Welcome to ISC HiFi. Explore our growing collection of classics and rarities from around the world. Discover the stories behind the records. Experience the ISC listening space from home through our (( ROOM RECORDING )) audio player below.

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All Keyed Up by keyboardist Ben Tankard is not what you’d expect from a gospel artist… In fact, there’s not much expected or “normal” to Ben Tankard’s life at all. He’s a former professional basketball player, credited as the Godfather of Gospel Jazz, a Reality-TV dad, Aircraft pilot, and also an extremely gifted multi-instrumentalist in […]

From RVNG Intl. comes a 2017 anthology of self-released trans-temporal new age music by Bay Area composer/synthesist Pauline Anna Strom, assembled from seven albums composed and recorded between 1982-1988. Blind since birth, Strom’s impairment seemed to sensitize her navigation of the world through the auditory plane, creatively immersing her deeply and thoughtfully in the listenable […]

The long-awaited reissue of Ernest Hood’s private press masterpiece is a must-have for any ambient music fan. Released in 1974 before the term “ambient music” was even coined, Neighborhoods is a deeply nostalgic record that brings back memories of times past, lost youth, suburban streets, and children at play. Musical narration is the central component […]

A future classic from two rising stars of the LA jazz/electronic scene. Music for Saxofone & Bass Guitar was originally self-released as a limited white label in 2018 and has only just recently seen a wider release (500 copies) on beloved LA electronic label Leaving Records, a sub-label of the legendary Stones Throw. The music […]

From the expert curation of Numero Group comes an extensive anthology of rare cassette releases, deep cuts and previously unreleased gems by prolific electronic music pioneer Joanna Brouk. An early contributor to the electronic music genre with an extensive electronic music education (UC Berkeley B.A.; Mills College M.A. with training under Terry Riley), Brouk took […]

When you think of classic digger records, Lonnie’s albums are sure to come up. Endlessly sampled (the most famous being Digable Planets’ “Pacifics”) and sought after for his warmly produced cosmic funk, Visions of a New World is a slight departure from the artist’s typical sound. Much of the record dives into a more soulfully […]

The debut release from NYC based artist Chester Raj Anand serves as something of an audio diary retelling the experience of a solo trip to Tokyo. The story goes that Anand would secretly record audio samples of synth sounds while demoing them in the shop to later use for creating the melodies and atmospheric textures […]

“I strove to produce a musical work which uplifts the spirit by calming the mind and organically stimulating the subtler dimensions of physiology, in a manner consonant with my own heart.” So reads the back cover of Pacific Northwest sound sculptor David Casper’s hidden gem (crystal?) from 1984. The two side-length pieces, Dawn Poems and […]

Hard Candy, Ned Doheny’s blue eyed soul opus, offers a lesson in everything going right for a record, yet still failing commercially. After his debut album failed to chart, Doheny teamed up with Average White Band’s Hamish Stewart in 1974 to write some songs. The resulting demos caught the attention of guitarist Steve Cropper (Booker […]

Jon Lucien is known as one of the most focused and emotional balladeers to ever step in front of a microphone, but it’s his soothing baritone voice that really sets him apart from the rest. On Rashida, Lucien creates an amalgamation of many cultures with his Caribbean folk meets r&b soul/ jazz infused orchestral arrangements. […]

Stepping Into Tomorrow is a classic jazz-funk bomb from the great Donald Byrd featuring an all star cast including Gary Bartz on saxophone, Chuck Rainey on bass, and the legendary Mizell Brothers on writing as well as production duties. Byrd was in a new creative phase of his career, moving away from the hard bop […]

An essential for any Arthur Russell fan, Another Thought is the enigmatic artist’s first posthumous release after passing from AIDS in 1992. Compiled by producer Don Christensen from the thousands of tapes Russell left behind from 1982-1990, the songs vary in stages of completion and showcase Russell’s raw genius in its most intimate forms. The […]

Archie Shepp’s Attica Blues is a multi-faceted jazz masterpiece. Musically, it represents a departure in Shepp’s music from the free jazz leanings of his previous output to cohesively span jazz, funk, soul, r&b, and gospel with a large ensemble of musicians and vocalists. Politically, the record functions as a powerful piece of social commentary, a […]

Bobby Brown’s debut is a difficult to classify outsider opus that has become a sort of grail for rare psych collectors (it’s featured in the highly renowned Acid Archives guide to underground psych, folk, and outsider sounds). A manifestation of a singular star child, Brown built and plays all 50 homemade instruments, which he combined […]

Zummo With an X is the debut album of Peter Zummo, a multi-instrumentalist and frequent collaborator/friend of the great Arthur Russell. Zummo’s playing can be heard on some of Russell’s most classic records such as Dinosaur L’s “Go Bang #5” and “The Platform on the Ocean.” Russell in turn plays cello on this album. The […]

Tim Buckley’s third album represented many important changes for the young songwriter. He stopped working with the lyricist of his first two albums and began to write his own. In addition, Buckley’s newfound appreciation for jazz gave him more of an expansive approach to songwriting. He started to use his voice more like an instrument […]

American composer and multi-instrumentalist Alvin Curran’s fantastic debut Canti E Vedute Del giardino Magnetico, which translates to Songs and Views from the Magnetic Garden, consists of two sidelong pieces. The first side, a blend of cymbals, glass chimes, harmonica, flugelhorn and soprano vocals from Margherita Benetti, is pure avant-garde experimental music, and a bit more […]

Linda Cohen was a mostly self taught musician from Philadelphia who along with being a fixture in the local avant-garde music scene, worked diligently as a classical guitar teacher for over 35 years. Her solo debut Leda is a perfectly minimal blend of gentle, fingerpicked acoustic guitar with baroque, blues, and classical stylings. Cohen is […]

The aptly titled Traveller is an icy ambient journey through the harshness of a 
midwestern winter. Enveloped by nature and snow, Sampson recorded the Traveller entirely alone in a bedroom closet in Minnesota, with only a Yamaha DX-7, a guitar, and a four-track TEAC reel-to-reel. Shortly after its scant 1987 release and generally poor reception, […]

An In Sheep’s Clothing nighttime favorite, Barbara & Ernie’s only release is a complex combination of soul, folk rock, and late 60’s psychedelia. At first listen, it doesn’t seem too different from the commercial music of the time, but then you start to notice the electric sitars, the funk leaning bass, multi-layered vocals, and the […]

San Francisco is the perfect introductory album to American jazz vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. Featuring his right-hand man Harold Land on reeds, the duo’s style takes a step forward from their previous post-bop and hard bop sound that didn’t sweep records off the shelves, into more commercial jazz fusion territory, without compromising on edge, intricacy, intellect, […]

Blacks and Blues was recorded in 1973 when American jazz flutist Bobbi Humphrey was just 23 years old, two years after becoming the first African-American female instrumentalist signed by Blue Note. And yet, the only indication of her age is her sweet sugary timbre as she makes her vocal debut. The success of Blacks and […]

If you’re new to Alice Coltrane, this is an exciting first album to catapult you straight to her planet, whereas other albums might fly you there more slowly. Recorded in two days and featuring a string orchestra of 16, this sonic kaleidoscope features originals by Alice Coltrane, as well as upside down inside out reimaginings […]

A good rule of thumb if you want to dive into an enormous artist discography and don’t know where to begin: trust the artist’s own recommendation. In this case, Nina Simone said she’d rather be remembered for Nina Simone and Piano! than for a commercial hit like “My Baby Just Cares For Me.” The simple, […]

In an unlikely collaboration between folk singer Laura Allan and New Age pioneer Paul Horn, Reflections captures two artists in perfect harmony of their talents. Allan, in addition to being an incredibly gifted songwriter, was something of a string instrument prodigy and made instruments for other Laurel Canyon heroes including Joni Mitchell and David Crosby. […]

What makes this record so special is the sublime interplay between Bill Evans piano playing and Jim Hall’s guitar work. These two masters of their craft found a way to share the lead on this record and the result is one of the most seminal jazz duets ever recorded. While the music itself is rather […]

It comes as little surprise that Miles Davis was a great admirer of Ahmad Jamal. The critically acclaimed jazz innovator, known for his understated playing and elegant arrangements has been referred to as “the zen master of piano”. It is rumored that his pianos sometimes needed to be tuned between sets due to the percussive […]

Steve Reich’s organic minimalist tour de force is a ground breaking record that would become an influence for much of the electronic records we hear today. Reich creates an underlying harmonic undertone with two rhythmically different time signatures occurring simultaneously. Though the movement from chord to chord is often just a re-voicing, inversion or relative […]

Charlie Haden’s Closeness is comprised of 4 duet collaboration based melodies crafted by Haden. On each number, Haden (the bassist) pushes the musical envelope playing opposite an artist he respected and was excited by: Keith Jarrett, Ornette Coleman, Alice Coltrane, and Paul Motian. For Haden, “Closeness” is part of the creative process of feeling close […]

This record finds Neil at a crossroads musically somewhere between country, rock and blues. While the title suggests summer breezy, On The Beach finds Neil in a more cynical mood, playing in a more hard edge fashion with stark tones reflecting what was going on at the time. Loneliness and confusion seem to to be […]

A monumental jazz big band record, Masterpieces by Ellington was one of the earliest releases to take advantage of the extended time available on Columbia’s brand new 12-inch “long-playing” LP format. Ellington classics “Mood Indigo” and “Sophisticated Lady” are presented here for the first time in their complete, concert-type arrangements with dazzling orchestral textures and […]

When Pharoah Sanders’ Love in Us All was released in 1974, it was already becoming clear that the artist was shifting away from the wilder experimentations of his earlier days. After leaving Impulse! and taking a three year hiatus from recording solo material, Pharoah would re-emerge in 1977 with an entirely new band and release one […]

A much needed reissue of Chicago jazz legend Philip Cohran and his Artistic Heritage Ensemble’s private press gem On the Beach. Cohran played with the Sun Ra Arkestra in the 50’s and continued a similar forward-thinking approach with his own group. TheArtistic Heritage Ensemble’s sound largely centered around melodies from Cohran’s signature frankiphone or “space […]

The New Folk Sound Of Terry Callier released in 1966 on Prestige is exactly what its title suggests – a fresh take on American folk from the then-newcomer Callier. Drawing inspiration from jazz, blues, and soul, Callier re-interprets traditional folk standards bringing a uniquely African American perspective to classics like “Cotton Eyed Joe” and “900 […]

One of the most sensual records of all time. Janis Gaye, whom the album is dedicated to, recalls “I’m pretty sure if you took a poll of how many babies were born in 1976, 1977 and 1978 most of them listened to this album at one point or another.” With track titles like “Feel All […]

A daytime favorite at ISC, John Carroll Kirby’s solo piano album Tuscany on NYC label Patience is music inspired by a time and a place. The Los Angeles-based Kirby, who has become a go-to collaborator for numerous pop artists over the years including Solange, Frank Ocean, Blood Orange, Connan Mockasin, among others, composed the album […]

A timeless masterpiece by Simon Jeffes’ Penguin Cafe Orchestra. PCO’s sound is difficult to categorize but perhaps best summed up as a mishmash of Jeffes’ eclectic influences – jazz, world music, classical, ambient, folk, and pop. It’s innocently simple and approachable music, with the minimal arrangements and uplifting melodies bringing a sense of childlike wonder and […]

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