Stas and Cat are THEESatisfaction, a rapper/singer duo from Seattle that wield such a cosmic brand of neo-soul, you would be forgiven if you thought they weren’t of this world, or even of our galaxy. They’re back with their second album EarthEE, the follow-up to their engaging vibrant debut album awE naturalE, which was released in 2012, and things are as engaging and vibrant as ever, and even more stimulating.
The duo is part of the intriguing Black Constellation collective – Shabazz Palaces are part of it too – who fearlessly do things differently, and seemingly operate in a far-off dimension than the rest of us do. When you hear the undulating grooves of THEESatisfaction, with the intricate snakings of Stas’ raps and Cat’s hypnotic singing, it’s all so refreshingly different that it could only be from beyond the stars.
The album opener, “Prophetic Perfection“, has an almost ominous feel to it and prepares you for the next 40 minutes. This will be a journey into unknown territory, with dark undertones, that will probably push you out of your comfort zone. Cat entices “said the bird to the water, may I take a sip, may I dip my toes in it”, and despite the somewhat off-putting vibe, you not only want to dip your toes in, but you want to jump head-first into the uncharted waters to see what else awaits.
After bouncing through the funk of “No GMO” and drifting through the airy “Planet For Sale” where Cat suggests “you need to reach out”, “WerQ” redelivers that message, putting our day-to-day, zombie-like existence under the microscope. It mesmerises and practically has the duo in a trance, a state the two operate in more often than not. Stas urges to “take that trip, make that shift”, to do something with yourself, while Cat chimes in to “spend the time, unwind”. The way the two deliver this message almost sage-like through the eeriness, resonates with your inner-self, and makes you “hope to change”.
“EarthEE” exists on the other end of THEESatisaction’s spectrum, on the lighter side of things, the cosmic side of things. They don’t challenge your mind here as they usually do, but rather welcome it to ease back and float. The track lifts you up on the flickering looping synths, beyond the stratosphere, and there Cat’s “twisting up her thoughts” before Stas breezes like “warm on a cold one”. There’s a hazy vibe to it all, with labelmate Porter Ray “blowing Indica” and mentor Palaceer Lazaro of Shabazz Palaces is up so high he’s face-to-face with “heaven-scented beings”.
In “Planet for Sale”, THEESatisfaction think “when we used to give a f*ck it was a rad thing”, that we’re now all just “pandering meandering Neanderthals”. They want to inject some life, well, back into life, and are doing it with stimulating soundscapes that push us to think outside the box and push us onto new plateaus. While this might be an uneasy journey at times, we’ll be all the more enlightened for it, and with Stas and Cat at the helm, we’re in good hands. EarthEE is out now via Sub Pop Records, purchase it on iTunes here.
Words by Oli Kuscher