As we ease into the new year, delve into the treasure chest of the Qobuz team’s mind and discover some of our Hidden Gem albums of 2023!

In line with Qobuz canon, of course, many of our teams’ hidden gems defy classification by genre, but here we will try to categorise our selection broadly for you. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your next favourite album.

In the (overly generalised) Alternative / Indie sphere, we have a selection of gems to suit just about any taste. On Radial Gate by Sluice you can find yourself at a natural ease as the album meanders through the smog-inspired ramblings of North Carolina singer-songwriter Justin Morris. If you lean towards the folk side of the indie world, I Am the River, the River is Me traverses a journey exuding joy and sensitivity as songstress Jen Cloher discovers and embraces the beauty of her Māori heritage.

However, if you’re looking for something with a little more punch, try the debut album Cartwheel from New York shoegaze rockers Hotline TNT. Thrilling, alive, clean and bright, this album is bound to get some feet moving. Amplifying everyday feelings, Will Anderson’s voice stands out above a cacophony of shoegaze and power-pop anthems that are constantly pushing into the red.

Speaking of pushing into the red, if you want to take things in a darker direction, Hexvessel’s icey ode to the Sub Arctic North is an album to experience. On Polar Veil, with almost guttural power, Mat “Kvohst” McNerney summons the demons of his past as his vocals glide over a mix of black metal, and ritual folk all tied together with metallic, shivering Gothic undertones.

If instrumental is more your style, here are a few recommendations that fit somewhere between jazz, neoclassical and experimental, but like we said, genre specification can not be promised here.

On Cull Portal by Eora/Sydney-based artist Lance Gurisik, you can find a glorious mix of strings, various jazz combinations and electronics that culminate to create a deep and transcendent sonic soundscape. Amping things up a bit we have the free jazz-inspired punk of Sunwatchers on Music is Victory Over Time, an album that meanders through minimalist textures and intricate jams all whilst keeping you on the edge of your seat.

Join violinists Trina Basu and Arun Ramamurthy on a journey of cultural exploration and emotional clarity on Nakshatra as they create a sonic world fueled by raga, classical and experimental music. Or discover six newly commissioned works that exude grace and depth on STILLPOINT, a new album by concert pianist Awadagin Pratt that features works composed by a diverse range of composers for piano, string orchestra (A Far Cry), and vocal ensemble (Roomful of Teeth).

If something more electronic is your speed, Welsh duo Overmono are in the running to join the famous UK dance scene’s long list of legendary duos. On their debut Good Lies, intimate moments blend into energetic beats as they craft rich textures executed with sonic perfection. Or perhaps something more gentle is your style? Look no further than the subtly ambient stylings of Hinako Omori on stillness, softness... this album, as the name states, provides a sense of melodic catharsis. Tracks flow into one another as this album breathes life into its own.

On the more upbeat side of electronica, indulge in the euphoria of producer edapollo’s third album Technicolour Places, laden with vivid imagery that is crafted from the producer’s desire to “use music as a way of bringing back color and positive energy to life.” Or experience the true uniqueness of Finnish traditional folk singer-songwriter and musician Vilma Jää, who specialises in the Finnish tradition of vocal cattle herding calls. On her debut, Kosto, Jää creates a truly unforgettable cross-section of talent as she mixes a blend of club music and pop with a vocal style familiar from old Finnish folk music.

Take a beat to discover the new era of artists breaking into the soul and rap scene who are demolishing boundaries and blurring genres. Further Out Than the Edge by the Speakers Corner Quartet brings together long-time staple artists of the South London scene in a celebration of musical diversity that defies genre. Or experience the new future soul sound from B-Ahwe on her album 26% Mixtape which blends core elements of UK music like drum n’ bass, broken beat and alternative hip-hop with B-Ahwe’s angelic vocals.

Taking influences from across the pond is Kari Faux, which she demonstrates on her no-holds-barred Houston rap album Real B*tches Don’t Die, on which she pays homage to her diverse culture, whilst remaining fiercely innovative. Telling the story of a different world is rap group Bricknasty from the unlikely home of Dublin, Ireland. On their debut, INA CRUELER the group excavate the turbulent past and current realities that their suburb, Ballymun face through hip-hop, jazz, spoken word and R&B.

Hidden Gems 2023 was compiled with contributions from Sujan Hong, Nitha Viraporn, Jeff Laughlin, Euan Decourt, Sini Tiainen and Jessica Porter-Langson.