Release Date: Jun 16, 2015
Record label: Counter Records
Genre(s): Electronic, House, Garage, Club/Dance, 2-Step/British Garage
Maribou State occupies the no man's/everyman's land between electronic and acoustic sounds. Like its compatriots, Metronomy, the duo springs from the English countryside with a similar pastoral feel on its debut album, Portraits. Portraits' gorgeous, rhythmic grooves are enhanced by rich vocals, particularly from Holly Walker, pushing it into an even more languid space.
Hertfordshire-bred production duo Maribou State burst onto the electronic music scene with their floating, summery 'Scarlett Groove’ during the second half of 2011 - although ‘burst' doesn’t feel anything like the right verb to describe how Chris Davids and Liam Ivory operate. The handful of softly spoken EPs they released on Norman Cook’s Southern Fried Records label in the subsequent few years - particularly Truths - owed far too much of a debt to downtempo, more relaxed tributaries of the deep house movement, and lounge, for ‘bursting’ anywhere. But they did make a meaningful impression on most people who took the time to listen to them, earning plenty of new fans as a result.
On first listen, U.K. duo Maribou State seem like another sad-robot James Blake clone, mixing downtrodden post-dubstep beats with melancholy pitch-shifted vocals. However, the multilayered compositions of debut full-length Portraits prove that they're much more than that. The duo's mostly midtempo tracks feature busy yet restrained production, creatively constructing moody beatscapes with subtly manipulated rhythms and unexpected samples.
Since 2011, UK duo Chris Davids and Liam Ivory (aka Maribou State) have drawn acclaim and support from the likes of radio greats Annie Mac, Pete Tong and Gilles Peterson, and have a built an ever-expanding reputation off a series of EPs and remixes (Kelis, Four Tet, Lana Del Rey and Fatboy Slim, to name a few). The release of their debut full-length Portraits sees the duo claim stake in a space that ties the organic with the manufactured and pushes the definition of electronic in the process 3/4 a foothold in a realm where the music is a tapestry of texture that belongs as much to the dance floor as it does to a late-night drive. London lyricist Holly Walker lends her airy vocals to two tracks, professing a permanent melancholy tinged with indifference across "Steal," the track's ambient downtempo the ideal platform for Walker's sweet lull.
Explaining precisely what it is that London's Maribou State do is not easy. Like James Blake and Chet Faker, they employ bass music's neon synths and rhythmic glitches in the service of sad songs rather than dance floor bangers. But there is something a little more knowingly retro about Maribou State, too. In a similar way to Groove Armada or Bonobo, the duo's sound—eclectic, largely downtempo and with an emphasis on live musicianship—is steeped in classic hip-hop, soul, funk, even 1960s folk music.