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2nd Shift Music Series: Xylouris-White
Thu, April 6, 2017, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM EDT
Doors open at 7:30pm and the show begins at approximately 8:00pm
Xylouris-White is lute player George Xylouris and drummer Jim White (Dirty Three, PJ Harvey). They’re master musicians whose expansive and frequently hypnotic work is characterized by a sense of endless exploration. The duo’s use of space within its songs suggests a sense of possibility and a freedom to see, find and invent. Xylouris-White has toured relentlessly in the last few years, bringing its unmistakable music to audiences throughout Europe, Australia and North America.
“More and more, it seems the duo are inventing a new musical language, one based on deeply telepathic interplay and pure, transcendent abandon… some of the heaviest music you’ll hear in 2016.” –– Aquarium Drunkard
“A thrilling musical foray into avant-garde folk.” –– The Guardian
Beverages are included in the ticket price, non-alcoholic for everyone, and beer & wine to those 21+.
Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?
The event admission is all ages. For beer and wine service, you must be 21+ with valid proof of age presented upon entry to the Museum.
What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?
There is NO Museum Visitor parking at the Francis Cabot Lowell Mill facility where we are located. We ask that you use the nearby public parking facilities.
Maps and directions to both the Museum Visitor Entrance and Parking can be found here: http://bit.ly/2d1en4D
How can I contact the organizer with any questions?
Please feel free to call us at 781-893-5410. Museum staff hours vary during the week, but someone will be available to answer any calls the day of the show.
Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn't match the person who attends?
Yes, we do not need to verify identity upon presentation of the ticket.
When Xylouris White recorded their second album, this most intuitive and inquisitive of duos did what comes naturally to them: expanded their horizons. For George Xylouris, the Cretan lute player who partners here with the Dirty Three’s preternaturally fluent Australian drummer Jim White, one aim was to extend a core metaphor of their ruggedly visionary debut album, 2014’s Goats. “Like goats walking in the mountain” is Xylouris’ poetic analogy for their approach: “They may not know the place, but they can walk easily and take risks and feel comfortable. Really, the goats inspired us.”
That exploratory pitch is matched by the majestic Black Peak, named after a mountain top in Crete and, says Xylouris, “recorded everywhere”. A peak in both artists’ careers, the album testifies to their determination to stretch the scope of their instruments and forge something vigorously questing from more traditional roots. Where Goats was mostly instrumental, Black Peak gives Xylouris’s full-force baritone a lead role. And where Goats was often frisky, its tumultuous, tender and terrifically expressive follow-up drives harder and dives deeper.
“As we work together we can see the horizon is always open,” says Xylouris, “because that’s how we work. We give each other space, and that comes from the space we always try to give the bands and the people who we work with in the past.”
Partly, Black Peak pays testimony to both men’s remarkable histories. One of Crete’s best-loved artists, Xylouris is a scion of Greek musical royalty, a family from a mountain village near the Cave of Zeus. His father is revered singer / lyra player Psarandonis. A child when he began playing the lute, Xylouris would accompany his father in a backing role. Yet just as Psarandonis stretched the lyra’s range (“If music is measured in meter,” Psarandonis said, “I play in kilometre!”), so Xylouris elevated his eight-string laouto to the lead role in his Xylouris Ensemble.
Jim White has commanded international attention for more than two decades as part of Australia’s Dirty Three, storm’s-eye instrumental diviners whose emotionally choppy soundscapes brim with elemental force. Now New York-based, White is often found collaborating with alt-A-listers (including: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, PJ Harvey, Nina Nastasia, Cat Power and Smog,) where his playing redeploys the rolling momentum of free-jazz to supple ends, from sensitive to seismic.
PJ Harvey has likened White’s playing to dancing. Yet if dancers need partners, Black Peak also pays testimony to a friendship forged over 25-plus years. Xylouris was touring with his Ensemble when he met White in Melbourne in the early 1990s, when the drummer was in his pre-Dirty Three avant-rock outfit Venom P Stinger. In retrospect, a cycle of influence emerges: Xylouris’s 1990s live contributions to the Dirty Three seem to set a blueprint for Xylouris White, yet the Dirty Three were themselves inspired by Xylouris and Psarandonis.
That mutual admiration shapes the way the duo operate on Black Peak, always listening, encouraging, accommodating. “Each one has different roles at the same time, accompaniment and lead role,” explains Xylouris. “It’s very fluid.”
This fluidity is clear from the rolling explosion of the title-track, where White’s thunderous rhythm seems to urge, and be urged along in turn, by Xylouris’s chugging lute-rock riff, pirouetting melody and soaring vocal. “Forging” maintains the momentum, Xylouris’s thrashing, thrilling lute melody circling the rock of White’s pulsing drum. Elsewhere, Xylouris White re-write their route map. “Hey, Musicians” is rich and sonorous. The skin-tingling crawl of “Erotokritos (Opening)” draws on romantic renaissance verse; “Short Rhapsody” is a joyous jam of slashing laouto and coiled percussion; “Pretty Kondilies” is dancing and declamatory. Finally, “The Feast” sprawls gorgeously between tradition and invention, its sombre, sighing spaces shared with guest star Psarandonis’ stunning lyra and voice.
It took until 2013 for Xylouris and White to form as a duo, a process accelerated when White played with Xylouris and Psarandonis at a Nick Cave-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in Australia. Just as other parties helped unite them, so the path to Black Peak was trod with support. The producer is Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto, as on Goats (Xylouris: “His enthusiasm and aesthetic bring richness to the proceedings.”); the ghostly harmonies on “Erotokritos” come from Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy.
“All these things together, Jim from Australia, me from Crete, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy from Kentucky, Psarantonis from Crete, Guy Picciotto from Washington give us the inspiration of the horizon,” says Xylouris. “Jim and I travel a great deal and we like to do so. We have been doing that together the past three years, which is what inspired us to think of the horizon.
“We’re still goats,” he adds, “now on the horizon.” On the spectacular Black Peak, Xylouris White show just how far their horizons can stretch.
“As one third of Dirty Three and on performances with Cat Power, Bill Callahan, Will Oldham and countless others, Jim White has long been known as one of the most powerful and distinctive drummers on the scene. But he outdoes himself on the title track of Xylouris White’s sophomore LP, building the song into a righteous gallop that’s thrillingly thunderous and devastatingly precise all at once. A tour de force that’ll make other drummers hang their heads in shame.
White’s partner here, George Xylouris, is no slouch either, delivering nimble lines on his eight-string laouto, and singing in the voice of an angry, old god. Xylouris comes from Greek music royalty, and the music he’s making here with White does have its roots in traditional sounds. But more and more, it seems the duo are inventing a new musical language, one based on deeply telepathic interplay and pure, transcendent abandon, whether it’s on pulsating numbers like “Forging,” or dark, slow droners like “Hey Musicians.” Xylouris White is an acoustic affair (pristinely captured by Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto), but make no mistake — this is some of the heaviest music you’ll hear in 2016.” Tyler Wilcox, Aquarium Drunkard