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I first heard Thee Satisfaction in the months leading up to their brilliant official debut album “Awe Naturale” (2012) which ended up at number five in my Top Ten Hip-Hop Releases of the Year. Since then the Seattle duo have released two EP length tributes to Erykah Badu and Anita Baker, this release is seems like a simialarly stop gap release but does give some indication of what their second album might sound like.

The EP opens with ‘MasterKey’ which combines a truncated electric piano and vocal loop, that resolves every four bars (the vocal sings the word ‘key’). Thirty five seconds in the loop gets cut up over a hip-hop beat. The feel of the track (like most of Thee Satisfaction’s work) is organic both rhythmically and aesthetically. It’s followed by ‘Queen County (4 Women)’ featuring Gift Uh Gab & JusMoni the first track indicates the evolution of their sound with its a slippery electronic hip-hop beat and cowbell, delayed electric piano chords. The girls lead vocals and harmonies over the top, some parts of the vocals are also put through a delay. The guest rap verses comes in around two minutes adds a tough contrast to the delay electric piano and vocals. Interestingly there’s lyrics about drugs, something new for Thee Satisfaction. Another change of pace is ‘Five Things: Uncle Tom Foolery’ with its long brass stabs that play around a simple flute melody with a beat underpinning them and a spoken word sample that tells Black people what they should do to fix the racism problem. The music reminds me of early Gil-Scott Heron.

‘MARTIN’ utilises a distant weird sounding vocal loop that starts up the track followed by a delayed vocal sample and hand percussion, the song sounds like Seattle peers and collaborators Shabazz Palaces. Partway through the track one of the girls talks over the top and a deep electric piano chord progression comes in. Next up is ‘Moon God’ featuring JusMoni it begins with a thick synth through delay that recalls the duo’s previous album, then a deep, boomy bass drum kicks in bring with it an 808 snare and the slurring vocals of the girls. I really like the slippery deep bass guitar that’s buried deep in the mix. The EP finishes with ‘Pre Racial’ a track that combines tense strings that rise and then fall in a truncated loop over the top of an 808 beat. Towards the end of the track an acoustic piano melody and the words ‘the Obama planatation’ are dropped into the mix. The final spoken sample seems to a strange inclusion and seems ambigious is it politcal message.

While I’m not disappointed with this new EP from Thee Satisfaction it does feel like just a collection of brief tracks that point to the directions they persue further on their forthcoming second album. There’s nothing wrong with this and it a release worth checking out but it might be worth investing in some of the duo’s earlier releases or sitting tight until the second album is released.

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