By sweeneykovar | September 8th, 2010
The Los Angeles beat scene has burgeoned in the past few years into a mecca of experimental instrumental music. One of its brightest stars is a young transplant from Michigan named Sam Baker, better known as Samiyam. During MySpace’s heyday (and while still in Michigan), he caught the ear of Flying Lotus, probably the most recognizable representative of the Los Angeles music community. Soon FlyLo added Mr. Baker to his nascent Brainfeeder imprint.
In the following few years, Sam moved out to L.A. and honed his sampling skills. Inspired equally by 80’s R&B records and by mid-90’s East Coast hip-hop, Samiyam has developed a niche in crafting off-kilter, synth-heavy beats with melodic bass lines.
His latest release, Man vs. Machine, on Poo Bah Records, confidently shows he has created a musical identity for himself. “Catch Me Riding Dirty” centers around a smooth bass line with shuffling drums that equate to a tune that could find a home in car stereos around the famed Slauson Swapmeet in South Central. “Porno Slap” employs a sample that sounds like it might have come from a Nintendo game, sounding like the soundtrack to an 80’s video game (when the player must face the final-level boss). Perhaps my favorite cut from the EP, “Rounded,” pairs another laid-back bass line with some playful synth stabs and a drum roll for the beat equivalent of a weekend afternoon spliff.