ListN Up: Chris Williams (January 26, 2023)

ListN Up is a series of artist-curated playlists that offer an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice. 

Chris Williams is an interdisciplinary artist and musician based in Brooklyn, NY, and is most at home collaborating with contemporary improvisers and experimentalists. He has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe. His work explores the dyad of ancestral trauma and power existing in all Black Americans.

Hello. My name is Chris Williams. I’m a composer, performer, and installation artist in Brooklyn, NY. I comprised this playlist of songs and sounds that tend to make me slow down and sit with my thoughts. Some of these sounds are from friends, some are from mentors, some are from heroes. So I hope you take a listen, enjoy, and also sit with your thoughts.

Excerpt from Chris Williams’ House of Peace video installation

“Ensenada” by Bennie Maupin

I was fortunate to connect with Bennie Maupin in my 20’s and he will always be the most impactful musical mentor I’ll have. His generosity, resolve, and relentless positivity are gifts I cherish.

“Daytimes, pt. 1” by Zekkereya El-magharbel

I’ve known Zekkereya for at least six years now and what a joy it has been to both witness and participate in their musical journey. I feel curiosity and hope when I speak with them, which reflects what I hear in their album DAYTIMES.

“Ten years alive on the infinite plain” by Tony Conrad

I arrived at Tony Conrad’s music through a hilarious tribute to him by the video artist Tony Oursler. I think of them often as two relatively goofy artists that manage to present profundity, an approach I try to stick to in my path.

“Reciprocal Capture” by Hiro Kone (ft. Speaker Music)

This is a 2 in 1. I believe this was my most played song in 2022! DeForrest Brown Jr. is doing the work on many fronts (please check out his amazing book, Assembling a Black Counter Culture). Hiro Kone’s most recent album is gorgeous and inspiring.

“ZURE” by Ryuichi Sakamoto

Mr. Sakamoto’s music transports and communicates. I float, I cry, I wander and wonder.

“UMZANSI” by Moor Mother (ft. Black Quantum Futurism & Mary Lattimore)

Camae Ayewa (Moor Mother)’s fearlessness and adaptability has been a guiding light for many creative Black artists of my generation. She knows the importance of her voice and presence.

“dont linger they might see you” by KMRU

KMRU’s music came to me recently through my HxH collaborator Lester St. Louis by way of Laure M Hiendl (curator of the musik installation festival). Although ‘Peel’ may be my favorite of his, I’m a big proponent of continually checking in on ‘non-albums.’

“a place where sunflowers grow” by Patrick Shiroishi

My brother Patrick Shiroishi is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, so he hardly needs an introduction. His approach to releasing music is… maximalist, so it’s a bit hard to choose. I placed this here to stay in theme but please check it all out, he’s a special musician.


I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is an editorially-independent program of the American Composers Forum, and is made possible thanks to generous donor and institutional support. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and may not represent the views of ICIYL or ACF.

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