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by Xylouris White
Feature Records for the week beginning Mon 3 Oct 2016
Xylouris White Black Peak (PBS Feature Record)
Xylouris White are a punk rock band. Jim White – surely one of the greatest and most versatile drummers to have emerged from this country – has his origins in Melbourne’s punk scene of the 1980s, while Cretan lute master Giorgis Xylouris (aka Psarogiorgis) subverts the instrument’s role as an accompaniment and puts it front and centre, to great effect.
It follows then, that on Black Peak they have worked again with producer Guy Picciotto, former guitarist of DC post-hardcore legends Rites of Spring and Fugazi, also on the controls for the pair’s 2014 debut Goats. It’s a record that is at once entirely contemporary and rooted in tradition. Lead single ‘Black Peak’ is underpinned by a driving, hypnotic rhythm from White (not a world away from his meditative performance as part of garage rock droners The Double), with Xylouris’ inspired, virtuousic playing topped by a soaring vocal, adding a new element to this previously instrumental collaboration.
And it’s Xylouris’ vocals that make Black Peak more than the sum of its parts. Bonnie “Prince” Billy – a regular collaborator with White elsewhere – lends ethereal vocals to album centrepiece ‘Erotokritos (Opening)’, before the album’s only instrumental cut ‘Short Rhapsody’ kicks off with White’s trademark flair. Despite the intricacies of the arrangements and the addition of vocals – written for the most part by lyricist Mitsos Stavrakakis – there is still plenty of space on Black Peak.
Various Artists Analogue Redux: Hardware Explorations (PBS Feature Record)
Clan Analogue has returned with a new compilation that will leave you grinning from ear to ear. Analogue Redux is also an excellent introduction to the work of this collective for the uninitiated. Clan Analogue is now Australia's longest-running electronic arts and sound collective, starting in Sydney in 1992. Analogue Redux is a celebration of the new wave of hardware-driven music, so the call was put out to artists to contribute tracks featuring their favourite analogue gear and classic technology. The result is a collection of everything from krautrock improvisation to lo-fi ambience. An outstanding release that serves as an excellent reminder of the rich talent electronic musicians have here in Australia.
Review by Cat McGauran (The Breakfast Spread)
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