Sam Wilkes's latest project, the recently released WILKES, begins with an ambient, atmospheric take on John Coltrane's "Welcome" before launching into deconstructed jazz-y and electronic soundscapes. It feels simultaneously warm and piercing. His FADER Mix embodies that same spirit, a 50-minute trip that takes some turns without leaving the ground. It's a welcome primer on what Wilkes describes as his musical community, featuring sounds by collaborators including the musicians Sam Gendel, Louis Cole, and Genevieve Artadi. It's perfect for a long drive, or a cozy afternoon spent curled up with a book. Listen below and read on for a track-by-track breakdown from Wilkes himself.
Sam Wilkes: This is a small collection of music by some friends and peers in my community.
Jacob Mann, "Juno Music": The opening track of his YouTube-only EP, Juno Music. Jacob is one of my dearest friends and favorite voices in music right now.
John Carrol Kirby, "Poroy Station": John Carrol Kirby will take you to the spa, to the mediation retreat, and will leave you feeling absolutely chic.
Sam Gendel, "Pure Imagination": Featuring Brian Eno by way of Windows 95. Sam’s arrangement of the Willy Wonka masterpiece, “Pure Imagination.”
Chiquita Magic, "Amistad": From Colombia, but living (part time at least…she travels a lot) in Montreal. I met Chiquita Magic while on tour with KNOWER. I saw her play a house show with Louis on drums and Genevieve on background vocals. Mind blown. Been a fan ever since.
Genevieve Artadi, "Now What": From Genevieve’s first solo album, Genevieve lalala. This song takes me to some place special, and is one of my favorites to play with her.
Louis Cole, "I Think We Both Need It": One of my favorites off of Louis’ first album, Louis Cole. I used to listen to this song every night, always super late, as I packed up my gear from the practice rooms at USC.
Knower (Live Band), "Things About You": A clip of the solo section of the KNOWER song “Things About You” live in Vienna in 2016. We got pick-pocketed on the way back from dinner to this gig, so the energy for us was intense; I feel this recording documents that quite well. The band accompanying Louis and Genevieve for this show was: Me (bass), Sam Gendel (alto saxophone), and Dennis Hamm (keys).
Sweet Joseph, "Friends Forever": from New York, New York. I met Daryl earlier this year. And this song of his makes me really really happy. Quality Time Records put it out, they rule.
Matthewdavid’s Mindflight f. Dntel, "Earth Flight": A snippet of this Matthewdavid soul expander. I first saw Matthew after one of his Mindflight shows at the Highland Park Ebell…he was opening for Laaraaji. And I thought, who is this person?, upon seeing him on his flowing robes ish. I didn’t meet him until a year or two later when he came to see me and Sam Gendel play duo. We ended up connecting that night and afterward I sent him my album [WILKES LR137] which, 7 months later, we ended up putting out on his label (and one of my favorites of all time), Leaving Records. You’re probably reading this as the result of me and Matthew meeting. Pretty freaking cool.
Kiefer, "Most Beautiful Girl": Kiefer. He really says it on this track. the modulation. Undeniable favorite for me. Credit: Sam Gendel showed me this song; you can find our contrafact of it on Music For Saxofone and Bass Guitar.
John Keek, "If + When": Man, John Keek. I love him and this song a lot. bass line is out of control.
Ryan Power, "The Cavalry": I met and saw Ryan play this one night last winter in NYC. After a KNOWER gig at Le Poisson Rouge, me, Louis and Genevieve took an Uber to Rockwood Music Hall for a Genevieve solo gig. Ryan was opening the set, and he got on stage, plugged in his iPhone, and sang along to the instrumental of this track. It was one of the most captivating performances I have ever seen. I remember looking over at a friend and both our jaws were freaking dropped. I believe Thom Gill is the person who connected Louis and Genevieve with Ryan.
Thom Gill, "The Kingdom": Thom is one of my favorite musicians on the planet, who as you may of guessed by now, I met through Louis and Genevieve. I heard this song for the first time playing with Adam Ratner, who called it and brought in a chart for a gig we did at the bluewhale.
Inc. No World, "Waters Of You": Daniel and Andrew Aged are such huge freaking inspirations for me. Because of time constraints, I just put the solo section of this song on this playlist…it’s one of my favorite solos of Andrew’s. This album As Light As Light was a major soundtrack for me in the fall/winter of 2016.
Brian Green, "Memory Man": Brian Green is my brother, and his music has gotten me through a lot. Here’s an ambient piece of his that makes me feel very calm and nostalgic.
Rick, "Ghost Donalds": This is the first recording I ever heard of Louis Cole, Sam Gendel, Richard Sears, and Adam Ratner. I remember feeling like I had heard the music and the sound I had been waiting to hear upon listening to it for the first time. The band is called Rick. And this, from their self-titled debut RICK, is one of my favorite recordings ever. it is just the most incredible ensemble playing. There has been some debate as of this date on the proper title of this song...but I’m sticking with “Ghost Donalds.”
Jacob Mann, "Juno Music"
John Carrol Kirby, "Poroy Station"
Sam Gendel, "Pure Imagination"
Chiquita Magic, "Amistad"
Genevieve Artadi, "Now What"
Louis Cole, "I Think We Both Need It"
Knower (Live Band) "Things About You"
Sweet Joseph, "Friends Forever"
Matthewdavid’s Mindflight f. Dntel, "Earth Flight"
Kiefer, "Most Beautiful Girl"
John Keek, "If + When"
Ryan Power, "The Cavalry"
Thom Gill, "The Kingdom"
Sam Wilkes, "Home For Thanksgiving"
Inc. No World, "Waters Of You"
Brian Green, "Memory Man"
Rick, "Ghost Donalds"