Just last month, Matthewdavid suggested to me that I check out fellow Brainfeeder resident Samiyam. He's certainly not a newcomer, having put out several albums and EPs in the past five years. His newest record, Sam Baker's Album, is a funky exploration of hip-hop. Earlier this week, our friends over at XLR8R posted the "head-knocking, smoked-out" track "Cushion"; and now we have "Where Am I," a slightly frantic cut that creates a hazy sense of atmosphere via sparkling synths and properly mirrors the song's title. --Jheri Evans, Get Off The Coast
Grab Sam Baker's Album on June 28 via Brainfeeder (CD, LP, digital formats available), and continue reading for a fascinating account of Matthewdavid's first encounter with Samiyam:
I moved to LA right around the same time that Sam did. I met the dude at a big party celebrating the life of J Dilla-- on [the producer's] birthday, a year after his death. All the Beat Junkies were playing Dilla tracks, covers, and original source material from his sample archive, and it was an epic night to say the least. That evening, there was a special young magic in the air as I was introduced to a fresh Samiyam, who had essentially just relocated from Michigan to link up with Flying Lotus in LA, and pursue the sort of instrumental, hip-hop beat music that was just getting its feet off the ground at the time. Think: Flylo's 1983, Plug Research's Sound of LA series, and stuff from a few other more obvious LA-based artists too, like Dilla's Donuts and Madlib's Beat Konducta series.
I had met up with Steve (Lotus) there, who had a friend with him.
"Yo Matthew, this is Sam," he said. "From Michigan. Samiyam. Check out his MySpace."
We shook hands, then straight-vibed the rest of the evening, nodding our heads and reciting almost every word to every Slum Village and Dilla song that the Junkies were spinning. I went home that evening to check Sam's MySpace and was completely blown away. The dude's style was completely non-quantized and off-the-grid, made solely on a Roland SP-303 Dr. Sampler. Using the 303's built-in, hella cryptic pattern sequencer, he was crafting a new, stripped-down, overly compressed, super raw hip-hop sound. Lotus was also doing it-- and others too, of course-- but this was different. Sam had moved into the same art commune/apartment complex in Northridge where Steve was living. I imagine it all went down in some cosmic, magnetic fashion. I'd come over, and those two would be sharing music, making songs, playing video games. Eventually, they formed FLYamSAM. There are a couple of tracks floating around, but the material as a whole was never released.
There were songs on Samiyam's MySpace that were even over a year old when I first checked it. Something funny about MySpace music community culture that I'm recalling was the "Top Friends" thing. Flying Lotus' MySpace carried a lot of weight. A lot of the LA beat scene fan-base and listenership came from Steve's constant hustle and output via MySpace-- before his deal with Warp, and right around the time of 1983. If you were on Flying Lotus' "Top Friends" list in 2006/2007, that was a big fucking deal. Steve was essentially the tastemaker of the early LA Beat Scene sound, and his number one champion was Samiyam, and for good reason. The first times I had ever checked Lotus' MySpace, I'd glance and see Samiyam as his first or second top friend of FlyLo.
Sam's music was becoming visible for the first time, and we were seeing many producers from around the world adapting to Sam's style. And who could blame them, really? It's a very soulful, high-impact, and raw sonic experience that's easy to emulate, but impossible to duplicate. And it has only matured with time. This new album has been years in the making, and is a definitive document of the stripped-down, beat scene sound of Los Angeles.