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  • Cy White

Sampha: Lahai


This seems to be the season for artists who’ve not released full bodies of work in a while to come back with an elevation in their art. Thus proving that artists who are really intent on making their work count don’t take breaks for funsies. In the same way that they’re protecting their peace and not forcing themselves to create, they are still learning, absorbing, thinking, living. It’s all evident in their work, about their growth in the interim between albums.

Sampha is the perfect example of man who took a break and was able to elevate his already remarkable talent, giving it both nuance and depth. Allowing himself to take his honed skill set and take it for a joy ride across his psyche. Here we are: Lahai.

Track “Suspended” is a masterclass in sonics and the power of synergy. Voice, layering/harmonics, composition. It all works to create an aural experience that, indeed, suspends you from the current reality to something mystical, a dimension parallel to our own that allows us to experience life from a different perspective. Meanwhile, his voice is as warmly captivating as it’s ever been.

There’s something deeper in the far-away parts of his soul that has been allowed to express itself. Track “Inclination Compass (Tenderness)” really leans into that. It’s a tender piece of music that’s simple, yet has an elegant complexity of emotion that sweeps one up into something wondrous. It’s grounded in pure emotion, then floats away on the whisper of a drum brush and the innocence of a sigh.

What a gorgeous, bold piece of work. It’s good to have Sampha back!


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