Chances are you've listened to something that Sampha has worked on before. He's worked with some of the greats - Kanye West, Solange, and Drake, just to name a few. He's now stepping into the limelight with his soulful debut Process, and it becomes clear that sometimes, the message of a song is best told through the one who wrote it.
The album's soulful texture makes it very genuine and inviting. 'Plastic 100°C' opens the record on a strong note, it's synthy, glossy texture paired with the dark and moody nature of the instrumental making the song feel very bright but sensual. It's also beautifully written - the ending speaks wonders with its haunting admittance of 'I'm melting in the light.' Dreamy sounds are also the build for many of the tracks in the latter part of the record starting with the dark and sensual nature of 'Under' and the sweetness of 'Timmy's Prayer.'
Sampha isn't afraid to add some different sounds into the mix, either. There are definitely some daring moments on the record. The particularly weird vibes of 'Kora Sings' stand out early on in the record, it's instrumental very uniquely spiraling with a plethora of sounds and some truly wild percussion gives the song an element of drive you don't normally hear. The very soulful piano of '(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano' also stands out. The very pure and intimate relationship that Sampha has with the piano is really reflected in the song, in such a way that you don't normally see so clearly in a song.
What does bring the album own, however, is its dependence on synths. The music is heavily reliant on the smooth synth textures that make up the songs' backgrounds, especially in the latter half of the album. Every song lives on those synths, and it does get pretty old - by the time 'Incomplete Kisses' rolls around you're kind of tired of hearing the same texture over and over again.
Sampha's debut Process puts him in the limelight after a long time writing for some of music's most popular artists, and it's proof in and of itself that sometimes the messages a song tells are best told through the eyes of its creator. Process does get a bit too caught up in its synths, but in the end its pure and revealing, and a debut that will be remembered.
Favorite Tracks: Plastic 100°C, (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano, Kora Sings
Least Favorite Tracks: Incomplete Kisses, Timmy's Prayer
Rating: 75 / 100
Buy or listen to Process here: