Xylouris White is a bombastic creative duo, enthusiastically experimenting and exploring with a vast array of sounds. The group consists of the perhaps unlikely combination of an Australian drummer, Jim White, and lute player, Giorgios Xylouris, hailing from the Greek island of Crete. After previous works Goats and Black Peak, Xylouris White releases their third album Mother on Bella Union.
Mother is a record containing several approaches and themes throughout. The most evident is a child-like experimentation approach, as Xylouris explains it: “A theme of the album is the significance of simplicity and a child-like approach. We connect mother and child and play instruments as toys. Xylouris White is still gestating”.
Opening track ‘In Medias Res’ begins mid-flow, with the two musicians bouncing off each other, driving the other forwards towards undiscovered terrain. Second track ‘Only Love’ is equally as direct, with powerful vocals, intricate lute playing and encapsulating rhythm sections creating an uncompromising and direct sound.
The album continues to deliver grand and epic tracks including ‘Motorcycle Kondilies’, ‘Achilles Heel’ and ‘Call and Response’. Xylouris White also shows their softer side on songs such as ‘Lullaby’, ‘Woman from Anogeia’ and ‘Spud’s Garden’. Stand out track ‘Daphne’ offers the band at their most compelling and hypnotic.
Mother is certainly an album for the purists. The dynamics of mood, feeling and execution within this record make it an exciting listen. The devoted attention towards exploration and experimentation should be championed, albeit contributing to a more tense and difficult overall sound to listen to.
It may at first be difficult for the listener to have a firm grasp and understanding of the meaning and style behind the music. Once discovered, however, you may be lost for hours.