EP – 2011 /

Chemical Brothers – The State Were In (excerpt) – Come with Us – 2002 /

Red Axes – Sun My Sweet Sun (Konstantin Sibold Afro Tech Remix) – 2016 /

Sofia Coppola – Everything Changes – Lick the Star (excerpt) – 1998 /

The XX – Intro – XX – 2009 /

A Beacon School – Its Late – Cola – 2018 /

Eric Kupper presents K-scope – Organism (excerpt) -1994 /

Williams – Love n A Real Train (Odyssey Mix) – 2008 /

Global Communication – 8:07 – 76:14 – 1994 /

Sylvia Plath – Lady Lazarus (excerpt) – 1962 BBC recording /


Jane and Serge
November 11, 2018, 9:16 am
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This 1990 TV appearance is amazing. Watch the whole thing for the nuanced gestures and glimpses. Filmed shortly before his death, amazing footage of the chemistry between Serge and Jane after they had separated – was it a broken heart? – watch him bash the key sof the piano.

More?… some great photos here 


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El Ritmo – August 2018
August 22, 2018, 11:01 am
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… things get (un)real as the legendary DJ Cheese Baker (aka John Bannister) of The Charisma Brothers joins Claude Mono on El Ritmo tonight… its all girls, gringos, Herb Alpert records, trumpets and dancing in your pyjamas… your Tue night Hi Fi journey…

Show re-stream here  – select 21 Aug 2018

Mixcloud < coming soon>


Chico Arnez – Havana 1850

Gerry Mulligan – Frisco Club

Marcos Valle – Pepino Beach

Joe Cuba – Bang Bang

Celso Murilo – Implorar

Baja Marimba – Flying High

Emanuel K Rahim & The Kahliqs – Spirit Of Truth

Soul Bossa Trio – Call Me, Mr Vibes

Mongo Santamaria – Green Onions

Senor Coconut – Tour De France

Osibisa – Keep On Trying

Herb Alpert & Hugh Masekala – Skokiaan

Tokyo Paradise Ska Orchestra – Baby Elephant Walk

United Future Organisation – Loud Minority

The Chopsticks – Mas Que Nada

Chris Montez – The Face I Love

Joe Cuba Sextet – El Pito: Never Go Back To Georgia

Afrique – Soul Makossa

Abdul Tee-Jay’s Rokoto – Kanka Kuru

Celso Murilo & Conjunto Drink – Tem Que Balanca

Stefi Akos – Mariguana Cha-cha-cha

Soledad Miranda – El color del amor

Horace Silver – Song for my Father

Sergio Mendez – One Note Samba

Astrud Gilberto & James Last – Caravan

The Charisma Brothers – Elle

Herb Alpert – Spanish Flea

Herb Alpert – Tijuana Taxi

Herb Alpert – Rise


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Siamese Dream – Indie
August 3, 2018, 10:19 am
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its all 90s sticky carpet, cheap drinks and falling in love on the dancefloor under the strobe lights at The Firm Nightclub upstairs at The Old Melbourne Hotel. Not a ‘classics’ set but a few of my fave indie-dance tracks, some shoegaze. some obscurities and some remixes, and even a few post-millennium hidden-gems to prove great sounds never die… Claude Mono

Listen to the show re-stream here

Listen to the HQ Mixcloud Mixtape here – just the music

PLAYLIST (for the Mixcloud Mixtape)


Stereolab – Brakhage (BBC Peel Session -1997)

New Fast Automatic Daffodils – Big 1990

The KLF – 3 A.M. Eternal Blue Danube Orbital mono mix

Primal Scream – Star – Vanishing Point – 1997

The Soup Dragons – I’m Free (Terry Farley Mix) – 1990

The Farm – Groovy Train (Train Jumped at 3.30 am Mix) – 1993

The Happy Mondays – Clap Your Hands – 1988

Dead Can Dance – Threshold – Dead Can Dance – 1984

MARRS aka A R Kane – Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance) Remix – 1987

Lush – Sweetness and Light – 1999

Slowdive – Crazy for Love (Live on KEXP 2017)

SPC ECO – For All Time

Paris Angels – Perfume (all on you) – 1991

Ozean – Porcelain – 1992

The Bilinda Butchers – All My Friends

Devilish Dear – These Sunny Days

My Bloody Valentine – Soon (Andy Weatherall Remix) – 1990

Silver Bullet – 20 Seconds to Comply – 1991

Slowdive – Moussaka Chaos

Bauhaus vs. She Wants Revenge – Bela Lugosi Tears You Apart 2006 vs. 1982

Pulp – This is Hardcore (Extended) – 1997

The Flaming Lips – Race for the Prize (live at Fredonia University) – 1999

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Soulsides Kid Soul and Soul Families Mixtape
April 14, 2018, 3:04 am
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Radio show and mixtape.

Its a Claude Mono Deluxe Edition exploring the fabulous sounds of the totally badly named ‘kid soul’ subgenre – plus some other soul families – and some other funky beautiful soul things.

Show restream here – includes Claude’s chit chat sleeve notes

Mixcloud here –  remastered and just the music!!


The Jackson 5 – There Was A Time – Live At The Forum

The Jackson 5 – The Love You Save – ABC

The Turner Brothers – Cause I Love You (Paolo Scotti & Giacomo Silvestri Sun Sound Re-Edit)

Nancy Dupree – James Brown – Ghetto Reality

Little Gary Ferguson – I Feel Good

The Triads – If You’re Looking for Love – Home Schooled- The ABCs of Kid Soul

Hassan – Ghetto King – Eccentric Soul The Bandit Label

Majestic Arrows – Another Day – Eccentric Soul The Bandit Label

Majestic Arrows – I’ll Never Cry for Another Boy – Eccentric Soul The Bandit Label

Stevie Wonder – Soul Bongo and La La La La La – The 12 Year Old Genius – Recorded Live

Sisters Love – Give Me Your Love

The Eight Minutes – I Can’t Get No Higher – An American Family

The Promise – I’m Not Ready For Love – Home Schooled- The ABCs of Kid Soul

The Isley Brothers – Love The One Your With  – Givin It All Back

Little Jimmy Gandy – I’m Not Like The Others

Stevie Wonder – Hey Love – Down To Earth

The Jackson 5 – Michael The Lover

Altyrone Deno Brown – Thought I Was a Playboy – Eccentric Soul The Bandit Label

Bethlehem Centre Childrens Choir – I’m a Special Kid

The Man Child Singers – Right On

The Five Stairsteps – Danger She’s a Stranger

Foster Sylvers – When I’m Near You

Foster Sylvers – Misdemeanor (Mr. K Remix)

Linda Lewis – Reach For The Truth – Lark

The Sylvers – Remember the Rain

Fathers Children – Who’s Gonna Save The World

Boddie Acetate – Let The Children Play

The Sylvers – Hotline – Something Special – Mixcloud only

The Jackson 5 – Goin Places – Goin Places – Mixcloud only

Duwende – Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough

Start exploring…

The Man Child Singers – The lone 45 by Man Child Singers is a musical snapshot of an anti-nuclear family, worthy of a framing for the staircase wall. Sue, Merl Jr., and Tony Saunders experienced the Summer Of Love firsthand through their pre-Grateful Dead father Merl Saunders. Their big “break” came when the San Francisco Giants commissioned Merl Sr. to write and record a commercial jingle. Team Saunders was enlisted to do the vocal work. The drafting continued with Big Time Buck White, a political musical written by Merl Sr. and family friend Ed Lewis, which featured both the Saunders and Lewis kids. The resulting Sumertone 45, “Mighty Whitey” b/w “Right On,” is a completely sincere sign-of-the-times by kids too hip by half.

Altyrone Deno Brown – Altyrone Deno Brown’s childhood home was both harem and commune, with anywhere from eight to ten women sharing a bed and paycheck with Arrow Brown, his father. Acting as manager and agent for his son, Bandit Records proprietor Brown hit the pavement, looking to exploit the burgeoning talent around him. Deno spent nights singing Sam Cooke to patrons of Chicago’s south side club circuit. Instead of school, Deno auditioned and rehearsed.



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The Golden Apples of the Sun Radio Show Links
April 14, 2018, 2:51 am
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In case you have not been there…the links to the Golden Apples of the Sun Radio Show

RTRFM www with show restreams here

Golden Apples Blog with show info , links, videos and all the mixtapes here

Mixcloud mixtapes here

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