Sami Baha is a young producer from Istanbul, with his roots in the Turkish Hiphop scene, who has been stealthily pricking up ears with guest spots on Rinse FM and NTS since he moved to London last year.
He started this EP ‘Mavericks’ while he was in Istanbul, saying “the music I produced became more chaotic as Istanbul became a harsher place both politically and economically. I didn’t really design it that way, but I feel like the sound got more aggressive over the years”.
He describes his music as ‘instrumental trap’, but instead of trap vocals there are complex arrangements, although he has started to work with vocalists while he’s been in the UK.
He says of his sound; “I grew up when the Arabic style of Turkish music known as Arabesk was at the centre stage of Turkish culture, so I was listening to popular Turkish performers Ibrahim Tatlises and Muslum Gurses alongside trap originators DJ Screw and the Atlanta scene. I know people don’t hear the orient instruments and rhythms in my music, but I like to think of my music as arabesk-trap, as I feel like the Arabesk and trap crossover is where they come from and in their feel.”
‘Mavericks’ EP is a deconstructed and beautifully crafted take on the trap sound, using a dramatic sense of space and melody that gives the EP an epic feel plus an attention to sonic detail that makes tracks move like they’re alive, avoiding all clichÃ©s. ‘Mavericks 1’ opens with a lush repetitive string melody, dropping into tense atmosphere; ‘Still’ uses the space between notes, unusual configurations of tuning and tone draw the track apart and let every note shimmer in dark space. The steel pan melody and spiralling snares of ‘Dough’, manage to remind of vintage Black Dog, rolling out emotively over bass and drums. ‘Tozko Paran’ is trap re-imagined as a delicate cyborg waltz and ‘Cataphract’ featuring Kuedo, runs a twisting, turning melody over unsettling chords, dubby drums and a bumpy ride bass that pumps like a fearful heart. The EP finishes with ‘Chunk’, its glassy plodding melody rattling out over a desolate atmosphere and slowed down fight-game phrases. An astonishing debut from a name you’ll hear much more of this year.