Clara Mondshine - Luna Africana LP


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Label: The Great Thunder

Our Review:

OH YES!!! We've been intrigued by this artist & album ever since seeing mention of it in a useful reference book we found called New Sounds: A Listener's Guide To New Music, published in 1987. One might hope for Clara Mondshine to be among the rare female krautrock composers, but no, in fact Clara Mondshine was the pseudonym or project name for a man named Walter Bachauer, a radio director and journalist as well as composer and musician. His krautrock pedigree does extend back to the ‘70s when he played in Peter Michael Hamel's excellent improvising acoustic/ethnic ensemble, Between. As a solo artist, he released three albums under the Clara Mondshine moniker, starting with this one, Luna Africana, in 1981. (Perhaps he would have made more records, but he sadly passed away in 1989.)

Mondshine's music on Luna Africana is DIY cosmic electronica, 'Berlin School' style, made with analog synths and other probably fairly lo-tech, lo-fi electronic gear. Mondshine's repetitive machine mesmerism is super droney and trippy, and almost playful too. These all-instrumental space-outs also sometimes having a touch of ethnic/world music to them as well (a la Between). This is also another example of something at the intersection of krautrock and new age. Hence titles, once translated into English, like "Raga Of The Rising Planet" and "Harp Of The Amazons." On one track, delightful melodic figures repeat over equally charming pulsing patterns of motorik rhythm, followed by a more atmospheric excursion into the outer space drone-zone on the next, and then it's back to relaxing runs of gentle tones over cyclic bleep-bleep-bloop, wreathed in whips of drone. What's not to like about that? Definitely for fans of Cluster, Kraftwerk and A.R. & Machines, among others.