A virtuosic multi-instrumentalist whose energized material often puts an ebullient spin on everyday pitfalls, Louis Cole is one-half of Knower and a frequent studio collaborator, as well as a solo artist whose albums include Time (2018) and Quality Over Opinion (2022), released on the Brainfeeder label. Cole’s output reflects a voracious musical appetite for genres and styles ranging from soul, jazz, funk, and pop to extreme metal, science fiction soundtracks, and video game music.
Encouraged by friend and collaborator Jack Conte to release music online, the Los Angeles native — who started on the drums at age eight — got to work after he graduated from the Jazz Studies program at USC Thornton School of Music. In 2010, Cole released a self-titled solo album, and he and partner Genevieve Artadi also issued their first full-length as Knower. Additional self-released solo and duo recordings, along with numerous videos, were scattered across the next few years. Cole co-wrote “Padded Cell” for Seal’s 2015 album 7, and within months, he and Artadi were featured on Snarky Puppy’s Family Dinner, Vol. 2. The year 2017 was particularly eventful for Cole, entailing a pair of co-writing credits on Thundercat’s Drunk (“Bus in These Streets,” “Jameel’s Space Ride”), his and Artadi’s placement of a song on the soundtrack for The Lego Ninjago Movie (“Dance of Doom”), and gigs opening for admirers the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
All of this activity led to a deal with Brainfeeder, the label operated by fellow L.A. native Flying Lotus. Time, Cole’s third solo album and Brainfeeder debut, arrived in 2018. Made over the course of two-and-a-half years, it featured appearances from Artadi, Thundercat, keyboardist Dennis Hamm, and pianist Brad Mehldau. Cole contributed to albums by Vulfpeck and Thundercat before he completed his next solo album. Quality Over Opinion, his second Brainfeeder LP, arrived in 2022 with Artadi, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, and saxophonist Sam Gendel among the contributors. ~ Andy Kellman