Mother is the third album by drum and lute combo, Xylouris White. The duo consist of Dirty Three drummer, Jim White and lute-playing Crete native, George Xylouris of Xylouris Ensemble. The album forms the third part of loose trilogy of albums with 2014’s Goats and 2016’s Black Peak. Jim White is known for collaborating with a number of artists including Smog, PJ Harvey, Cat Power, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and most recently on Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett’s Lotta Sea Lice.
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Roll up for a third Xylouris White record, if you can believe it. If it feels like they’re churning them out, you’re forgetting how simple these records are: the Dirty Three tinkerman and Cretan lutist come together to make records that feel like they’ve been dusted off by virtuosos, frenetically structured and yet somewhat improvised in feel. Bringing together the often self-destructive playing of White with the songcraft of George Xylouris (whose traditions are, more than anything, familial, based in his family’s history of music), ‘Mother’ feels much like its predecessors, though often rings out more simple and attaching riffs for the listener to hum back at the speakers.
Sweet as ever, their combined pastorality kicks into cohesion on songs like “Spud’s Garden”, where the melodies are accentuated by the physical feeling of playing -- hearing those kick drums find their place is marvellous, as is hearing Xylouris’ vocal rise, tumble, scowl and hover. The ominous “Achilles Heel” uses simple lute motifs and a smattering of broken percussion towards the kind of world-building the duo are now halfway towards completion. At the end of this project, we’ll have a collection of records that feel like a particular map of sound.
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