Like Sisyphus, drummer Jim White and multi-instrumentalist Georgios Xylouris are engaged on a journey without end. The rock they bear is the limitless investigation and expansion of a musical tradition rooted in Crete. With The Sisypheans they unravel that ancient tradition still further, the multi-tracking of Xylouris’s lute, lyra and vocals creating a lushness where previously a more spartan aesthetic prevailed. The terrain they cover expands in consequence: sometimes freer and edgier (Goat Hair Bow), and sometimes wildly and primally rhythmical (Inland).
Yet even as their options expand, their songs have never sounded more focused, intimate and emotionally searing. White’s drums are often mixed further back than usual, without disturbing the sense of his being an improviser engaged in a dialogue of equals, rather than just an accompanist. The nearer he and Xylouris come to the peak of their mountain, the deeper their experiment takes them. These two potent musical personalities create a sound as new as it is old, and however far out on a limb they dare to go, they are in no danger of jettisoning their precious musical cargo.