Sampha, Process (Album Review)

Harrison Welsh ’17

Sampha, an interesting character in the high rankings of the music industry, because of his contribution to many different and diverse projects, finally released his highly anticipated album, Process, which people have been expecting for nearly three years now. His voice, which has been sampled in parts in other artist’s music such as Kanye West’s Saint Pablo, Frank Oceans Alabama, and Solange’s Don’t Touch My Hair. Also his dominant presence on SBTRKT’s celebrated self-titled album back in 2011, which he participated in nearly half of the songs on the track list. For the past several years he has been building his name and style without having any of his own material, other than a short EP in 2013, which is something far out of the usual. The tone in his voice is hard to go unnoticed because of its originality and calming feel, and now he has a full album so that people can finally see his full potential with not only his voice, but his ability as a songwriter, producer, and creator.

The main two instruments on Process, Sampha uses to his advantage, which are the piano and his voice. It seems that the delicate songs are created from only these two elements and then are built heavily with unique experimentation with the instrumentation. This instrumentation includes electronic drums with lots of quick hi-hat sequences, tons of weird glitches and bass lines from synthesizers, and samples of his own voice as in the song “Under.” All of these come together to create a world that is rather dark and mysterious while having many strange, unexpected turns all over the place. It reminds me of a more calm and conservative version of Frank Ocean’s Endless. All of this description does the album little justice. It is something that you just need to listen to get the vibe of it. There’s no doubt that this album is original, something is hard to come by.