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Hypnotizing, chill, creative, original. These are the words that come to the surface when I think of how to describe Sampha's debut album, Process. This talented Londoner is signed to Young Turks, the same label as The XX, FKA Twigs, SBTRKT, and much more. He's also well known for his collaborations with fellow label-mate SBTRKT as well as being featured with Kanye, Solange, Frank Ocean, and Drake. And now it is Sampha's time to shine with his very own LP.
The opening track to Process is this wonderful hazy and magnetizing song called "Plastic 100°C." It's got a great slow and steady piano melody that slowly builds into wonderful synths and faster beats that creates an urban masterpiece. The opening track is all about growth and realization. He speaks of love and understanding while the other person couldn't reciprocate the feelings and how to find beauty in life. I've also read that the song reflects the fear Sampha had when he discovered a lump in his throat a while back.
"Oh, sleeping with my worries, yeah, I didn't really know what that lump was, my luck"
"Blood on Me" is the second track off of the album and my absolute favorite. It has this great uptempo beat and different melodies and harmonies that complement his amazing vocals. Sampha himself describes this song as a reflection of a bad dream he once had in a video he did with Genius' YouTube Channel. He uses terms such as "dream world" and the idea of being chased by something or having this constant worry that somebody is out to get you. I absolutely love this song. It feels raw and has such a sense of urgency that really pumps me up.
"Under" has a repetitive and layering intro featuring the word "Under" that is just addictive. We then hear Sampha's velvety voice with one of the best opening lines: "Sophisticated bitter Queen." As the song continues, we understand that Sampha is hooked on a woman who is not the best for him.
"I wonder, sit and watch you wonder. I see you manipulate your lover... Waves come crashing over us and I go Under."
This song reflects having feelings for someone you shouldn't, someone who is nothing but bad for you yet that's what makes them so enticing. This song is a close second favorite of mine (behind "Blood on Me"). The synths create a very hazy and pleasant sound and Sampha's falsettos are on another level when he reaches the chorus each time throughout the track.
The last track I will highlight is the super rad "Reverse Faults." The song opens with various beats that are layered upon one another and create this rushed and distorted sound that quickly goes up and down. Then we hear Sampha open with "There's a fault in my structure, it's always you and never me." The irony of this line sets up the rest of the song, we are learning about Sampha's fear of becoming close to someone. The chorus then builds into this fantastic, head-bopping beat with the lyrics 'Took the brake pads out the car, and I flew. Smashed this window in my heart and I blamed you." We later hear Sampha apologize for going too far with his blame and accusations and realizes he's the one causing his own heartbreak. This song is so relatable because it shows how a fear of intimacy can damage your relationships with others instead of protecting you from rejection and pain of the heart. I absolutely love this track.
Sampha has created a revealing album of his thoughts, worries, personal feelings and self-growth. This album was well deserved for him and I've been listening to it for the past two months. I'm definitely anticipating to hear more from him. He's creative and a breath of fresh air for the year of 2017. If you've been sleeping on Sampha, give this album a listen.