For our first Featured Collection, we invite you to dive into Deep Listening, a selection of albums inspired by the quiet daytime hours at ISC.
If you’ve visited the In Sheep’s Clothing listening bar, you’ve likely encountered a small folded card on the table with a simple message: “To hear more, say less.” Although never strictly enforced, the request has been a key strand in ISC’s DNA: providing a space for absorbing music, either collectively or in solitude.
This has been especially apparent during the daytime hours. Before the pandemic, ISC was a refuge within the bustling downtown Los Angeles streets, an Arts District nook advocating for an ideal. It was a clean, well-lighted space for whispered productivity and sound-centered reflection while enjoying a cup of tea or a glass of Japanese whisky. A zone attuned to music.
The daytime soundtrack invited that calmness with a selection of albums that transcended genre.
Deep listening, as coined by composer, teacher and thinker Pauline Olivieros, involves the idea of removing distraction and fully immersing yourself in the sounds around you. Such attention feels necessary in our constantly scrolling, ever-updating modern world, where we mostly experience music passively. We hear, but we don’t listen.
By contrast, the artists who create great records do so actively, spending countless hours practicing, imagining and recording their work. They arrange each detail, augment melodies with sly references, plant sonic Easter-eggs and toil over high-hat tones. They use all 24 tracks. They build grand, monumental songs and invite us in for all eternity.
We propose you absorb and internalize recordings as you would a novel, film or glass of fine wine. Live within them by carving time for deep listening. Put your phone in the other room. Don’t talk. Hush the internal dialogue. Focus on your eardrums and the miraculous ways in which waves of invisible energy, devoid of time and space, activate them.
Below are some of the most engrossing albums from those daytime selections at In Sheep’s Clothing. Whether the cosmic panorama of Alice Coltrane’s World Galaxy or the “music for dreams and illusion” of Pepe Maina’s Il Canto Dell’Arpa E Del Flauto, each of these records is a portal into a new realm — so long as you allow.