Now Sound: Downtempo, Ambient Jazz, Soft Rock, and more recent favorites

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Recent favorites from New York, Detroit, Akron, and Ukraine.

Each week the global listening community gets bombarded with new releases, reissues and restocks. As music freaks who read these missives and are attuned to the bounty regularly arriving, we love sharing great sounds. Below are some particularly crucial new arrivals, a number of which will soon be available in the In Sheep’s Clothing shop.

Anthony Naples – Chameleon

Anthony Naples has been an important figure in the NYC dance community for the past decade, first with the label Proibito (2013-2017) and later by co-founding Incensio. Through his curation with the labels as well as his own releases, he’s quietly helped to define a specific corner of the dance world. With Chameleon, Naples gives us a little glimpse into his musical past. At the end of the ‘00s, there was the sample-heavy, psych-noise scene, defined by such labels as Not Not Fun and Night People, that Naples was certainly privy to. He also worked at Brooklyn’s famed indie label Captured Tracks. Out of all of Naples’ releases, Chameleon is the first that feels connected to that part of his history, but not in a way that rests heavily on nostalgia. It’s Krauty downtempo that’s reaching for the future by blending optimistic melodies with jammy live instrumentation and pleasing sound design. Though still music for the DJs, it’s music you’d like to see performed live, too. – John




The Detroit Escalator Company – Soundtrack [313] + 6

The sound of “riding a bicycle through the empty streets of Detroit at 3am,” Soundtrack [313] by Detroit Escalator Company (aka artist Neil Ollivierra) is one of techno’s most overlooked classics – and an ambient techno masterpiece. A mysterious but crucial figure in Detroit’s electronic music history, Ollivierra served as Transmat’s label manager during the labels’ most prolific years (1988-1992) before venturing into his own art and production. He disappeared from the scene completely in 2006, but his music has continued to find new audiences … Highly anticipated, the album will be pressed on heavy vinyl at 45rpm and presented as a 25th anniversary audiophile edition via Switzerland’s Mental Groove Records / Musique Pour La Danse. – Phil




Nianio, GeeNerve & Taran – Frozen Jungle

So Healthy Music, based in Colonge Germany, has unearthed a nearly lost Ukrainian masterpiece titled Заморожені Джунглі, which in English translates to Frozen Jungle. This record was composed, performed, and recorded by GeeNerve, Svitlana Nianio, and Taran in 1995 with the collective intent to forge new ground creatively. The resulting exciting amalgam of traditional music, electronic instrumentation, and influences from abroad generates a haunting comfort – but in a sonically enchanting new musical language.

Opening track “Solo Fugitive” is powered by a writhing percussive rhythm that presumably is influenced by the people of Roma, who are a sizable population in the country. Towing the line between jazz and lounge, each track finds similarly unique stylistic overlaps. Nianio’s voice is most striking in “Tried River.” Whether her soprano register when she sings or the warmth of her speaking voice, she creates a sparkling resonance. Closing track “Pursuit” is unsettling, veering in and out of a cosmically chaotic ethereal void. – Tana




Roberta Vandervort and Sally Townes – Roberta Vandervort & Sally Townes

A kind of posthumous collaboration between two strangers, Forager Records’ new release combines recordings from a pair of 1970s-era private-press artists, Sally Townes and Roberta Vandervort. Described by Forager as a “supernatural union,” both artists were informed by the gentle winds blowing through American FM radio at the time – soft rock, softer funk, curious Steely Dan-esque studio jazz and chilly organ soul designed for making sweet, sweet love. Vandevort’s “Walk Softly” is one highlight: Driven by an electric organ, a wobbly, unpredictable rhythm section and Vandevort’s whispery voice, it maneuvers through the kinds of breaks and stuttering pauses that J Dilla feasted on. Each measure’s kind of weird – in a wonderful way. Townes’ work is a little more straightforward; we’re hot on Neon Castles, a quiet storm soap opera set in a world of “diamonds and lear jets and body guards” where “screaming crowds and flashing lights” give way to “full houses and empty nights.” – Randall




K. Freund – Hunter On The Wing

“Really though, a lot of the time now I just want to listen to the birds.” One of our favorite record labels at ISC since day one, London based Last Resort continue to expand the portfolio of work from Akron, Ohio ambient jazz specialists with Keith Freund’s latest solo effort. “Hunter On The Wing” sees Freund, listed here as K. Freund, step to the other side of where he’s normally situated (having designed every record on the Last Resort catalog thus far). Tirelessly crafted, sonically spacious and highly personal, the result is a pensive and spacious ambient album perfectly attuned to Last Resort’s signature sound, featuring instrumentation including piano, handmade electronics, tenor sax, strings and field recordings. – Jonny




Sly & The Viscaynes – Yellow Moon

After a parade of bootleg comps and disingenuous lo-fi releases, we finally have a proper compilation of the enigmatic funk master Sly Stone’s musical beginnings – all transferred from the master sources. Yellow Moon perfectly showcases a pre-Family Sylvester Stewart,  collecting all known recording material made when he was a teenage hopeful, well before his future glories. Included are the original singles Sly recorded with his interracial early ‘60s high school vocal group the Viscaynes; all of his debut solo releases under the names Danny (Sly) Stewart and Sylvester Stewart; and a unique selection of unissued demo tracks produced by teen idol (and Viscaynes mentor) Gary Stites. The very sought-after Jasper Woods 45 features an incognito Richard Berry with the Viscaynes on vocal support. Yellow Moon is the perfect package for completists, 60’s soul enthusiasts, or those curious in further musically understanding this elusive funk giant. – Dane




Available in-store: https://insheepsclothinghifi.com/product/sly-the-viscaynes-yellow-moon-the-complete-recordings-1961-1962-2lp/

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