Monochrome was founded by Sylvain Aube in 1999. Perhaps best known for its frenchpop compilation Monokini (2001), the label was mainly an electronic music label until its dissolution in early 2006.

History :

Part I : Early Years (1998-1999 )

American indie labels like Matador or K Records were among the first influences of Monochrome, along with sophisticated pop labels like Bungalow in Germany, Emperor Norton in the United States and Tricatel in France.

The first three Monochrome releases were limited edition cdr which documented Sylvain Aube's projects : Stabatmater (MONO 01, a new-wave/rock trio), Tropic of Pisces (MONO 02, a cinematographic epic made with analog synths) and Le Monochrome Kid's Pop Binaire (MONO 03, lofi electronic). A song also made its way on the Beat Happening mailing list tribute "Our Secret".

Part II : the frenchpop episode (2000-2001)

In an interesting cultural twist, while Sylvain Aube was attracted to indie trends that were huge in United States and UK but obscure at home, many contacts on the web pointed back to its french culture. Sixties frenchpop was cool in the US with artists like Gainsbourg, France Gall and Francoise Hardy. A Tribute to Polnareff, Tzadik's Great Jewish Music : Serge Gainsbourg, and Emperor Norton's Pop Romantique were three popular compilations which inspired him to use his own background for the special project which became Monokini - A tribute to 60s Frenchpop (MONO 04).

Gathering bands from United States, France, Germany and Brazil as well as local acts, Monokini was Monochrome's first CD release with 1000 copies printed. It was distributed by Fusion III and was sold in several countries, including Japan.

Le Monochrome Orchestra , a 7-member live band, was formed with members of previous projects. They played 4 shows in 2001, including one in New York with Les Sans Culottes. They recorded their live set in studio, which became Agent Secret et 007 autres grand succes (MONO 007), a pun on their french version of 'Secret Agent Man'). After the success of Monokini, the summer of 2001 saw the birth of two cdr EPs: Belleatec (MONO 05), a brazilian band who also appears on Monokini, and Les Selenites (MONO 06), fronted by a member of Le Monochrome Orchestra, Charles Bosse.

Part III : focus on electronic (2002-2004)

Although he had been playing electronic music for a few years, it is the messy breakup of Le Monochrome Orchestra which led Sylvain Aube to definitively drop the band format and focus on his solo electronic act. The label is on the downside, with two projects which never came out : a sequel to Monokini featuring 80's frenchpop (MONO 08), as well as Le Monochrome Orchestra lead singer's project The Rivals (MONO 09).

Things turn back again when Sylvain Aube launched two electronic 3-inch cdr in 2002 : The S.E.X (MONO 10), an electro solo project that later appeared on Lux Catalogue (Neon), as well as Le Monochrome : Suomi EP (Mono 11), which became the starting point of a collaboration with Montreal avant-pop's A Vertical Mosaic* (*Note : Edmund and Heidi are now known as Hexes and Ohs while Ali is now part of Flames!)

In October 2002, Monochrome shares the bill with AVM and some ex-Bloody Gashes (Aids Wolf) at an halloween party at Ali's place, while Ali, Sylvain and Carlos did an improv show in July 2003 at Jupiter Room. The split EP (MONO12), pressed at 500 copies and distributed by Noise Factory, finally came out in spring 2004. Some copies made their way to Japan!

After a very special art class given by Genesis P-Orridge in Montreal, In the summer of 2003, Sylvain Aube founded the avantgarde improv collective named 'Zone Grise' with Charles-Alexandre Gregoire and seven more members. They did several listening nights in their loft, while putting out a compilation and playing live at SAT in December 2003.

2004-2005

Better networked than before, Le Monochrome can finally enjoy playing live at several venues in Montreal (Casa del Popolo, SAT, etc.). The main project of 2005 will be the release of Sweet Bits, an IDM record by David Kristian, with whom he will do a mini-tour (Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto). Quebec Connection is also playing live, while sharing the turntables for the new Musique Nordique nights, hosted at the SAT Mix_Sessions by Nat Hebert and Sylvain Aube.

Sweet Bits will be the last release of Monochrome. After a few 3-inch CDR released as Musique Nordique, Monochrome will retire in early 2006.

Zone Grise will also dissolve in 2006 after a second compilation and a few shows (Suoni per il Popolo Festival, Agora Festif, electronic sundays by Anne-Francoise of Minibloc / Le Son 666, etc.)

As a coda to the story, Sylvain Aube is now hosting the electronic music radio show 'Musique Nordique' on CIBL 101,5 FM.

MONOCHROME CATALOGUE

mono01 Stabatmater - Essais Transitoires Art Rock (1999) cs / cdr
mono02 Tropic of Pisces - s/t Experimental Electronic (1999) cs / cdr
mono03 Le Monochrome Kid - Pop Binaire 00_01 (EP) Lofi Electronic (2000) cdr
mono04 V/A : Monokini : A Tribute to 60s Frenchpop Retro Frenchpop (2001) CD
mono05 Belleatec - Tetra-Pak (EP) Brazilian Indiepop (2001) cdr
mono06 Les SÚlÚnites - s/t (EP) space punk (2001) cdr
mono007 Le Monochrome Orchestra - Agent secret et 007 autres grands succès Retro Frenchpop (2002) cdr
mono 08 V/A : Bikini : A Tribute to 80s Frenchpop Retro Frenchpop deleted -
mono 09 The Rivals - TBA Garage deleted -
mono 10 The S.E.X EP electronic (2003) cdr
mono 11 Suomi EP electronic (2003) cdr
mono 12 A Vertical Mosaic vs Le Monochrome split Indie Rock (2004) CD
mono 13 Monochrome good luck charm --- (2004) (poster)
mono 14 Le Monochrome s/t EP electronic (2004) mini-cdr
mono 15 David Kristian - Sweet Bits electronic (IDM) (2005) CD
mono16 Gentle Bakemono - 3' electronic (electro) (2005) mini-cdr

MUSIQUE NORDIQUE CATALOGUE (netlabel)

* V/A - Musique Nordique vol.1
(Gentle Bakemono, Quebec Connection, Le Monochrome)
electro (2005) mp3 + mini-cdr
** V/A - Musique Nordique vol.2
(Millimetrik, Galerie Stratique, Chernobyl Cha Cha, Mr. Knobs aka Taxi Nouveau)
electro (2005) mp3 + mini-cdr

ZONE GRISE CATALOGUE

zg00 Zone Grise - "00"
Compilation with 8 individual pieces + 1 improv
AvantGarde (2003) handmade cdr
zg01 Poly/chrome
Sylvain Aubé + Charles-Alexandre Grégoire
AvantGarde (2003) handmade 2xmini-cdr
zg02 Zone Grise - Compilation 2
Compilation with 8 new individual pieces + live improvs
AvantGarde (2005) handmade cdr
zg-- L'Orchestre Stupide - Onanisme --- deleted -