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samiyam - Sam Baker's Album
Ever since he wheeled out his synthed-out, weed-sick styles on that Hyperdub EP back in 2008, we've been waiting for a proper full-length from Samiyam, and now it's finally here, on the Brainfeeder label operated by his old mucker Flying Lotus. There are a lot of cats in California repping this broken, zoned-out but reassuringly bottom-heavy hip-hop aesthetic right now - Matthewdavid, The Gaslamp Killer, and Gonjasufi, to name but a few - but for us Samiyam offers one of the most convincing and distinctive takes on the sound there is, all the while retaining a charmingly sketchy, skunk-infused quality to his beats. Comparisons to Dilla and Madlib are as justified as they are inevitable, but Sam's penchant for farty analogue funk also reminds us of Dam-Funk and Funkineven. He doesn't over-do any one idea, letting a groove ride for a couple of minutes tops then shifting gear abruptly, making for a bumpy but never dull ride. Even the most bright-eyed and bushy-tailed boogie-funk workouts - among 'em 'Bedtime' and 'Where Am I' - are laced with so many warping, disorienting effects that it's impossible to tire of 'em, and throughout proceedings there's enough bass wallop to see why this guy first attracted the attentions of Kode9. Trippy as f*ck, and quite brilliant.