It’s been a long time coming, but Sampha’s debut studio effort is finally here. Since his 2010 EP Sundanza, the British crooner has teased us with several guest appearances and collaborations, allowing us to get familiar, yet never really get to know him. In that sense, Process is definitely worth the wait. On it, Sampha truly lets his audience in.
Raw, intimate and honest, Process is not the kind of album you can take in without a box of tissues nearby. With vulnerability and fearless candour, Sampha explores weighty themes like fear, grief, regret, paranoia and rejection; wrapping them in solemn melodies and haunting vocals that stir the soul. Dense and often peculiar, Process takes more than a few listens to unpack. But be patient — each repeat draws you in further and sonically, the album blossoms over time.
Particularly memorable is “Plastic 100° C”, a gripping portrait of a man melting under pressure. On both “Reverse Faults” and “Under”, Sampha’s voice shifts shape over layered, complex production. Bare and beautiful, “Take Me Outside” is the album’s most sober moment. And “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano”, Sampha’s intimate ode to his late mother, will move you to tears with both its simplicity and sincerity.
Process is an intricate, tangled collection of songs that doesn’t quite suit a restless listener. But for those who don’t mind delayed gratification, Sampha’s debut is a true jewel. Don’t listen unless you’re ready to feel something.