samiyam – sam baker’s album

Samiyam - Sam Baker's Album coverAfter 2008′s Rap Beats Vol. 1 I was eagerly waiting for a new Samiyam release. 2009 came and went, and by the time 2010 reached it’s end I must shamefully admit that the whole artist profile was pushed back into some scarcely visited part of my brain. When Sam Baker’s Album dropped in June of 2011 it totally went past me, so here we are, a full year later.


I really loved “Rap Beats Vol. 1″ for it’s gritty sound and it’s abstract approach to beats. It felt as if the tracks were made pure on instinct and feeling, which gave it a really authentic vibe: dope samples, raw beats and cuts, and nicely minimalistic placed synths. The fact that it was released on CDr just made it more DIY. With this in mind, one could say that it would be hard to drop a second album which would be considered as being better.


Without listening, “Sam Baker’s Album” definitely looks like a more mature album. The whole 1-point–minute beat-tape idea is transformed into the regular format of today, carrying more 3-minute tracks between the standard short beats. The full length is about 40mins, which is appropriate for this kind of music. So it looks good, but how does it sound?


The focus on the release has shifted more to synths, and judging from the thicker moog-like basslines, Samiyam has been checking out a lot of releases by his peers. Due to the heavy synth usage the level of abstractness has been lifted a bit, and productionwise the beats are even grittier than before. The overall sound of the release feels more controlled and sounds more professional, also making this album more mature. The package setup and mixing & mastering are on point, so that’s 2 out of 3 so far.


This makes us come to the last and most important point: the tracks themselves. Needless to say, Samiyam definitely delivered a solid album that the Brainfeeder fans probably have embraced warmly. As a more general beat-listener, I personally have mixed feelings about it. There are some really dope tracks on it: Bricks is a kind of dark Suff Daddy like track with minimalistic drums and a good groove, Frosting Packets has a sweet arp and supporting bassline,  and despite the almost minute long intro, Escape has that sweet cold minimal 2008 Samiyam feel.
On the other hand contains the album a lot of tracks that are good, but just miss a little something something to call them dope. The variation in the synthesizer patches feels minimal, and combined with the over-compression on every track it makes the release feel repetitive. On some tracks (like Pressure) the off-grid sequencing feels a little forced, as does the detuning of sounds (on Turtles and Won Ton Special).


Over time “Sam Baker’s Album” will grow on you, but it feels Samiyam has pushed back the mainstream hype and has focused more on the niche fans. The more psych-oriented folks will buy it, the modern bass and trap fans will probably illegally download it. One thing is evident on the release though, and that’s the fact that Samiyam isn’t scared to broaden his horizon and try new things. I’ll be waiting eagerly for the 3rd album, crossing my fingers that it will arrive in less than 3 years.


Buy the album throug the Brainfeeder shop, and don’t forget to connect on Facebook and Twitter.