George Xylouris & Jim White return to Dublin on the back of a spectacular performance in The Workman’s Club last August and a hugely acclaimed third album, Mother, recently released on the inimitable Bella Union label. Xylouris White are an absolute joy to behold live and will be joined by The Bonk who recently released one of the best albums made on this island in 2017.
“It’s a joy to listen to, and one that inspires faith in modern rock music and its ability to evolve.” – Drowned In Sound, Mother review
“Simultaneously rooted and rootless, we might call the results Otherworld Music” – Uncut, Mother review
“Xylouris White's 'Mother' carries an overwhelming and unexpected emotional impact. It's a rare thing: experimental music with a huge heart” – Folkradio.co.uk
A passion for exploration comes naturally to Xylouris White, the ruggedly visionary duo formed of Cretan lute player George Xylouris and Australian drummer Jim White. For their debut album, 2014’s Goats, Xylouris White compared themselves to the titular animals, wandering fearlessly through rough-hewn terrain. Two years later, they showed how far their horizons could reach on 2016’s majestically expansive Black Peak, named after a mountain top in Crete
Just 15 well-toured months later, the duo’s exploratory instincts drive them further onwards still on their third album, Mother, released 19th January on Bella Union, and named to denote “new life”. As Xylouris puts it, “Mother is the extension of Goats and Black Peak. Three things, all part of a whole. Goats are mothers, Zeus was raised on Amaltheia’s milk, Black Peak is Mother Earth… Mother Earth is the mother of everything.” As on Black Peak, Mother’s labours benefited from the midwifery of choice collaborators. Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto produced once again. Also on hand this time was Anna Roberts-Gevalt of old-time folk duo Anna & Elizabeth, whose earthy violin/viola lines and exquisitely sighing vocals can be heard on the track “Lullaby”.
That ongoing gestation is a remarkable extension of already remarkable back-stories. Xylouris is a scion of one of Greece’s most revered musical families. His father is legendary singer and lyra player Psarantonis. Jim White, meanwhile, has commanded international attention for more than two decades as part of Australia’s Dirty Three. Now New York-based, White has often been called on to collaborate with numerous alt-A-listers (including: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, PJ Harvey, Cat Power and Smog), where he redeploys the rolling momentum of free-jazz to variously supple, sensitive and seismic ends. Most recently he performed with Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett on their acclaimed album “Lotta Sea Lice”.
The Bonk is a project formed out of new recordings begun in 2014 by Waterford musician Philip Christie (O Emperor). These initial recordings were mostly undertaken and captured as live performances at Big Skin studios in Cork City.
Borrowing a term used to describe a state of mental and physical collapse, The Bonk often uses layered competing rhythms in a way that tends towards estrangement from the familiar. Time and time again, The Bonk plays (upon) ideas of time and repetition, repetition and time.