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’s 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.
Oliver Coates is a cellist, composer and producer based in London. He has performed solo shows in China, Russia, Brazil, Egypt and Australia, and made his New York debut at Le Poisson Rouge. He was the winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award 2011 and is an Artist in Residence at the Southbank Centre. Two major commissions premiered in 2017: HELIOTONES, for girls' choir, flutes, cello and electronics, for Borealis Festival in March, and Shorelines, for string quartet and electronics, for Cryptic in May.
In 2016 Coates released a solo record, Upstepping, on PRAH, and a collaborative record, Remain Calm, with Mica Levi on Slip. He works closely with Levi, London Contemporary Orchestra, Elysia Crampton, Jonny Greenwood and the visual artist Lawrence Lek, for whom he has scored the award-winning video pieces Unreal Estate and QE3. He has also performed with Dean Blunt and will open for Radiohead on select 2017 arena dates. He has conceived and programmed the Southbank Centre’s long-running Harmonic Series and its first DEEP∞MINIMALISM festival in 2016, which featured Pauline Oliveros’ last public Tuning Meditation.