The Claude Mono Blog


Top Ten of 2014
December 13, 2014, 8:12 am
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2014 written in sand

Its the ‘Listing Season’ and I am not afraid to go out and face-off to Pitchfork, Drowned in Sound etc all and share some of my own personal listening highlights from this year. So here is my Top Ten for 2014.

As per last year I have used the same sophisticated scoring mechanism which is that because I listen to a lot of music across a lot of sub-genres these songs are the ones that when I listen to them they just stick in my head…I think that is a scoring formula that is entirely honourable and respectful of the artist’s creative process and one that can be tested by others who may be interested in my little self-indulgent list…

10 – Francois Sky – As We’ve Been As One

A great start to the year with this released in January. I discovered it a bit later in on the April  Active Listener compilation. It’s a free download on Bandcamp and also on Mixcloud. Francois Sky is from Berlin and the track is described as sitar and additional drone by Jeff Levitz – it is that but also so much more than just that …

 

9 – Haiku Salut – Sounds Like There’s A Pacman Crunching Away At Your Heart

I am definitely more melody than beats and this track presents the correct balance of simplicity, innocence and beauty to ensure it just sticks in your head – great on the train for watching the world pass by while still being a part of it…

 

8 – Anna von Hausswolff – Deathbed

Although this track is from her 2012 LP Ceremony I only discovered Anna von Hausswolff this year thanks to The Dreamers a tribute to Kate Bush cover CD with MOJO magazine. I love this track for what it is in its own right and its heavy video but I also like that if you listen you do get reminded of Kate Bush – really reminded of Kate Bush. See also my Golden Apples post on Kate Bush playing live in 2014 – only about 35 years since she last played out live  – now that is another 2014 highlight.

 

7 – Larry Jon Wilson – Sapelo (yap z rework)

It is always hard to find time to be creative but you need to. This year I managed to get some really nice mixes up on mixcloud to share that I am very happy to go back and listen to again. When I can I have also been noodling about a little with video editing. Sometimes, like creating music mixes you can have a quiet Friday night and a few beers and a nice long lonely edit session and something unplanned but special might result – that is the joy of creating. It was pure luck but when the short film Growing Up in Appalachia and Larry Jon Wilson‘s Sapelo (yap z rework) both met each other in my video editing software – My own personal creative highlight of the year happened…

 

6 – Throwing Snow – Saltare (Parts 1 & 2)

I am always trying to find interesting sounds for The Golden Apples of the Sun and through this process I get to discover great bands and great new labels. Throwing Snow (Ross Tones) is one as is his other project Snow Ghost with vocalist Augustus Ghost. Throwing Snow are on the Houndstooth label. I think Mosaic is one of my favorite albums of the year. It has a specific sound, its very pure, and its thematically consistently across all the tracks. Also last year’s live set at the Boileroom is still one of the best.

 

5 – Joni in the Moon – Dove Song

I had the opportunity to DJ at RTRFM’s World in a Warehouse event in an appropriately large great for parties warehouse in Fremantle earlier this year. It was also the first time I had either heard or seen Joni in the Moon. With Joni and special guest Ofa shrouded in white and bathed in soft lights it reminded me of another special gig a few years ago seeing The Stepkids at The Bakery – different sounds but same special intimate vibe – and with super tight production the live set was as dense and intricate as the LP. Produced, written and recorded by Joni Hogan and Josh Hogan, mastered by Lee Buddle this was the local LP for me for 2014. It should have been a double LP gatefold quadrophonic production. Its tricky in Perth but I hope the band all stay together as I am full of anticipation for what may follow. All the tracks on the album are great but this one has a video.

 

4 – Benjamin Schoos Ft. Laetitia Sadier – Je ne vois que vous

From France Gall and Jaqueline Taleb and the other 60s Ye Ye girls, from Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin through to the sounds of Mellow, Air and Charlotte Gainsbourg,  I have always loved ‘ French Pop’.  In 2012 it was Air’s Jean-Benoît Dunckel and Tomorrow’s World, in 2013 it was The Limiñanas, and now in 2014 its Benjamin Schoos Ft. Laetitia Sadier of Sterelab fame and  Je ne vois que vous

 

3 – Purple Snow – Forcasting the Minneapolis Sound

To be technically correct actually released in December 2013 but the big heavy LP boxset arrived very late and then was listened to almost exclusively at the expense of all other music (especially funk and soul)  during January, and into February, and then throughout the year. Numero Number 50 chronicles and celebrates the ‘should have been’ and ‘could have been’ and ‘some who were’ soul and funk wonders from Twin Cities Minneapolis across 4 LPs. Lavishly packaged with a 144 page (Grammy nominated) hard cover book “Purple Snow gathers as the sprawling, nonfiction prequel to Purple Rain’s cultural takeover”. Each of the 14 tracks here is very special.

Stylle Band –  If You Love Me  – as featured on Purple Snow

 

2 – Jane Weaver – Argent -The Silver Globe

I first got into Andy Votel’s Finders Keepers via the Folk is Not A Four Letter Word compilations. I knew Jane Weaver and Andy Votel were together, that she was a musician,  and that she is boss-woman at Bird Records home of Emma Tricca and the fab Bearded Ladies compilation (an essential starting point for female psych folk listening). Well when her The Fallen by Watchbird album came out it blew my mind!! with its trippy psych folk. It was followed by the equally essential and related follow up The Watchbird Alluminate with its all-star collaborations –  and then nothing… for a long time… until 2014 and The Silver Globe – these three albums together are an incredible listening experience. The Silver Globe highlight is of course the Krautrock inspired Argent – its so deep as it just washes all over you over 8 minutes…

 

1 – Beyond The Black Rainbow – Original Soundtrack

I discovered the track Sentionauts a few years ago while searching for some Tangerine Dream-esque layered analogue synth electronica. It was the day after seeing Jon Elliott of Emeralds playing a very intimate set at the North Perth Bowling Club. I have been obsessed by this film soundtrack ever since. Great sounds, great visuals – but unreleased. It also led me to Sinoia Caves and Jeremy Schmidt. In September 2014 thanks to JAGJAGUWAR the soundtrack to Panos Cosmatos’ ‘lost classic’ of the 1980s finally got a legit release. Not only a legit release but also a legit vinyl release. So this gets to be #1 because its about how seeing a live artist can inspire you –  the joys of searching and collecting –  how music and cinema connect – how great it is that lost classics are reissued – and how I believe we are looking to really ‘share’ what we think about our music not just ‘access’ it and perhaps that is why vinyl is doing so well again in this ridiculous digital age. Modest thoughts I know.

 

Near Misses

As I think of them (probably from looking at other people’s lists) I will add some near-misses…

ok – Viktoria Modesta – this video has so much going on it made me really rethink about how we view disability

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