This could easily be the shortest album review we’ve written to date because it can be summed up in two words “simply magnificent”. However an album of this stature deserves more words, and thus it shall receive them.
It seems hard to believe that we’ve waited nearly seven years since the release of his debut EP (‘Sundanza’) on Young Turks for this full length to come out. In that time Sampha’s collaboration checklist has included the likes of Jessie Ware, SBTRKT, Lil Silva, Drake, Kanye West, Frank Ocean and Solange. He also graced the BBC’s 1Xtra with a cover of DV favourite ‘Gabriel’ by Roy Davis Jr. and Peven Everett earlier this week. You certainly can’t accuse him of being lazy in the intervening period.
‘Process’ is an apt title for the album as it feels like the path Sampha has charted through his musical career to date has been just that for him. A method through which to discover a sound that is truly representative of him and allow him to deliver personal message with an authentic voice.
Emotions such as heartache, confusion and frustration spill forth from the expertly composed, voiced and arranged tracks of this album. Sampha manages to stitch together a varied range of sounds and styles across the album. From the naked exposure of ‘(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano’ to the abstract forms of ‘Incomplete Kisses’. You’re driven fast in one moment by ‘Blood On Me’ before being spun around in a daze by ‘Kora Sings‘.
Two constants exist throughout; a truly unique voice that manages to be raw yet accomplished in the same breath, and a command of song craft honed through dedication, an appreciation of a wide palette of influences and diverse collaborations.
I know there have been disagreements in the DV camp in the past as to how good Sampha as a solo artist really was. It’s fair to say we are all firmly on the same page now. Well done Sampha, may 2017 bring all the success that your simply magnificent album deserves.