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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Eight Days a Week

Since April 2004, when I first started this blog, I have never gone longer than 7 days without posting something or other here. This week I broke that frequency. It's been 8 days since my last entry. It's not that there's nothing to blog about. It's just that there's much too much going on in my non-blog-related work/life to find 15 minutes to add something new to the blog.

Years of professional broadcasting instilled in me a disciplinary respect for regularity. I wouldn't dream of not keeping my weekly appointment with my podcast subscribers. What's better, the series of weekly music podcasts I started a couple months ago has given me something to blog about, come rain or shine. So, even if I'm too involved in non-blog things, there's still an assurance that I'll blog about the podcast every weekend.

By sheer coincidence, the eighth podcast in the series Mużika Mod Ieħor gives me the required push to enter something in my blog after an 8-day impasse. The podcast itself continues in the same vein as the previous seven; and that's a good thing, if you like regularity of any sort.

An email from Mike Brigulio to one of the several Yahoo! Groups he posts on regularly drew my attention to his band Dripht yesterday. They've just announced that their version of The Rifffs Dance Music for Depression, which appears on their EP Global Warning, is now being pushed as a single...whatever that means these days. So this week's podcast opens with another "single" from the same EP: Rockin' to Resist. There's a promotional video for this song on Dripht's website. I wonder if they'll do something similar for the Rifffs cover.

Last week, I mentioned a wonderful little website that has taken over from the old as the largest online clearing house for unsigned singers and musicians. This other site is called SoundClick. There's a surprisingly large number of Maltese acts on this website. So, this week I decided to pick another one from the list and play one of the tracks available there. This time it's the ethno-electro-freestyle of MJ.5. A wide selection of unusual tracks show that MJ.5 has more to offer than the untrained ear/eye may first think. I'll be playing more material from SoundClick in the coming weeks.

Mużika Mod Ieħor is an ideal platform for anything that may easily get overlooked by the mainstream media. I take great pride in this. It is one of the driving forces behind this podcast. A few weeks back I mentioned an unusual thing called the Heavy Metal Eurovision. I even brought it up again during the sixth podcast in this series, when I started getting mentally ready for the oncoming onslaught for this year's Song for Europe. However, this week I finally decided to actually play something from the Heavy Metal Eurovision.

Final voting on the 3rd edition of the Heavy Metal Eurovision took place last weekend. Sadly, Malta was not represented this time. In the first two editions AngleCrypt and Forsaken placed at a respectable 11th and 9th place respectively. I have a feeling that some other Maltese metal band can better this in future editions. Meanwhile, I thought it was appropriate to play Malta's highest placing song from the 2nd edition of the Heavy Metal Eurovision, Via Crucis.

For some reason, which I'm still unable to articulate or even understand, as I was listing to Forsaken's Metal Eurovision song, I was reminded of Jon Lukas. Along with Marc Storace whom I featured in >the second podcast in this series, Jon Lukas is the Maltese music scene's most high-profile performer in the early 1970s. Jon even did what no other Maltese singer had managed to do before or since: he was signed by EMI Columbia, who released his 1972 hit Can't Afford To Lose. That single (yes, in those days it made real sense to use that term!) entered the UK Top 50 and brought the singer an amazing cult following in the middle east. I'm not making this up! You can see for yourself in the resourceful Arts Directory Malta.

If you don't know about the Arts Directory from D'Angelo & Company you should really check it out. It's a remarkable initiative led by former Culture Ministry mainstay Robert Cefai. The Arts Directory is a great way for all sorts of artists to promote themselves and their work online, as well as a great resources for anyone interested in arts and entertainment in Malta. If more performers, artists and promoters pick up on the potential usefulness of such an online service, I'm sure I'll be mentioning it again on my blog (and elsewhere) in the future.

Through the Arts Directory I was reminded of Jon Lukas' most recent musical project: a collaboration with his son Ashley and David A Nash called Woodenman. gave Jon a taste of his success from the early 70s when a Woodenman track called My Time was the number 1 download for the month of August in 1998. Mr Taxman is the Woodenman song I've chosen to play as the last track on this week's podcast. I saw Jon Lukas' name among the 50 songs in the pool that brought us the current finalists for the 2006 Malta Song for Europe and I would have loved to hear that song, especially because Jon has said he doesn't think very highly of the Eurovision Song Contest. I have a feeling that his song was too good for the Malta Song for Europe.

Next week's podcast will deal with the Song for Europe more directly, in some way or other. I'm still trying to decide about the actual format. So, if you have any ideas you'd like me to consider, please contact me. No idea is too outrageous when it comes to this annual pre-carnival festivity.

The RSS feed for the podcast is available here or you can simply click here to subscribe directly with iTunes. You can also add the latest episodes to your My Yahoo! page.

Blogger Kenneth said...

Any chance of including The Rifffs' Dance Music for Depression? I can't seem to find a copy - digital or not. 

2:39 PM, January 22, 2006
Blogger Toni Sant said...

Kenneth, since I am one of the proud owners of the original Rifffs 45 rpm disc, your wish is my command. It just occurred to me that you (and other podcast listeners/subscribers like you) weren't even born when that record originally came out. You shouldn't be deprived of such a gem! I will play it during my podcast in the coming weeks, if not next week. 

5:31 PM, January 22, 2006
Anonymous Fre said...

hi toni and all.

thanks for all the support you and people like you give to the local music non mainstream music. it's simply priceless. i'm the bassist of Dripht and I can assure you that your work is very appreciated by all the bands/artists. By releasing a single we mean we give the go ahead to radio stations to play it, if they want of course. however, true, i doubt this has any meaning at all nowadays, since radio stations still play the song if they like it, even if you don't tell them to, which is also pretty cool.

i think people need to be encouraged to buy local artists' records though. the internet is a very useful and beneficial tool for music in my opinion, but it can be unsustainable for small bands like us, who have to fork out hundreds of money to pay the garage rent, instruments, equipment, recordings, dubbing, bla bla bla. Where are the local record stores? Are they giving enough space on their shelves to support the local scene? I seriously doubt it. I'm actually sure they don't

Regarding "dance music...." My friend is also a proud owner of the original 7" and we always play it loud whenever I go to his house. we just love the raw sound. there's also an interesting dub version on side B. 

12:27 PM, January 24, 2006
Anonymous fallakka said...

it really annoys me when they bring on the news that ira losco or fabrizio fagniello and other such "artists" are shown on the news because of something they managed to do and bands are not. they never mention what success bands like beheaded, forsaken, martyrium etc made abroad.

I really like supporting local bands (going to their gig, buying a t-shirt, buying their album etc). the thing is that almost the only place you can buy a t-shirt or album of the band is at the gig itself and as i'm from gozo i dont get that much chance to go.

thanks for supporting local bands (i'm not in a band although i play guitar but i still like it when people do). I really wish that people start appreciating real local music more. 

9:20 AM, February 03, 2006

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