I’ve been meaning to work in more hip hop into this list and this seems like an appropriate track to do so with. Seattle based Dark Time Sunshine, consisting of producer Zavala and rapper Onry Ozzborn, have been quietly building a loyal following for about 5 years now. This is off of their 2010 LP Vessel which made serious underground waves. In a lot of respects it is a quintessential Pacific Northwest hip hop album, with congenial beats meshed with contemplative lyrics. Yet, this album stood out on multiple levels. First off, Zavala brought with him from Chicago a more avant garde sensibility and his approach to production is significantly more experimental than the radio friendly projects of Seattle counterparts such as Sabzi of Blue Scholars and Ryan Lewis of Macklemore. Most of the tracks on Vessel are complex and multifaceted, with multiple layers of synth rhythms woven into a nexus with ever-changing warped beats. Their latest album ANX is equally left-field, with progressive (somewhat dreamy) soundscapes and provocative lyrics.
This track, however is one of their more accessible products. The soulful croon of Portland’s Reva Devito softens its impact and ergo highlight’s Onry Ozzborns deeply personal and introspective lyrics. Pacific Northwest hip hop has been thrust into the mainstream recently due to the explosive success of Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” (it’s even taken off in Cambodia, I kid you not), and it’s inevitable that other Seattle mainstays will likely garner more attention. We’ll see if Dark Time Sunshine picks up any of this byproduct. Something tells me though that they’re perfectly happy occupying their avant gard niche the hip hop underground.