Feb 01, 2017 Issue # 59 - 15th Anniversary
Find It At: AMAZON
British singer Sampha Sisay (or just Sampha) is best known for his spellbinding vocal and production contributions to some of modern pop's upper echelons-from Kanye West to Drake, SBTRKT, and some stunning recent additions to Solange's most recent album. Thus 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.
There is certainly nothing lacking on the vocal front. Sampha's impassioned croon still tugs on the heartstrings with as much force as anything we have heard him on before. His voice is given center-stage at the albums midpoint, the gorgeous "(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano." Musically very simple, it relies as its title might suggest, on little more than keys and Sampha's voice at its most gentle. The line "No one knows me like the piano in my mother's home," is beautiful and heart-breaking in its vulnerability.
Vocals are one thing, but it is the combination of those with the production that backs them that has made Sampha's work with the likes of Frank Ocean and Solange so special. This is where Process falls down. The beat structures on the likes of "Reverse Faults,"
"Under," and "Incomplete Kisses" fail to match their vocal counterpart in aesthetic or sentiment. The reason for this is a mystery given the large back catalogue of evidence pointing to the opposite, but unfortunately it is so. This may be a result of working collaboratively for so long, and perhaps once adjusted to a solo career the potential that we know is there will be allowed to shine through. (www.sampha.com)
Author rating: 6/10
Average reader rating: 9/10
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