Xylouris White
Mother


3.9
excellent

Review

by house cat STAFF
February 8th, 2018 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: the one with the weird guitar in it

I’ve been overseas twice, both times as a child eternally grateful for a responsible, relatively affluent adult’s pay-check. The US played host to our family the first time. Give or take a stroll down the Vegas Strip, the place is perfect for kids; I ate too much, found God in theme parks, pretended I knew all there was to know about the NBA. The bucket list, freshly started and marked by naivete, became an item shorter.

The second and last time I boarded a plane overseas, it was destined for Europe during the winter of 2012. Older now: more receptive to new ideas, new cultures; in which a walk through Jardin des Tuileries was just as exciting as a sojourn at Disneyland. It instilled in me a desire for new experiences, one that I haven’t managed to truly satiate since.

Now I don’t have the money for travel. Maybe if I sold my laptop, my car, my guitar, but no -- for the time being, I’m stuck here (“stuck” may be too harsh a word, for a town all too understanding of my need for space), picking up cultural touchstones from my bedroom. It’s a much less effective method, a facsimile of understanding, but it’s all I’ve got.

But I don’t think that’s why I can’t pinpoint Mother, the most recent output from Greek/Australian duo Xylouris White. It’s a record both anachronistic and anatopistic -- vaguely like this and vaguely like that. In Media Res sounds like it could’ve been kicked up with the dust on a busy street in Dubai, and the soulful timbre of George Xylouris’ voice in Spud’s Garden would sound at home amidst wedding festivities literally anywhere on the Balkan Peninsula, circa whenever.

The scope of its influence encompasses the globe, despite the fact that the record sets its feet firmly in the traditions of Greek folk music. Xylouris’ primary instrument is the laouto -- a fascinating member of the lute family originating in Greece, and its tone is resonant, singing out with a rasp. The fret-buzz is as important to the sound palette as the notes themselves, which is to say that Xylouris’ style is one that feels travelled, in the same way corrosion and bruising adds character and value to the body of a guitar.

It’s giving this record too much to say it’s truly transportative, that it takes me places, but points for trying. Only Love is at least immersive -- a sprint around the world in less than eighty days, punctuated by some tight, nimble playing on the part of both Xylouris and drummer Jim White. But a word on White: I think his is a style that adapts, like any good rhythm section should, to the musician it supports. There are traces of Dirty Three still in his drumming: he plays loose, disappearing and reappearing in barely discernible patterns, but the foundation is there. More swaying net than concrete floor.

The union between the two musicians (one entrenched in Cretan folk and medieval music, the other in instrumental rock and post-punk) is the alchemy which makes this record both structurally cohesive yet subtly and, somewhat contrarily, diffuse. These two know each other well, but together they write songs that are fleet-footed, skipping through foreign spaces as quickly as you can spell out their names. While they move hurriedly, they still manage the time to borrow details, souvenirs, from the communities in their whirlwind path.

No, I don’t see another overseas trip on the horizon. Mother will have to do.



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user ratings (7)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Papa Universe
February 8th 2018


11971 Comments


"one entrenched in Cretan folk and medieval music, the other in instrumental rock and post-punk"

this i need to listen to then

Digging: Ought - Room Inside The World

verdant
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2018


2052 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

""""""world""""""

Lucid
February 8th 2018


9036 Comments


Enjoyed the wandering and reminiscent tone here, your gentle writing is always a pleasure to read.

BlushfulHippocrene
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2018


2185 Comments


This reminds me a lot of your older reviews, very warm and simple. Listened to a bit of Dirty Three and they are good

Digging: Tiny Little Houses - Idiot Proverbs

verdant
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2018


2052 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

thank u frens



AND GIVE IT UP FOR BLUSHFUL, WHOSE KEEN EDITING EYE SALVAGED THIS FLAMING PILE OF GARBAGE



**crowd hollers and applauds**

dbizzles
February 8th 2018


10899 Comments


Hey, this was a very nice little diddy. Cheers.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2018


22765 Comments


great review

verdant, if you don't mind my asking, where are you from?

Digging: Basalte - Vertige

dbizzles
February 8th 2018


10899 Comments


Well, you see, when two people fall in love...

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2018


22765 Comments


oh great....

this is the seventh birbs and bees convo i've had today

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2018


16629 Comments


Some say he was borne from nothing at all, a wunderkind of immaculacy.

Digging: Taeko Onuki - Mignonne

verdant
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2018


2052 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

i am from Nowhere, Australia

Papa Universe
February 8th 2018


11971 Comments


hey, that's my hometown. didn't know you were from Western Oz too..

Winesburgohio
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2018


1997 Comments


lovely review obviously -- you know i can't resist the personal touch expounded into something bigger, more enveloping -- but i'd avoid the "World Music" label, even if you're obviously aware of how fraught it is. better to make a few google searches and really pin it down than rely on something so nebulous, especially when the rest of the review is so specific, is my take!!! thanks

Digging: Damaar - Triumph Through Spears Of Sacrilege

Dewinged
February 8th 2018


8250 Comments


Of all the reviews that I expected for this site this is the one I expected the less.

Props to you for (beautifully) covering this one, Jack.

Digging: Polica / s t a r g a z e - Music For The Long Emergency

RadicalEd
February 9th 2018


8751 Comments


fantastic review. really intrigued. Will check.

Digging: Onra - Nobody Has To Know

AsleepInTheBack
February 9th 2018


5406 Comments


neat, quirky review mate. sounds like an interesting listen.

verdant
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2018


2052 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

thx all



will work something out re: Winesburg CC™ when i'm not so indisposed

Lucid
February 9th 2018


9036 Comments


world music is a garbage racist term. i like to think the single quotes connotate skepticism in the review, but getting rid of it altogether is better

verdant
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2018


2052 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

definitely a healthy dose of skepticism involved, sardonicism even

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
February 9th 2018


20728 Comments


we are the worldddddddd
we are the childrennnnnnnnn



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