I went to Deviation once in the basement of Gramaphone and Samiyam was playing. You could hardly see him over the turntables but the way he twisted his shit up, pounded the system and physically screamed over the music when he got over excited really got me riled up the right way. His work has always been the kind that hurts your neck muscles, slamming that unquantized hip hop paced, slumped drum pattern into you with the channelled force of someone like J Dilla. It’s kind of a short sighted comparison given that they both produce(d) ‘beats,’ but it’s a truth. Samiyam’s beats seem to make use out of everything. That additional colour and splash from his sampled drums sit atop almost too simplistic melodies; there’s almost nothing to his productions technically, but in the flesh his beats have so much presence they’re impossible to ignore.
After a self released CDR, Rap Beats Vol. 1, and a 12” EP for Kode9’s Hyperdub label Samiyam’s debut LP, Sam Baker’s Album comes guided by Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder imprint – a swelling pregnant bastion for this kind of instrumental beat music. The LP is loaded with short phrases, beat sketches that capture an idea perfectly and illustrate over their short life spans just why people hold Samiyam’s work in such high regard. Thick to the floor with bass tones every track bumps. ‘Bedtime’ soothes, ‘Bricks’ ominously stamps, ‘Turtles’ trickles and ‘Frosting Packets’ careers though Hypercolour charms and lush chords effortlessly.
Enriched by his peers, Samiyam’s music is some of the best to come out of that Californian clique and where a piece of work like Dilla’s Donuts opened the door for producers to work the beat tape format, Sam Baker’s Album fully masters that approach. Sam’s music suits such short outbursts. Its content in its skeleton; always nailing that lackadaisical groove powerfully and with the kind of hyper compressed panache that you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
‘Sam Baker’s Album’ is a zenith in terms of blunted drum music; a bonafide future classic.
Words: Oli Marlow // Out: Now