Process is the debut studio album from Sampha. His feature on Solange’s A Seat At The Table track, “Don’t Touch My Hair” was a sort of an informal introduction to the British singer for the masses. He’s worked as a producer for other artists such as Drake and FKA twigs. As for his own solo work he has released two EPs: Sundanza in 2010 and Dual in 2013. The latter was a more stripped down emotional exploration that got his thoughts across, but were rather unpolished. On Process Sampha truly delivers on the production value. Sampha himself produced all the tracks and then recruited Rodaidh McDonald and Matt Colton to master the project.
It’s easy to hear how much effort was put into these tracks. The introductory song, “Plastic 100° C,” begins with Sampha’s signature piano playing along with some NASA-esque audio. As his voice enters the track, a more heavy, atmospheric melody comes into the background along with a muddled drum beat. These traits continue through as Sampha’s voice carries you along the story. All of these sounds together blend effortlessly–a testament to the production capabilities of Sampha.
The next track, “Blood On Me,” is for me, the standout track of the album. Synth beats introduce the song as Sampha begins to breathe heavily and recite his lyrics. His voice gets more urgent and louder and becomes layered with a backing beat before breaking into the chorus. “Blood On Me” is an expansive track that creates a sense of anxiety as you listen, but Sampha evokes something new in you that you might not have ever experienced.
Throughout the rest of the album you get this feeling, a sense of urgency, and this is due to Sampha’s impressive vocal range, being able to go low in a whisper or high in a scream.
Other tracks are little treats for the listener, as if they are an inside look into who he is, especially “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano,” a simple singer songwriter tune, and a love song at its core, to Sampha’s preferred instrument.
Throughout the album, you are taken on an ethereal ride through Sampha’s world, which seems to be largely comprised of his bedroom. Another stand out track is “Reverse Faults.” This is a track that finally takes you somewhere else with the singer. A look at his past mistakes, “Reverse Faults” is an honest tune most people can relate to, and it will probably hit you hard.
Sampha’s Process is an exciting work of art. It’s an invitation into his world of bedroom recording and it is an exploration of what goes through his mind when he makes music.