THEESatisfaction – “Recognition”

THEESatisfaction Band Photo

Commune with your spiritual forebears often? Nah, me neither, but the ladies—and by “ladies,” I mean “QUEENS”—of THEESatisfaction have used their latest video “Recognition” to pay homage to the sacred sites of African-American artistry, making stops at the Schomburg Center in Harlem, where a portion of Langston Hughes ashes are interred, along with the Philadelphia homes of John Coltrane, Sun-Ra and Marian Anderson.

The video also features a host of contemporary African-American artists and intellectuals working a paired-down futurist aesthetic. The song is more incantation than song, assuring listeners that those who have been brave enough and beautiful enough to express themselves will be recognized.

The video is our first glimpse of THEESatisfaction’s second full-length LP EarthEE, scheduled for release by Sub Pop Records on February 24th. Squarely descended from the liberal arts-educated, consciousness-raising R&B of Digable Planets and friends, THEESatisfaction (aka Stasia “Stas” Irons and Catherine “Cat” Harris-White) came to Sub Pop’s attention for their contributions to Shabazz Palaces’ much-heralded 2011 LP Black Up.

So, yes, if Nina Simone is your spirit animal and you spell your name with all lowercase letters in tribute to bell hooks, then you are squarely in THEESatisfaction’s demo, but it’s not entirely fair to describe Stas and Cat’s output solely in terms of HBCU, feminist bookstore references—as noble and invited as those references might be.

They are interesting producers no matter where you’re coming from, filtering the history of disco, funk and jazz through today’s minimalist electronic leanings. Frankly, I was won over by the video for “QueenS” in which they offer the deadpan mandate: “whatever you do, don’t funk with my groove”—a far more lady-friendly and clever take on bitches not killing your vibe.

THEESatisfaction are a duo to keep your eye (ear?) on. They may also have supernatural powers if the spoken word ending to “Recognition” is any indication. Why the fuck not? The world could use some serious magic right about now.