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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Someday Soon

The last few days have been quite a whirlwind in terms of travel. Following the weekend in Cardiff Bay, I went to the Isle of Man to deliver a public lecture on Virtual Worlds, hosted by the British Computer Society (BCS). I was touched by the warm welcome I received during the two days I was there, and I look forward to returning for another visit sometime in the future.

After I had returned to Scarborough mid-week, it was time to head out to Leeds for an editorial board meeting for the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media; I'm the book reviews editor for that publication. After the meeting, we decided to visit the Royal Armouries (again), mostly because it is such an excellently designed museum. I'm not too keen on weapons, but the museum layout and the display arrangements are among the best I've ever seen at any museum. Well worth a return visit.

Now, finally, I'm shaking off the road and getting ready for a productive summer, which should lead into an even more productive autumn when I'll be working on finishing my Franklin Furnace book. I've now made peace with the fact that to produce the level of work that I aim for, I first need to clear the decks from all the smaller tasks I set myself up for from time to time.

As ever, my weekly Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast remains the noticeable exception to this. I may have a short break for a week or so later this summer, but there are some pretty remarkable developments afoot with the podcast too, so we'll see how it goes. Meanwhile this week it's time for the 172nd edition of the MMI podcast. Somehow, I've managed to fit five tracks into it, a couple of which are even by performers I hadn't featured on previously.

The Rifffs are currently promoting a track from their cracking debut CD album Moonstomp this summer. Champagne Charlie's Ghost is a delightful ska-tinged song that has this venerable band playing in peak form. I can see how and why they've picked this as the track to push this summer. They've just come off touring in Germany and the Czech Rep. but Maltese fans can catch them at one of three upcoming dates in Ta' Qali: 26 July (this weekend), 15 August (supporting Ali Campbell from UB40) and 12 September (with the national orchestra). The comeback is over: The Rifffs are back where they belong at the forefront of the Maltese pop music scene.

Two instrumental tracks featuring guitarists up next. Both musicians are new inclusions on the podcast but neither one of them is new to the local music scene. Andrew Zammit has been playing guitar since the early 1980s. Some Tigne old-timers may remember him as the lead guitarist with metal band Overdose. Not too long after that he set up his own professional recording studio in Birkirkara: Tone Studios. Paul Giordimania recorded his new double album Letter to Bernie (dedicated to the late bassist Bernard Scerri) at Tone. Andrew has now also released a couple of tracks showcasing his guitar playing. You can hear them all on his recently launched MySpace page. I've picked one called When All Is Gone.

The other guitar instrumental comes from Stefano Farrugia. Most recently his music has been heard in many Maltese households as the main theme and soundtrack for the drama series Pupi, earning him a nomination for Best Score at the 2007 Malta Television Awards. Maltese metalheads may also remember him playing guitar about ten years ago with the now defunct band Angel Dust, which has now metamorphosed into 26 Other Worlds. Rumble is an excellent track to hear not only his guitar playing skills but also his abilities as a composer.

Any regular listener of the MMI podcast knows that I am always keen to include material that uses the Maltese language in one way or another. No surprise then in having the UK-based Ethnamorte return to the podcast again, this time with a tune called Belt is Seħer featuring guitarist Malcolm Callus, who is better known as Gool. I should probably also include one of this non-Ethnamorte recordings someday soon.

The final track I've managed to squeeze into the podcast this week's is Closest Thing To Love (Because of You) the new single from Chris Enriquez. This is a follow up to An Angel In The Making, which I originally played last February. Back then I also commented that I firmly believed this was not the last we'd heard from Chris Enriquez. He's back within just a few months and judging from this new song I have a feeling there's plenty more to come from him.

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 follow each new episode through the MMI Podcast: Facebook Fan Page or on MySpace. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here or listen to the podcast on the player right below this text.

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