Sampha – Process
Debut album cements Sampha's voice within a landscape that belongs solely to him
It's often the case that you can recognise a voice instantly even if you can't pinpoint exactly who it belongs to. Many would be able to distinguish the steady tranquillity of Sampha's vocals within just a few bars of melody; from SBTRKT's 'Hold On' to Kanye West's 'Saint Pablo'. But with debut album Process, Sampha has risen to new levels, traversing territory that allows his voice, music and production to firmly stand alone.
The album is led by a sense of opposition; an inhale and exhale, attack and release, which works to signify the intensity that comes with change. Opener 'Plastic 100°C' is turbulent in its make-up, working up to the vehemence of second single 'Blood on Me'. But this quickly fades for '(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano', a quiet reflection, with the piano from Sampha's family home as the foundation for reminiscence. The pace quickens again with the excellently mixed 'Reverse Faults' and the restless polyphony of 'Under', before eventually closing with 'What Shouldn't I Be?', a pensive meditation on the burden of being.
With his debut, Sampha has succeeded in cementing his voice within a landscape that belongs solely to him. Process is ultimately an archive of emotional shift as well as musical growth.