Process. It’s been a fairly lengthy one, spanning seven years between debut single to debut album. However, it’s clear that what Sampha has crafted is a sign that if it’s built to last, it takes time.
Album opener, Plastic 100°C, is a strong contender to top 2017’s crème de la crème lists. With a creeping uneasiness, it’s an introduction to a handful of tracks on Process that Sampha openly acknowledges fear, soon conveyed in heavy breathing on the anxiety-inducing Blood On Me. A dynamic feat, it is in the moments that Sampha swoops to great depths that he soars the most. (No One Knows Me) Like the Piano is simultaneously frank and somber, demonstrating that Sampha has the ability to speak in metaphors to great effect, yet doesn’t depend on hiding behind them.
The passion and soul that seems to pour from Sampha’s record are responsible for some stunning moments. From time to time, hints of influence from past collaborators crop up, (Kora Sings akin to a blend of SBTRKT + Sampha’s Something Goes Right and Hold On), yet Process is Sampha unquestionably making his mark, carving his own path. Despite building a name for himself as a featured artist, Sampha has proven he can hold his own, that he is as capable alone as he is in a partnership. He’s more than ready to take the spotlight and join the elite.
Process addresses uncertainty, insecurities and apprehension. It becomes apparent very quickly that the process of writing is a cathartic release for Sampha. It’s personal. It’s a very honest, sincere record; few artists ever make themselves as vulnerable in their entire careers than Sampha has been so bold to do in his debut. To create such a beautiful body of art from one’s grief, one’s deepest troubles, is something truly remarkable.
Words: Connor Crabb