Maribou State — the duo formed of Chris Davids and Liam Ivory — mark their highly anticipated return with brand new single “Blackoak”, their first new music in over three years, released today on Ninja Tune.
“Blackoak” is a classic slice of signature Maribou sound, blending intricate electronics with organic live instrumentation and vocals, built around the kind of enticing hooks that have earned them such a huge and dedicated fan base over the years. It acts not just as a reintroduction of Maribou State to the world but as a marker for where they are at both sonically and creatively, a statement of intent on what is surely to follow.
“The song was written at a difficult time for both ourselves and everyone else involved,” they explain. “Over the past few years we’d both begun to struggle with our sense of selves and how connected we felt to our roots in Britain. The world being in a state of flux seemed to amplify this feeling of disillusion but it led us to explore all the things we loved about where we’re from; the musicians, from artists like David Bowie and The Beatles, through to The Prodigy and Chemical Brothers, and also the likes of Burial, Aphex Twin and Sault; all the electronic genres born here, from Jungle to UK Garage and IDM; and Festivals, namely Glastonbury, the countryside & English summers. In “Blackoak” we tried to capture the spirit of all these things, and it unintentionally helped us reconcile some of our feelings of indifference. For us it sits at the apex of our musical journey so far.”
The release comes after an intense period of song-writing that saw them embark on several makeshift writing retreats, building their own DIY studios at various secluded locations throughout the UK, and inviting a cast of friends and collaborators along to help. “Blackoak” ended up being written almost entirely in one day during one of the early writing sessions (“which is extremely rare for us.”), and was completed on a later trip with the help of their own amateur choir — “We invited all our friends down and got them to sing the main hook, “do that for you”, in the stairwell of the house. The whole thing was fairly chaotic and turned into more of a party than anything productive whilst they were there, but all that energy ended up feeding back into the song and the vocals we recorded really made the ending come to life.”
The Blackoak in question actually refers to the area where the bulk of the track was written over the winter of 2021, surrounded by snow covered woodland — something which is close to the Hertfordshire-born pair’s hearts. As part of the physical release, the band have made a donation to the Woodland Trust, equivalent to £1 of every vinyl sold. “Having both been fortunate enough to grow up in an area surrounded by woodland, we’ve always had a strong connection and affinity with forests and now more than ever we fully support the Woodland Trust in their efforts of restoration and protection for these magnificent and vital areas”
“Blackoak” is the duo’s first new music on Ninja Tune following their acclaimed album ‘Kingdoms In Colour’. Released to widespread acclaim, the record drew high-praise from the likes of NME, Complex, GQ, Crack Magazine and Mixmag — who also named Maribou State as one of their ‘Artists Of The Year’ — was BBC 6 Music’s ‘Album Of The Day’ and received huge support from Annie Mac, Nick Grimshaw, Gilles Peterson, Tom Ravenscroft, Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamacq, Pete Tong, Nemone and and many more, with additional support across US radio including KCRW & KEXP — where they also performed a special live session.. It included collaborations with long-time vocalist Holly Walker, old friend and collaborator, Jack Sibley (AKA North Downs), and psychedelic Texas trio Khraungbin, and was followed by a cache of incredible remixes from the likes of HAAi, Maceo Plex, Adesse Versions and DJ Tennis, as well as the release of a subsequent single, “Mother”, as part of their ‘Fabric Presents’ compilation in 2020.
Their lauded live show, which expands their outfit to a 5-piece band, has taken them across the globe to some of the worlds most prestigious venues and festival stages, including a headline show at the Sydney Opera House, a triumphant sold-out show at Brixton Academy, back-to-back sold-out UK, EU and North American tours, and high-profile slots at the likes of Glastonbury, Primavera, All Points East, and a headline slot at Lost Village Festival alongside Bicep, Little Dragon, Modeselektor and Richie Hawtin.
Stream / Download here