Since their formation four years ago, Maribou State have established themselves as one of electronic’s foremost masters of creating the ethereal as oppose to the club-heavy beats dominant in EDM. Their popularity has increased each year following the release of a few EPs and a number of remixes, including for songs by Fat Boy Slim, Lana Del Rey, Submotion Orchestra, and Kelis. Yet, it feels Maribou State remain under-the-radar among music fans, possibly since their notoriety has been associated with remixes as oppose to original music.
This may soon change with the release of their debut full-length, Portraits. The album is a sublime collection of ten songs that demonstrate Maribou State’s ability to create multiple moods without overdosing the listener in synthetics. It’s a talent mastered by only a few, such as Anthony Gonzalez (a.k.a. M83) and Massive Attack, whose influences can be heard throughout the record.
At times, Portraits is absolutely mesmerizing and lush, creating a sense of invulnerability through the calm melodies and hallowing keys and synths, as depicted in the bookends “Home” and “Varkala”. Whereas the former soothes with a terrific, electronic-beat bass line, the latter is an existential experience that captivates with elongated notes and the haunting voice of long-time collaborator Holly Walker.
Then there are moments where Chris Davids and Liam Ivory – who are Maribou State – create music that makes you want to dance, not an EDM sense. Instead, their style is more like Massive Attack, who would swoon the listener with their combination of dubstep, trip-hop, trance, and ambient, using the rhythms and melodies to induce the audience to move. The brilliant “The Clown”, which includes a guest appearance by Pedestrian; the scintillating masterpiece, “Rituals”, which features a fabulous mid-song transition; the hallowing “Wallflower”; the hypnotic “Raincoats”; and the driving “Natural Fool” demonstrate the duo’s well-established electronic-ambient flourishes.
Portraits also reveals the continuing growth of Maribou State. On songs like “Steal”, “Say More”, and “Midas”, Davids and Ivory integrate acid jazz elements to create a different club vibe. The tracks are sultry and cool, music that must be played in front of an intimate audience. They present a great change-of-pace to a high-tempo, high-energy album. The tracks are also the most “organic” on the record, as the synthesizers and electronic beats are ebbed down while the keys and the vocals of Walker and Jono McCleary (on “Say More”) are amplified.
From start to finish, Portraits is a marvelous album. There isn’t a single moment that seems to just idle by. Instead, each track pulls you in and heightens the anticipation of what is to come next. And if their remixes helped get them recognized, Portraits will put Maribou State firmly on the music radar.
Portraits is available today in the UK and Europe and tomorrow (Tuesday, June 1) in the US and Canada. The album is being distributed by Counter Records, and it can be purchased at Ninja Tune, iTunes (UK / US / CAN), and Amazon (UK / US / CAN).
Maribou State are on a mini-tour through the UK. Dates are below.
06/06 – Afterlife, Manchester (Dj) – Tickets
06/06 – The Plug, Sheffield (Dj) – Tickets
07/06 – Open Air Festival, Amsterdam (Dj) – Tickets
26/06 – Glastonbury (DJ) – Tickets
04/07 – Pitch Festival, Amsterdam (Live) – Tickets
11/07 – Reasons Festival, Jersey (Dj) – Tickets
18/07 – Lovebox, London (Live) – Tickets
23/07 – CBE, Köln (Live) – Tickets
24/07 – Gretchen, Berlin (Live) – Tickets
25/07 – Stuttgart Festival, Stuttgart (Live) – Tickets
31/07 – Kendal Calling, Lake District (Dj) – Tickets
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