Process is an exercise in catharsis, a deep breath in that lays Sampha’s soul bare through gorgeous vignettes of his life. He worries, he regrets, he aches. He’s human.
Process is an exercise in finding beauty in even the tragedy of a parent’s death, a record of singular probity and hard-earned optimism. It’s the best R&B debut since FKA Twigs’ LP1.
Somber, but not necessarily sad, Process maps Sissay’s emotional journey by confronting his feelings head-on; like the seven stages of grief, each emotion is unpacked and experienced through stirring cries, clever meshing of classical and electronic instruments, and a personified piano.
Process is an album built to take your breath away. From start to finish, it’s a display of Sampha’s mastery as a lyricist, a singer and a musician.
There is no doubt listening to Process that Sampha is dealing with a lot. But he is far from defeated – on the contrary, this record appears to be an invaluable opportunity for him to heal.
Process was a long time coming, but the wait has resulted in one of the most assured debut albums in recent memory. Even if it should take Sampha another six years to follow it up, the wait, I expect, will be worth it.
Facing the pressure of collective expectations, genuinely buckling from 6 years of anticipation, it manages to both deliver on, and gracefully dodge, them all.
It’s a remarkable, meditative work, as he processes grief and navigates self-discovery.
The 28-year-old has earned accolades working as a writer and featured guest with top-tier talent including Beyoncé, Drake, and Frank Ocean, but over Process‘ 10 songs, Sampha executes a sonically adventurous vision that’s entirely his own and builds on his enormous potential.
Despite Sampha’s longstanding prevalence in the music world, the intensely personal nature of Process demands a renewed relationship to his work, one that appreciates the power of distance yet marvels at connection.
Process swells with the impassioned, melodic expressions of South London’s Sampha Sisay.
Sampha’s solo debut sits somewhere between the ghostly avant-soul of Frank Ocean and James Blake’s emotionally wrought electronica.
With ‘Process’, Sampha lays bare his soul through warm, tinted vignettes that are achingly humane.
Vulnerability is the current stock-in-trade of neo-soul, but rarely has it been indulged quite as imaginatively as on Sampha’s Process.
If Process was flawless, Sampha’s voice would leave listeners teary, and in a time as somber as now, these uplifting numbers remind us to take a break, immerse ourselves in a rush, and focus on the positive — a welcome path to wander down.
All ten tracks of Process paint a picture with Sampha’s thoughts, experiences and talent dead centre, in isolation.
It’s a comforting record, but one you wish was a little more abrupt in places. Even so, it’s a hugely graceful collection played out with dignity.
Expectations for Sampha's first full-length album proper have been sky high. Previous collaborative efforts have in fact been nigh-on flawless, so much so that it's hard to imagine one of modern soul music's most talented voices featuring on anything less than above average. It's unfortunate then that Process, bar some stand-out moments, proves to be somewhat underwhelming.