In its swirling psychedelia and spirit-gazing thought provocation and optimism, Santa Barbara’s Chaye Tione’s great 2015 album Life encapsulates the headier aspects of SoCal’s sonic shine, more moonlight than midday. Opening with a soft jazz piano line worthy of an Illmatic or Underground Classics on “Manifest,” the eight downtempo hip-hop pieces of Life are lush, relaxed, and deep. The songs, all threaded by Tione’s flow, are hypnotic, like “Trippin’,” which wraps around the sample of a girl’s laugh, and “I’ma Handle It (feat. Lisa Kim),” which coasts off into space with a thick, Moog-like synth. Life is an exciting, creative, extraordinarily promising release.


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