In Sheep’s Clothing: Our Favorite Releases of 2023

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Now Sound favorites selected by all of us at In Sheep’s Clothing. Part 2 Archival & Compilations coming soon.

It’s been another year of unexpected changes here at In Sheep’s Clothing. Last year, we promised a new listening bar was in the works… Strangely, it was across the country in New York City that we found a new home for the listening bar. While Lower Manhattan was not what we had envisioned when we first closed our doors in the Arts District, In Sheep’s Clothing NYC has since become a haven for music lovers from our extended community. Stereophile‘s Alex Halberstadt had the following to share about their experience at our one of our dedicated listening sessions:

“When I looked around, everyone was engrossed in the music. I took another sip of the cocktail and felt happy. For the next hour and change, I experienced what I’d always wanted to — listening to recorded music in a communal space dedicated to that very thing, surrounded by great records and sound, appreciative strangers who seemed as excited as I was, and excellent drinks.”

Of course, we’ve continued to stay busy in Los Angeles as well:

• After closing down the shop on Fairfax, we collaborated with dublab to open up a new space called Sound & Vision at ROW DTLA. The experimental pop-up will run until mid February. Join us this Sunday for a zine release party with International Anthem!

• We launched an ongoing listening series with JACCC (Japanese American Cultural & Community Center) and presented Bronzeville Jazz, World of Yellow Magic Orchestra, Experimental Sounds of Latin America, Susumu Yokota, ECM Records, Krautrock / Berlin School, and Harp Music. Stay tuned for more events spring of 2024.

• The second release on our ISC Hi-Fi Selects label Planet Q featured new music by Jinjabrew and Tomoki Sanders (son of Pharoah Sanders). The album was just featured on Rush Hour’s Top 25 of 2023. We’ll have our third release coming early 2024!

• In Sheep’s Clothing HQ live sessions featured performances from Khotin, Tim Bernardes, 29 Speedway, Dustin Wong + Brin, Planet Q, and Billy Valentine & the Universal Truth.

• We expanded the record fair hosting it at the amazing LA3C festival and also presented our first event outside of Los Angeles in collaboration with Part Time Lover hi-fi and Folk Arts Rare Records at Quartyard in San Diego. The second edition will happen this weekend on Sunday, December 17th.

2024 should bring more news and (hopefully) new plans for Los Angeles… As always, we want to thank everyone for their continued support. We hope to listen to music together with you all at the S&V shop, NYC listening bar, HQ, or another space very soon 🙂 In the meantime, below are our favorite “Now Sound” releases of 2023 selected by all of us at In Sheep’s Clothing LA and NYC.

Check out our favorite Reissues and Compilations of 2023: https://insheepsclothinghifi.com/reissues-compilations-of-2023/


  • ARTIST: Flaer
  • TITLE: Preludes
  • LABEL: Odda Recordings
  • STYLE: Folk, Modern Classical, Ambient
  • LOCATION: UK

A warm and idyllic ambient folk album that I’ve played many mornings this year. Gentle guitar strums, delicate piano melodies, and chirpin’ birds – peaceful and grounding all the way through. — Radha




  • ARTIST: Vanishing Twin
  • TITLE: Afternoon X
  • LABEL: Fire Recordings
  • STYLE: Art Rock, Experimental
  • LOCATION: UK

This record reaches deep into the past while shuttling you far into the future. Afternoon X was born of members from Broadcast, Floating Points, and others from genre-defining ensembles, and each brought with them their sonic DNA. Singer Cathy Lucas’ vocals are the backbone of each track and brings voice to the mesmerizing lyrical spells that tightly bind the tripped out melodies and chugging rhythms. Tracks like “Lotus Eater” and “Marbles” are the favorites, though the record is sequenced as a suite, and it’s recommended that that you start this play from the top. — Tana




  • ARTIST: Sulah Jordan
  • TITLE: Lady Bug
  • LABEL: Self-released
  • STYLE: Soul, Jazz, Field Recording
  • LOCATION: US

Are you ready for a trip to the Sublime? If so press play on this breathtaking debut EP from San Francisco vocalist and multi instrumentalist Sulah Jordan. It sets off with liberated ease on “Jasmine”, a track that leads you into an irresistible soulful portal. There’s not a miss on this release, and “Musèe Melancolique” is enchanting with a mist of panning chimes that will send shivers up your spine. I hope this is the first of many for Sulah Jordan. — Tana




  • ARTIST: Nourished by Time
  • TITLE: Erotic Probiotic 2
  • LABEL: Scenic Route
  • STYLE: Pop, R&B
  • LOCATION: US

Nourished by Time’s debut full length clocked in at my most listened to album of the year. I spent a lot of time with this one while in motion; on planes, bike rides, in the car. Most notable memory was biking over the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time ever on a warm New York evening with this on full blast. — Jonny




  • ARTIST: Brian Hargrove
  • TITLE: Intrinsic Episodes
  • LABEL: The Village
  • STYLE: Jazz
  • LOCATION: US

Just discovered this debut from LA-based composer Brian Hargrove. Fluttering, soulful, Sakamoto-esque piano compositions that play out like a soundtrack. Cozy up with this one during the holiday break! Released by local Los Angeles label The Village. — Jonny




  • ARTIST: ML Buch
  • TITLE: Suntub
  • LABEL: The Village
  • STYLE: Indie
  • LOCATION: Denmark

Clocking in at almost one hour, Danish songwriter ML Buch’s second full length stuns with a well balanced mix of vocal and instrumental electro-acoustic indie rock tunes. It’s all about the use of space on Suntub for me. — Jonny




  • ARTIST: Chuquimamani-Condori
  • TITLE: DJ E
  • LABEL: Self-released
  • STYLE: Aymara, Psychedelic
  • LOCATION: US

DJ E is the most recent project from Chuquimamani-Condori, an occasional alias for the prolific artist E Crampton Chuquimia. Meant in part to evoke the sound of an Aymara water ceremony, these tracks skip across the stars at breakneck pace, gathering new elements and sounds along the way. Wielding BOSS samplers, a baby grand piano, CDJs, and a circular saw, among others, E and their brother Joshua reverently recall and reshape the sounds and rhythms of their heritage with a club-indebted palate in mind. The textures that these instruments conjure often pile upon each other in a euphoric, dizzying sonic lattice — every time I return to this album, riffs and motifs that previously seemed hidden become clearer. These brief melodic missives, swirling and sinking in the wavelike din of chopped and screwed huayño rhythms, have kept me buoyant as another New York winter creeps in. — Wyatt




  • ARTIST: Tara Clerkin Trio
  • TITLE: On The Turning Ground
  • LABEL: World of Echo
  • STYLE: Aymara, Psychedelic
  • LOCATION: UK

The Tara Clerkin Trio, a Bristol based group whittled down from the more spacious and multi-limbed Tara Clerkin Band, certainly make the most of their compact arrangements. The Turning Ground is their second release, a five track EP following a mesmerizing full-length debut. Here, Tara’s voice is more present, a warm and beckoning beacon that disperses and settles into beautiful circular phrases, weaving in and out of the undulating, hypnotic framework laid down by the rhythm section of Sunny-Joe Paradiso and Patrick Benjamin. I’m continually moved by the way the trio synthesize so fluidly a mixture of anachronous influences, allowing the listener to traverse new pathways beyond genre limitations. This music is earthy, it is damp peat moss glistening with the morning dew. No sunrise is complete without it. — Wyatt




  • ARTIST: Bex Burch
  • TITLE: There is only love and fear
  • LABEL: International Anthem
  • STYLE: Avant-Garde, Jazz
  • LOCATION: US

Expert British xylophonist Bex Burch’s debut album after time spent in her band Vula Viel is a brilliantly rendered instrumental record. Recorded in Chicago alongside instrumentalists including Tortoise drummer Dan Bitney, percussionist-bandleader Ben LaMar Gay, and woodwind player Rob Frye — as well as post-production augmentation from bassist Anna Butterss and violinist Macie Stewart — There is only love and fear is probably a jazz record, maybe, but hits so many different vibes that it defies categorization. — Randall




  • ARTIST: Asher White
  • TITLE: New Excellent Woman
  • LABEL: Ba Da Bing!
  • STYLE: Indie Rock
  • LOCATION: US

Preternaturally skilled artist, writer and musician Asher White has been releasing music for seven years, and is only in her early 20s. Her most produced and accomplished album to date, New Excellent Woman flies all over the place, from chamber pop to indie to avant-pop. I can’t wait to hear what this inspiring Chicago-raised genius does next. — Randall




  • ARTIST: Sans Merit
  • TITLE: Early Grave
  • LABEL: Zen2000
  • STYLE: Indie Rock
  • LOCATION: US

Sans Merit, a new project from artist/producer Griffen James takes you on a journey that is far from linear with Early Grave. The guitar driven, free form synth stylings reminds me of something Dean Blunt would make and or sign to his label. — Bryan




  • ARTIST: Blod
  • TITLE: Ondskans Frö
  • LABEL: Zen2000
  • STYLE: Rock, Ambient
  • LOCATION: Sweden

Blod is Gothenburg-based musician Gustaf Dicksson. Twisted, meldodic folk music that has no space for overdubs, all of it feels like someone experimenting with the art of not quite locking it in. And I love it. — Bryan




  • ARTIST: Paul St. Hilaire
  • TITLE: Tikiman Vol​.​ 1
  • LABEL: Kynant Records
  • STYLE: Dub Techno
  • LOCATION: Germany

Rhythm & Sound collaborator Paul St. Hillaire aka Tikiman delivers his first solo album in more than a decade with the future classic Tikiman Vol​.​1. One of dance music’s quietly legendary figures, the singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist has explored genres from ambient dub to avant-jazz and lush techno to lovers rock, along the way appearing on records with Deadbeat, Rhauder, Larry Heard aka Mr. Fingers, Modeselektor, and Stereotyp, among others. Vol​.​ 1 collects recordings from across 30 years of solo recordings, diving into the mind, life, and personal histories of one of the few longstanding Black producers living in Berlin. Immensely deep, headphones or subwoofer highly recommended! — Phil




  • ARTIST: pmxper
  • TITLE: pmxper
  • LABEL: Smalltown Supersound
  • STYLE: Electronic, Spoken Word, Rock
  • LOCATION: Russia

A spiritual continuation of 2021’s Blue, PMXPER sees Pavel Milyakov (Buttechno) pick up the guitar and team up with another female voice; this time its rising Berlin-based sound and visual artist Aleksandra Zakharenko (Perila). Whispered spoken word poetry, walls of guitar, jazz brushes, saxophone, and a Rhythm Ace FR-3 drum machine evoke dream-like sequences that have a certain desert quality to them: the tumbleweed toms on “Stich”; the pulsing electronics of “Lavender Milk” that sound like heat-waves; the fuzzy blues guitar lick on “Irrigation”; the lonesome drone of a solo sax that ends the album on “Osouro.” Much like Young Marble Giants’ post-punk classic Colossal Youth (which is directly stated as an influence), the album is minimalist with its instrumentation but fully imaginative and free form in its delivery. — Phil




  • ARTIST: Scotch Rolex and Shackleton
  • TITLE: Death by Tickling
  • LABEL: Silver Triplet
  • STYLE: Dub, Experimental
  • LOCATION: Germany

Early dubstep alumni and Skull Disco founder Shackleton meets the surrealist electronic music of Shigeru Ishihara aka Scotch Rolex. Bass heavy, psychedelic, dubwise, and fully unpredictable, the music here draws from both UK sound system culture and traditional / club music from around the world as Scotch Rolex’s percussive beats twist organic instruments and samples into shapeless forms. A perfect hour-long journey, you’ll find yourself getting lost in Shackleton’s hypnotic, tuned sub bass patterns while Scotch Rolex’s incantations swirl around like DMT sound design. Like the Tikiman album above, this one is recommended (basically required) listening on a proper system or a good pair of headphones; most of the bass frequencies lie well beneath the surface. — Phil




  • ARTIST: Franciska
  • TITLE: Tryghed
  • LABEL: Discreet Music
  • STYLE: Ambient
  • LOCATION: Denmark

The aptly titled album “Tryghed” – which roughly translates to “security” or “reassurance”– sways from one hauntingly beautiful vignette to the next. Franciska’s slow, glowing piano strides and collage tape explorations wrap around the listener like a warm blanket. This is music perfect for soundtracking a quaint dinner party or an afternoon daydream, something to be used as a utility or medicine. — John




  • ARTIST: Holy Tongue
  • TITLE: Deliverance and Spiritual Warfare
  • LABEL: Amidah
  • STYLE: Dub
  • LOCATION: UK

After an incredible trilogy of EPs, Holy Tongue, a group consisting of three individually active/prolific musicians, returns with their first full-length album. On Deliverance and Spiritual Warfare, the group melts elements of dub, jazz, post-punk, and krautrock into something innovative and rich. In some ways, it feels like they have picked up where Burnt Friedman and Jaki Liebezeit left off with their string of “Secret Rhythms” releases. Through their use of sound design, unconventional rhythms, and dub techniques, these three continue to push into new terrain. — John




  • ARTIST: Munir
  • TITLE: The Soundtrack Of Sentiments
  • LABEL: 1asia
  • STYLE: Indie
  • LOCATION: Boogie, Funk

This compilation is grabbing international musical feels from Bali to Shanghai. Feeling disco but not disco, the Bandung-based producer distills electro-funk, cosmic disco, Balearic, downtempo, and plenty more into nine pieces of nostalgic, escapist, blissed-out electronic sounds. Some are for sunset parties, others soundtrack a late night on the smoke and plenty bring in some winter sunshine to your life. Truly special. — Max




  • ARTIST: Greg Foat & Gigi Masin
  • TITLE: Dolphin
  • LABEL: Strut
  • STYLE: Jazz, Ambient
  • LOCATION: UK

A truly sublime blend of ambient and jazz. Greg Foat and Gigi Masin are a duo conceived in the skies, and this pensive project is a pure gift of blissful yet melancholic sounds. — Forrest




  • ARTIST: Stønefruit
  • TITLE: Delta Waves
  • LABEL: Aural Canyon
  • STYLE: Ambient, New Age
  • LOCATION: US

Soft and ethereal synths develop at the speed of clouds, hovering over Eno-like piano motifs and well placed, very musical field recordings. Recommended for newborns and old heads alike. — Forrest




  • ARTIST: Sofie Birch + Antonina Nowacka
  • TITLE: Languoria
  • LABEL: Monodoj
  • STYLE: Ambient, Vocal
  • LOCATION: Poland

Otherworldly one-time collaboration between Danish ambient artist Sophie Birch and Polish vocalist Antonina Nowacka. These melodic compositions feel almost religious in their beauty, a sonic delight of acoustic and electronic instruments and field recordings. — Cate




  • ARTIST: Operating Theatre
  • TITLE: Spring Is Coming With A Strawberry In The Mouth / Rapid Eye Movements
  • LABEL: Allchival
  • STYLE: Synth Pop, Experimental
  • LOCATION: Ireland

Compilation of selected works from Irish outsider recording artist and composer Roger Doyle, which he made for an experimental theatre group from the 80’s into the early 2000’s. Interesting and varied listen of hard-to-define rock, synth pop, and tape music. — Cate




  • ARTIST: M. Sage + Zander Raymond
  • TITLE: Parayellowgram
  • LABEL: Moon Glyph
  • STYLE: Ambient
  • LOCATION: US

A 40-minute exploration of soothing ambient soundscapes, modular ditties, field recordings, and live instrumentation. The latest release from M. Sage and Zander Raymond will transport you into a state of pure and unadulterated bliss. — Andrew




  • ARTIST: Salamanda
  • TITLE: In Parallel
  • LABEL: Wisdom Teeth
  • STYLE: Electronic, Ambient
  • LOCATION: South Korea

Coming on the heels of their 2022 release, “ashbalkam”, Seoul-based left-field duo Salamanda returns with an absolute slammer of a record with 2023’s “In Parallel.” Striking a more refined sound than their earlier releases, “In Parallel” leans heavier into their more introspective side, while still maintaining the left-field percussive rhythms and spaced-out vocal arrangements that made “ashbalkam” such a special record. A wonderful sophomore release that will leave you wanting more. — Andrew




  • ARTIST: Laurel Halo
  • TITLE: Atlas
  • LABEL: Awe
  • STYLE: Ambient, Modern Classical
  • LOCATION: US

The experimental artist’s fifth solo album, and her first on her newly minted Awe label; is a suite of cloudy ambient jazz and tonal collages that are designed to take the listener on “a road trip through the subconscious.” At times elusive and engrossing, ‘Atlas’ has been a such a dreamy and awe-inspiring listen to continually return to since its drop this past September. It quickly became an invaluable soundtrack to score the falling leaves and our steady march into winter, with “Belleville” sneaking in last minute to be my most played song this year. Dramatic and tender, formless and composed, ‘Atlas’ is stacked with so many overwhelming passages of destabilizing beauty. — Dane




  • ARTIST: a.s.o.
  • TITLE: a.s.o.
  • LABEL: Low Lying Records
  • STYLE: Trip-hop, Pop
  • LOCATION: Germany

This striking, dreamy ’90s trip hop-inspired debut by Berlin based duo a.s.o. (Tornado Wallace and Alia Seror-O’Neill) has been somewhat of a modern staple here at the new ISC NYC bar space. If you’ve come in over the last few months, chances are you’ve heard it. Deeply atmospheric, seductive, melancholic, it’s one of those records that truly transports the room as soon as the needle drops. Alia’s emotionally charged lyrics of feverish love and disappointment is so harmoniously scored by Wallace’s backdrop of beautifully inspired spacial downtempo. I read somewhere they set out to to make “torch songs for the club freaks” — they achieved that tenfold. — Dane




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