Razor Tongue Media

Dark Time Sunshine Rises From Slumber With Glorious Lore

Cover for Dark Time Sunshine album "Lore" is a black and white blend of lines that seem to form a symmetrical flower.

New Album From Onry Ozzborn and Zavala Is Duo's First In Nine Years

It’s been a little bit since we have heard from these two together.  If you’re counting–and if you are a fan you definitely have been–just under nine calendars have flipped since Dark Time Sunshine dropped Anx in 2012.  While both Seattleite MC Onry Ozzborn and Chicago-based producer Zavala have been busy with other projects in this time, their latest album Lore has been heavily anticipated by followers since the last note played on Anx.

By cohort and label leader Ceschi Ramos’ own statement, it’s an album that at times didn’t feel like it would see fruition.  In fact, the road to get here is something worth its own documenting.   Arriving just two months into the year following what for many has been the darkest of their lives,  Lore punctuates a period of personal struggle for Ozzborn especially, a struggle that shows its marks in different places throughout Lore‘s eleven tracks.  In contrast, there are other places where Onry and Zavala deliver genuine celebrations of life. Many times it happens on the same song.  When these sides of the pendulum meet in the middle, the record encapsulates both the extreme downs these last few years have seen for us all and the optimism that many are hanging onto coming into 2021.  In this aspect of turmoil sitting opposite growth, the frame Lore sits in is felt by every ear it comes across.

Ozzborn sets the tone on the title track which opens the odyssey.  Zavala pits dueling snare hits against a 70s crime flick-like synth looming ominously in the backdrop while Onry unleashes his trademark spitfire cadence that belts out syllables like your pops did beatdowns.   His declaration is one that shouts through all the bullshit, love will triumph and Ramos closes the statement with an exclamation point.  It’s an auditory thesis statement, an introduction to the scenes that are about to play out.

Lore serves as therapy with themes of self-doubt and anxiety making way for redemption and perseverance over its course.  Both sides get detailed attention and there’s ample fodder for both sides of the battle.  Lines like this on “The Rite Kids” when R.A.P. Ferriera says “I write this for the chosen few/ Who were told as children to speak when they were spoken to/ and then were never spoken to” hit you with a gut punch.  Onry adds to that feeling with a matter-of-fact eloquence in his self-analysis, like on “Ritalin” when he laments:

SMH…SMH/ How many times do I have to set myself straight?
Groundhog on a greyhound replay
Highlights of a lowlife’s decay” 

Zavala and Onry Ozzborn are Dark Time Sunshine and "Lore" is their latest album. Here you see their headshots next to each other.

Zavala’s soundscapes push these bards’ tales often contrasting Ozzborn’s more optimistic verses with sinister stage sets, a map probably best charted on the excellent “Familiars”.  Onry talks about shooting every shot you can before your time stops, pushing listeners to take that leap of faith before the opportunity to jump is gone.  Zavala pushes that sense of a countdown with frantic drum work and eerie keyboard riffs that blend like mushrooms and lemon juice.  It’s my favorite beat on an album full of tremendous production.

Speaking of optimism and getting back to the other side of the aforementioned pendulum,  DTS ensure to get those good vibes their time as well.  There is even a serenade of sorts on “Look At Her Go” where Onry gets at his eye’s apple, breaking down that first evening of convo and chill when you spark something with someone you are feeling.   It’s a moment that interrupts all the reflection and allows for another side of life to slide in and remind us that tides can shift out of nowhere.

Those good feels continue to close Lore out on “Ayemen” and “Better Off”, both of which are fantastic.   In fact, that second half of the album serves as a remedy of confidence for both listeners and DTS themselves, a therapy for which all in attendance can grasp on to.  Lore is available everywhere now.  In addition to R.A.P. Ferreira, it also features Homeboy Sandman and Hail Mary Mallon (Rob Sonic and Aesop Rock).  Get a gander at the streamers below.

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