Seeing Giorgos Xylouris and Jim White live, you're struck by their in-performance cues, which include slight nods or glances from smiling eyes that seem almost conspiratorial. Their visceral interplay and spirit is a highly rare, magical and mysterious one, and with Mother, their third consecutive collaboration with Fugazi's Guy Picciotto, they've dispatched another compelling set of clues.
Xylouris is part of a much-celebrated Cretan folk lineage, and as such, primarily plays lute and lyra and sings expressively in Greek. White is in ….
On Mother, their third long-player, the duo of Cretan lutist George Xylouris and drummer Jim White find the space between the arid exploration of 2014's Goats and the intense, swirling ascendancy of 2016's Black Peak. By turns, Mother is a more spacious album than either of its predecessors. Produced by Guy Picciotto (Fugazi), these nine tracks more carefully examine song forms, utilize the grainy physicality of Xylouris' voice, explore the seam where drones and conventional Cretan and Greek melodies are born, and interact with one another in conversational tones of varying passionate emotion.
Xylouris White is composed of Greek singer and laouto player George Xylouris and Australian drummer Jim White, from the instrumental rock trio Dirty Three. The pair first met in 1990 and they formed a friendship that would precede any musical collaborations .
Paradoxically both dense and sparse, lute/drums duo Xylouris White’s intense, elemental music defies easy categorisation and their third album is no exception.
Opening track In Medias Res is a kind of tuning up/ settling in, with rhythms tentatively developing amid the droning of a violin and the strummed/plucked lute. The album begins in earnest with the insistent Only Love, a Greek-inspired bouncing rhythm propelling George Xylouris’ nimble-fingered lute and impassioned vocal.
Throughout the rest of the album, the two strands; spacious, fragile, pastoral jams and hypnotic rhythm/drone-heavy tracks recur. The most powerful songs are Spud’s Garden and Lullaby, which bring the two together.