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  • Writer's picturehwandawa

Maribou State: Masters of Emotion

Updated: Dec 23, 2019

These guys truly are masters of all things atmospheric, melodic and emotive. This Hertfordshire hailing duo have perfected their unique brand of electronic music.

When I think back to the first time I realised how beautiful electronic music can be, Maribou State are a duo who come straight to mind. Forming in 2011 at university, despite virtually ignoring each other whilst at school in Hertfordshire, this duo have been consistently putting out uniquely emotive and deeply complex tracks.

Maribou State first graced our ears in 2011 with their debut EP on Fat! Records, Habitat, a beautifully melodic, atmospheric record with a slight hint of menace and dancefloor readiness, which earned support from the likes of Dark Sky and Kastle. They took no time in releasing their next track via the label in early 2012 with Olivia, with its bass heavy, dark undertones juxtaposed by the chimes of a xylophone and choppy drum beat. And thus the blueprint for their trademark sound began to take place.

The duo did not however limit themselves to just pure production, Maribou State also delivered euphoric joyous dancefloor experiences to revelers, oozing with just as much party vibes as there was emotion. And it was for that very reason that they found themselves signed to Norman Cook's [aka Fatboy Slim] record label. After not really liking what was unearthing from the electronic scene at the time, Maribou State took it upon themselves to edit tracks, including Fatboy Slim's now classic Praise You, transforming it into a sublime, enchanting piece of work, with well thought out, subtle tempo shifts. This caught the attention of Norman Cook and in the spring of 2012 they were signed to his label, not bad huh?

And hence came some of Maribou State's most incredible work to date, ultimately sealing their status as craftsmen of emotional electronica and dark bass rippling beats.

Their first imprint on the label came in the shape of Native, a 3 track EP packed with lush, soulful vocals, tribal drum beats and their first venture with now frequent collaborator, Pedestrian. Then came one of their most versatile EPs to date, Scarlett Groove. The lead single did nothing short of pulling at our heart strings with the passionate, sweet, soulful vocals courtesy of Saint Saviour laid perfectly over rich percussion and lush piano chords, creating a deeply heartfelt track which gained the support of Pete Tong and Annie Mac to name a few. The EP also featured two dancefloor ready, bass heavy, fist pumping tracks and a floaty, summery number with just the right amount of grit. Their sultry remix of Ultraista's Gold Dayzz nicely rounded off the year shooting to the top of the Hype Machine charts and once again showcased the pairs knack for injecting sincerity and pure feeling into any track their Midas hands touched.

Clearly seeing how the right vocalist can truly compliment the feelings behind their productions, 2013 saw Maribou State teaming up with singer/songwriter, Holly Walker, for the beautifully haunting Tongue EP. The lead track saw the pair step into slightly new territory, with it following the archetypal structure of a lyric laced song, but its blend of broken rhythms, looped vocals for the chorus and tempo shifts alongside it ensured it was still uniquely Maribou.

This same formula was employed when they released their first full album, Portraits. ​The live instrumentation, slight sense of melancholy and rhythm glitches that we became so used to hearing from Maribou State are all at play in Portraits, their album released via Bonobo's Ninja Tune. Calling on Holly Walker and Pedestrian once again to lay down their rich, soulful vocals which so well compliment the mood of Maribou State's production; The Clown, Rituals and Midas were definite standouts on the record. However, the broken, glitchiness of the rhythm in Wallflower alongside the sudden bellows of live drums, violins and trumpets make it in my opinion, the pairs' most magnificent and stringently unique piece of work so far.

Maribou State have consistently challenged the role of modern electronic music through their work, not once letting popularity steer their methods or ethic. Whilst waves of sub-bass ripple through almost all of their songs, a sense of sincerity and authenticity emanates in every track purely from the talent this duo has for amplifying emotion through production. The role of electronic for them goes beyond filling dancefloors, it's about creating a feeling, an emotional experience for the listener which will resonate with them for longer than the six or so minutes of beauty that come through your speaker.

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