In the music world–indeed, in the culture at large–the focus has always been on a lone genius, an individual that’s held up as the star. It’s a narrative that’s easy to digest, but the reality is more gray than black and white. Great music is created in a collaborative process, and one of the more interesting collaborations is taking place in Seattle. The birthplace of grunge and indie folk has given rise to Black Constellation, a loose hip-hop collective that blurs the lines between music, art, dance, and theater. THEESatisfaction is one of the shining beacons of the scene, drawing liberally from hip-hop, jazz, R&B, electronic, and ambient to create something wholly original.
Cat Harris-White and Stas Irons first debuted with fellow Black Constellation outfit Shabazz Palaces in 2011, then followed up their guest turn with the head-turning awE naturalE. Irons raps while Harris-White sings, but their voices often intertwine, equal parts gritty and cosmic. On their new record EarthEE, the pair are joined by Shabazz Palaces, Meshell Ndegeocello, Porter Ray, and others, all adding their distinct voice to an album that’s all about collective consciousness. The title track carves out its own little world, striving for timelessness while still struggling with the pitfalls of daily life.