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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Summer of 69

A couple of weeks ago much was made of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and the first men to walk on the moon. This weekend, hundreds of Beatles fans gathered on the famous pedestrian crossing in Abbey Road to re-enact the iconic cover photo of the album with the same name, which was originally snapped 40 years ago to the day. And next weekend many aged hippies will be marking the 40th year since Woodstock.

I was an infant in the summer of 1969. I'm not one for nostalgia and yet I am moved to mark each of these events in my own way. The Apollo 11 anniversary took me to Second Life, where a 3D sim of the landing site was created with lunar module and all. Earlier today I watched Beatles fans and tourists annoying the hell out of motorists on Abbey Road through a webcam I discovered via Mashable. And I'm not sure what I'll be up to next weekend in relation to Woodstock. Luckily no one has thought to recreate the 1999 fiasco where all we really remember is the commercial exploitation of fans, which resulted in enough mayhem to make the Hell's Angels proud.

My old friend Alfie Fabri (and others) equate the summer of '69 (and Woodstock in particular) with the way we saw things in Malta about fifteen years later. Having lived through the 1980s as a teenager in Malta, I couldn't disagree more. I know what they really mean and it's all connected with the complex way popular culture in the Maltese islands has developed during our lifetime. Yet, I seriously doubt anyone will bother to cash out on the 25th Anniversary of MaltaSajf'84.

The local music scene has come a long way since those days. In many ways things are really better now. The one thing I really miss from back then is my physical youth. My cultural youth is rejuvenated every weekend through my weekly Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast. The 174th edition in the series brings in yet another opportunity to hear new music made in Malta.

Manwel T returns with a new album on Dubkey Records called Virtual Dub. He's giving the album away for free through the Dubkey website. You can also find other Dubkey releases there, including In the Temple of Dub, which has Manwel T collaborating with Mind's Eye Dub. This music is way cool. Reggae beats have been in Manwel Tabone's life for decades now, and it shows through his dubs and remixes. I've picked one called Thirsty Dub performed by HotDrop, and it's an excellent way to open the podcast.

London-based Fraser Gregory has maintained his Maltese connection on his upcoming debut album entitled A Garden At The Top Of The Tree, which was recorded at Temple Studios, produced by David Vella and mixed by Luuk Cox. The album should be released sometime soon but you can hear a track from it called There is a Forest right now. If I manage to get my hands on a copy of this new album I'll gladly play another track or two from it, especially if there of the same caliber as the song I've included as the second pick on this week's MMI podcast.

A few days ago I heard Lyndsay Pace's new single. It's called Addicted and shows this young singer at her best. It's quite rocky but not too rocky. To put it another way, this is the best thing I've heard from Lyndsay. She's quite good. I'd say that if she keeps on this track, she may truly end up making her mark on the local scene one day sooner or later.

From time to time I'm thrilled to discover new acts which fall neatly under the ambient and/or minimalist banner. Sonitus is the most recent of these finds. I have no idea who Sonitus really is. The only picture on the MySpace profile page is deliberately very blurry. I almost don't want to know Sonitus' true identity. The music speaks for itself after all. This genre is quite an acquired taste and I know that many regular MMI podcast listeners wouldn't necessarily pick it as one of their personal choices. There's no harm in trying something new every now and then. Sonitus' track is called Asphixetamol.

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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