Samiyam SamiyamSam Baker’s Album
The hidden side of Los Angeles returns to the spotlight: small universes are born and die in the fake emptiness of the Californian underground, every time Sam Baker draws a pentagram on the floor and invokes the spirits of Digitalia. Many are the fans coming out of the shadows to call out his name when they heard about the coming of this spectacular album: Samiyam, enlightened in Michigan, is possibly one of the most wanted priests for the LA Dillaist masses, a whisper you hear when the wind blows over Santa Monica beach in the early morning, a blurry silhouette passing through the quarters of the off-beat headz and hides in the smoke spirals coming from the youngsters’ spliffs.
Though not very long, his CV shouldn’t be judged by standards of quantity but quality. Sam Baker is one of the pioneers of the new beatmaking on the west coast, some kind of guru in the shades who sat and bided his time, while countless opportunists put out records to make a quick buck and get famous fast. In terms of propagating the virus, his figure is on the same level as giants like Flying Lotus (with whom he shares the project FlyAmSam), as true driving forces behind an urban digital culture that is reaching an exquisite point of maturity and is very far from getting lost in the wave of new trends on the capricious electronic scene.
Though we can still listen to his “Rap Beats Vol.1”, one of the early releases on Brainfeeder, you should know that that collection of unlinked beats is nothing like this record, his proper debut album. This time, Samiyam uses his creativity for the greater good, not as a pastime. The beats become autonomous, the record is like a complete work, the tracks develop without hovering over the same, endlessly repeated loops – this is composition craftsmanship, a symphony, meticulously orchestrated by one of the most audacious producers from the post-J Dilla baby boom.
There’s no need to look for hidden tricks; Samiyam shows his stuff openly. Wonky, experimental hip-hop, timeless funk, freaky jazz, cubist digital percussion, the avalanche of references on “Sam Baker’s Album” trickle from the classic constants of the new beat sound (if there’s such a thing as classics, of course), taking the essential elements of the movement to a new state of symmetry that few can achieve. The novocaine-induced basslines of “Escape”, the Eskmo-like misty poly-rhythms of “Already”, the synths and liquid funk of “Frosting Packet”, the bleeps in the form of orgasmic strawberries on “Bedtime”, the intoxicating keyboards and the cut-up percussion of “Where I Am?”, the psychedelic epic of “My Buddy”, the 666-bits spectral console of “Understanding”… Samiyam weaves a very complex loom, an impeccable frame of futurist sounds with an unmistakably LA stamp and new details surfacing with every listening session. Because this is not the new beatmaking, it’s the next level: at least until the release of Thundercat’s album, this is Brainfeeder’s best release of this year. Óscar Broc
“Sam Baker’s Album Sampler”