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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Point of No Return

This week marks the first full year of regular podcasts from the MaltaMedia Online Network. Following a short test phase, in August 2006, we presented the world's first podcast series in Maltese. That series on 9/11 from a Maltese perspective is being reissued for the 5th anniversary, so I'll probably blog about it again at some point in the coming days. (Now where did I hear that before?) I know I sometimes say that sort of thing and never get to it, but I promise to do my best this time.

I can't believe how significant blogging and podcasting have become in my life. Through my blog I continue to reconnect with people I haven't seen in many years and meet new ones I probably wouldn't have met otherwise. My podcasts have given my work in broadcasting a second life and the Mużika Mod Ieħor series provides me with just the thing I need to keep abreast of the alternative music scene in Malta.

This week's podcast is a little shorter than usual because I'm still very busy finishing my Franklin Furnace book and getting ready for a couple of DRM-related gigs in London, among other things. It opens with Faceless, a track from Norm Rejection's 0002 album from 2000. I played this band's excellent Malta Not For Sale on my podcast last January, but I thought I'd give them another spin since they've just launched a MySpace page, even though the band doesn't really play together anymore. Good move!

In playing this track I thought it apt to plug MMON's recently launched new cartoon by Martin Attard. This is because Martin's cartoon series is called Faceless. This is his first experience doing a cartoon series and in the few weeks that it's been around Faceless is already showing great potential. I, for one, am looking forward to more with every week that passes.

Back on MySpace I recently came across a new duo called Chasing Pandora. They have a very interesting sound, which I've never heard attempted by Maltese musicians before. Actually I think Melissa and Keith are from Gozo. Anyway, they have two demo tracks from their upcoming EP on their MySpace page and I must say that I'm really looking forward to hearing more from Chasing Pandora. You can hear Divine on this week's podcast. Its that kind of song that grows on you with every listen. Haunting and totally addictive. More please!

I'm always touched when podcast listeners or blog readers get in touch with me about whatever it is they're up to. One recent communication came from Andrew Micallef who plays guitar with the Żiżża Ensemble. I had heard of them through Chalee's Soapbox (that's a blog from Charles Cassar who now plays bass with Fire, who have just released their debut CD) and a couple of other sources. Andrew was not only kind enough to send me a recording of the Żiżża Ensemble called Bonnie & Clyde, which you can hear on this week's podcast, but also wrote a very flattering blog entry about my podcasts on his MySpace pages. While this Żiżża made at Tone Studios in B'Kara in 2004 is quite good, I get the impression that they're even more entertaining live. Perhaps I say this because I like watching saxophonist Ruth Abela play live, as I did at The I-Skandal CD launch at Naasha's last May.

Speaking of The I-Skandal, I recently wondered what happened to Subculture, the punk band whose original line-up featured I-Skandal singer JP iż-Żgħiru, who is also the motor mind behind Reciprocal Records. [note to self: time to play another I-Skandal song on your podcast!] Subculture have a new line-up featuring Woody Aki on bass and singer Simone Nero, along with guitarist Ray il-Baħri and his old mate Ray il-Ħamiemu on drums, who replaces Steve Lombardo Attard. They will be releasing their second album, entitled A Life of Disappointment at Rebelfest on 1 September. The two Rays' other band X-Vandals, will also be playing at this Rebelfest at the Buskett Roadhouse, where they will launch their debut CD. More about that in next week's podcast, which will most probably feature a track by X-Vandals. Meanwhile, Ħamiemu is also involved in a Beatles tribute band with Paletti, and brother Mark and Aldo Spiteri. They will be playing a gig at San Pawl Hotel, St. Pauls's Bay (open air terrace) on Thursday, 7th September. Just goes to show that there's really something for everyone in the Maltese music scene. Right?

The RSS feed for the Mużika Mod Ieħor 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 Arcibald said...

Żiżża bit-tikek jew Zizza? Btw tal-genn - ifakkruni hafna fil-Jethro Tull, li huwa wiehed mill-gruppi favoriti.

Keep it up ppl. 

12:12 AM, August 27, 2006
Blogger Toni Sant said...

Skond ma qalli Andrew fl-email tiegħu meta għaddieli r-recording, Żiżża -- bit-tikek. Issa jista' jkun li m'hemmx tikek apparti fuq l-ewwel ittra, imma l-ewwel ittra żgur li bit-tikek milli qalli Andrew. 

11:24 AM, August 27, 2006
Anonymous Andrew Micallef said...

Zizza bi tikkek ehe :). Grazzi mill-gdid Toni talli daqqejtha. Ridt nigbed l-attenzjoni u nghid li jien m'ghadnix ma Zizza Ensemble, hemm Steve d-delli imma maghhom. Biss f'dak ir-recording jien kont qed indoqq il-kitarra.

Grazzi u Prosit :)


2:26 PM, August 27, 2006
Blogger Mikes_Beat said...

Cheers for including Norm Rejection's 'Faceless' in your podcast.. Re. your comment that we don't play anymore, I am pleased to annouce that we are reforming again! Hopefully you'll see us live sometime next year.


4:04 PM, August 27, 2006
Blogger Toni Sant said...

That's great news Mike! I'm sure Norm Rejection will sound better than ever next year.

Remember heard it hear first. ;) Or did you? 

4:36 PM, August 27, 2006
Blogger Chalee said...

Formalities first; Thank you Tony for including us in your podcast series, it is only thanks to people like you who show an interest in less maisntream music that bands like us can flourish.

With regards to 'Bonnie and Clyde', I would just like to add that while it is a tune we're very fond of, it is not perfectly representative of our current musical direction. We have a somewhat less jazzy sound now, and Bonnie itself has been to a large extent, re-written. I will provide more up to date samples of our work as soon as finances allow us to pay a visit to a studio.

With regards to 'Zizza' I will admit that I am perfectly ignorant of its spelling, but perhaps your everloyal readership will enjoy being enlightened with respect to its etymology; Zizza is in fact a much abused form of the word 'Tse Tse'. Zizza, never the most fair skinned of little boys, earned himself the nickname 'Tse Tse Fly' during his secondary school years, but 'Tse' being devilishly difficult for teenage tongues to twist around, 'Zizza' came into being. You have been edified.


10:50 AM, August 29, 2006
Anonymous andrew micallef said...

aw Chal, kollox sew hawn :). isma missek zidt li issa Zizza Ensemble qeghdin MySpace ukoll. Idhlu hawn l-ahwa:

Andrew aka d-drinu :) 

7:15 PM, August 29, 2006

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