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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stuck On You has been offline for the last couple of days because the hosting company forgot to move the files that make up this website during server migration. Other websites I own or manage where involved in this server migration but they seem to be working fine. Now that you're reading this, the situation has been restored.

I'm in the process of switching the whole site to WordPress. I had already started exploring this before the mess-up with the hosting company. I'm seriously tempted to switch hosting companies, but I've been with this one for more than a decade so I'm used to their ups and downs. Truth be told, I can't imagine any hosting company can offer a much better service than the one I have; even if some of the things that bug me get ironed out I have a feeling that I would have to deal with others. There's a second hosting company I've worked with the last couple of years, so what I'm saying here is based on long practical experience of these things.

Anyway, it seems that hosting services, WordPress, and website structures are going to dominate my summer. I'm about to attend WordCamp in Cardiff next weekend to immerse myself into the WordPress community, which is incredibly strong and empowering. I'm hoping that it's also very supportive of people like me. I'll let you know how it goes by this time next week, when I should be right in the middle of it all.

Next week's Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast will somehow related to this year's Malta Jazz Festival, taking place 16-18 July. This week's MMI podcast, which is the 170th in the series, should appeal greatly to rock fans. The Maltese metal scene has evolved interestingly in the last couple of decades and I'm very pleased to note that the genre has developed in such a way that it is no longer the default mode for guitar bands.

To warm up our ears to take in this week's selections, I've picked a track from an American CD called Vicious Country by Poppa Chubby and his wife Galea. I was very impressed to see huge posters for Poppa Chubby in Moscow on my recent visit to that city. Bad housewife Galea has been featured on the MMI series a couple of other times, highlighting her Maltese ancestry. Their version of Gene Vincent's Race With the Devil is an excellent updating of this rockabilly classic.

Facebook users may have seen a post of my wall by Cedric Debono a few days ago announcing a new recording by metal band Item. Give Up The Ghost has the trio performing in top form. If you'd like to see them live, you can catch them along with Knockturn Alley on Friday 17 July at the Liquid Club in Tal-Ballal. Item started recording material for a new album last month and I'm sure their fans in Malta and beyond will be looking forward to this release.

X-Vandals is yet another Maltese metal band that released an album about three or four weeks ago. I haven't heard the rest of the album (because I haven't managed to get my hands on a copy yet) but from the couple of tracks I've heard on their MySpace page, it's safe to say that Breach the Silence has these veteran rockers at the top of their game. Uprising plays up their activist side and it's an essential part of what endears them to their loyal fans. Thy Legion supported X-Vandals during their 13 June album launch, so I thought it would be most appropriate to close this week's podcast by playing their most recent recording, which is called Sadism Through Holy Intervention.

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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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Beyond Here Lies Nothin’

Twitter has taken over as my social networking utility of choice. Facebook has been reduced to an alternative email/messaging system and a must-visit for playing Knighthood. MySpace is still alive and essential source for new music. This blog has now entered its 6th year of existence. And that's the current state of things with me and Web 2.0, as we used to call it.

The weekly Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast is part of this personal mediascape I've carved out for myself. This week I've even attempted to do something that I don't remember ever doing before: I've somehow managed to squeeze 6 tracks by 6 different acts in the 159th MMI podcast without making it longer than the usual approximate time of 20 minutes.

As I was preparing the music for the podcast I received an email announcing the release of an album called Manwel T Meets Mind's Eye Dub at the Temple of Dub from the newly establish net-label Dubkey Records. The whole album is available as a free download from Dubkey's website, which was established to spread free roots reggae & dub music. Manwel Tabone and David Magro have appeared in several previous editions of the MMI podcast with some of the tracks that appear on this first Dubkey album, but I've selected Back To My Dub (MANWEL T mix two) because it's a very pleasant way to open up the show.

Dolls for Idols is a new band surfacing from the Maltese islands. Their debut tracks are well produced and augur for a stellar rise on the local scene. They gigging too, of course, but apparently not extensively enough. Any club owners or event organizers reading this should really check out this band because they sound as good as any other I've heard within their genre in Malta in recent years. The track I've picked for my podcast is called Through the City at Night.

Another new album comes from one of Malta's best underground electronica producers. Melchior Sultana's latest release published by the Cold Busted label is called Recognize the Real. He doesn't keep his personal website updated but at least there are several recent updates on his MySpace page. From the 18 tracks on this new CD I've selected Mel's collaboration with guitarist Jonathan Ellul entitled Man Flight Passion. Sultana's music is quite broad-ranging and I look forward to his releases. So you can be sure I'll be playing something else from this Maltese musician in an upcoming edition of the MMI podcast. I'll probably also play another track by Jonathan, from his own unrelated (i.e. without Melchior) tracks on MySpace.

A couple of podcasts ago I introduced you to a Maltese guitarist who seems to split his time between Sydney and Oslo. Mark Axiak is also involved in a duo called Lappalie with singer Milena. I promised I'd come back to this material, so I've picked a haunting song called Sydneymoon to keep my promise. The wealth of Malta-related material of MySpace is simply staggering.

Brussels-based Kurt Buttigieg is a well known name in the Maltese blogosphere. In fact, he was one of its pioneers under the pseudonym Gybexi. I met him in person when I visited Brussels a couple of years ago and never expected to come across the work he sonic work he has recently published under the name Skullcakes. I must admit that I love the sort of aural explorations that Skullcakes presents through the related MySpace page. You can also hear the track called Neon Wolf Amongst Them as the fifth selection on this week's podcast.

The last song that I managed to include in this week's podcast comes from Laura Zarb Cousin. This teenage singer told me in an email she wrote me a few days ago that she has just collaborated with composer-producer Toby on a song called You Bruise Me. Laura has a good voice for the type of genre she has picked and it appears that Toby has managed to play up her best qualities too. Laura has a personal page on Facebook but no MySpace presence I could find. Toby hasn't included this song on his own MySpace page, so I feel safe in saying that htis may very well be either a preview of a soon-to-be-released single or just another one of those best kept secrets the Maltese music scene coughs up from time to time. I guess only time can really tell.

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. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

No More Heroes

The expression "jumped the shark" means absolutely nothing to most people who are not American and even less to anyone who is not a Happy Days fan. In our household we have one of each, so "jumped the shark" features in conversations from time to time. It popped up this week as a definite reaction to the hitherto brilliant TV series Heroes.

It certainly feels like MySpace may have jumped the shark, but I'm not too sure about that: thanks to all you sent me their views on this following my request for comments over the last couple of weeks.

Sharks and jumping are things I hope my weekly Mużika Mod Ieħor is very far away from being associated with simultaneously. I have a trick up my sleeve to ensure this. More about that next week. Until then, I'm pretty confident that the contents of this week's MMI podcast will please most of my regular listeners.

Carrie Haber has just released her debut EP, It's Complex. From it I picked Those 3 Words to open this week's podcast. It's followed by a track from another new release. Violinist Simon Vella - who has appeared on previous editions of the MMI podcast with Sixth Simphoni - will be launching a CD album called Unspoken: Sounds from Within with two gigs at St James Cavalier on 4 and 5 April. The name of the tune I've chosen to include in this week's podcast is called Whatever. As I'll be in Malta during the first week of April, I'm looking forward to attending one of these two gigs in Valletta. It's always good to see a classically trained musician dare to be different.

Following up from last week's inclusion of music by Mario Sammut, where I lamented of his disappearance from MySpace, I'm happy to report that this young Maltese musician is still as prolific as ever under a new stage name: Cygna. I've liked Mario's music from the first day I heard it, so I'll take any excuse to play something else from him on my podcast. This week you can hear one of Cygna's exotically named tracks called Kuintaar. I still haven't met anyone who doesn't like this type of music.

To prove that MySpace is possibly still as alive and kicking as ever, Kurt Chircop contacted me via my page on that network to tell me about his new recordings. He is better known as l urk and the track I've chosen from him to close this week's podcast is called didj.

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. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's Alright

I'm still thinking about whether MySpace has lost the allure it greatly enjoyed over the last couple of years. Following last week's initial thoughts, this week's Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast addresses this issue directly. I'm now asking my podcast listeners, blog readers, and MySpace users at large to chime in with your point of view on all this. To put things into a broader perspective, this comes along the eye-watering rise of Facebook, and the resurgence of Twitter as an alternative social networking utility.

To open the 155th MMI podcast I chose to dip back to Pinkpube's first release for 2009: Tumult & Squawk. There are several good tracks in this compilation album and this time I've picked Hadrian Mansueto's Un Run. If you'd like to sample what the Maltese electronica scene has to offer you should really download Tumult & Squawk from the Pinkpube website; it's a free download.

In trawling MySpace for new material to play on my weekly podcast, I discovered that Mario Sammut's page has disappeared from that network. I haven't contacted him to ask why, yet. Perhaps this is because through the relaunched Earth Garden website, I discovered that he is still quite active. The new Earth Garden site has a soundtrack provided by Mario Sammut and you can also hear it as the second selection on week's podcast.

I'm not sure that MySpace has lost it's original popularity. I say this because I continue to discover new Maltese acts (or musicians with a strong Malta connection) through it quite regularly. The remaining tracks on this week's podcast are precisely examples of this sort of thing.

Macropode and Clement are two electronica names that I had never seen before this year. Macropode's style is quite minimalist and experimental while Clement tends to be quite industrial and hardcore techno. The tracks I've selected are called Convengence and 909 Invasion respectively. On a purely geeky note I'd like to point out that Clement's tracks look like a stunning spirograph creation as wave files in the Audacity GUI, which I use to produce all my podcasts.

To bring the 155th MMI podcast to a close I've picked a track called Mersychippi Blues by a defunct Liverpool duo called Mekon Delta. They have performed in Malta, at the Plum Tree Pub in Qawra and you hear (and see) part of that gig on their MySpace page. Ron Cheevers has been living in Malta for the last couple of years or so. When I contacted him recently to ask about his connection with Malta, he told me that moved there after years of cherishing his father's WWII stories. You can probably still catch him at one of his solo gigs in Qawra. If you want to make his day, just ask him to play you some delta blues.

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. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Shining Light

This afternoon I read an interesting article about the declining popularity of MySpace. It appears that MySpace is loosing out to Facebook. From my own perspective, the two networks serve a very different purpose. I've always seen MySpace as a music network, even if it has always been used for other types of social networking too. At the same time, Facebook has now gone beyond critical mass in terms of its utility as a social network based mostly on "friendship". I've rediscovered Twitter as a more rewarding environment for my personal social networking.

After reading the article about MySpace I wonder if the many Maltese singers and musicians who use MySpace to disseminate their music feel that this popular network has lost the allure it had just a couple of years ago. If you use MySpace please contact me and let me know. I ask this mostly because MySpace remains a prominent source discovery of new materials for my weekly Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast.

I need feedback on MySpace use also because only one track on this week's podcast comes directly from MySpace. The first track is from NV's CD album Envy, which was released on 28 February at the Poxx Bar in Paceville. The album features the seven singles NV released over the last three years along with a couple of new songs. Fountain of Life is one of these previously unheard tracks and it opens the 154th MMI podcast.

Sylvan Borg returns with a new song called Mouse by Day (Hero by Night). I'm always more than happy to include material from this underrated singer-songwriter. He is not a mainstream musician and this is probably why most Maltese radio stations don't include his stuff on their playlists the way they do with many other pop rock local acts. I would argue that Sylvan Borg's music is an acquired taste, which no connoisseur of the alternative Maltese music scene can ignore.

Earlier I mentioned that only one track on this week's podcast comes from MySpace. I was referring to Joe Mizzi's The Zero Chain 2009, which is possibly a remix or a new arrangement of the title track from his 2007 album by the same name. I'm not sure about this since I've never laid my hands on the said album. Note to self: get in touch with Joe Mizzi and make sure his entire discography is a matter of common knowledge for future MMI podcasts.

Although not particularly music-friendly, Facebook has become another excellent source for new music to include on my weekly podcast. It was through Facebook that I heard of the band ReBorn. I was then directed to their MySpace page, where I heard three songs they've uploaded there. Chew Me Plasticine is the one I like best out of these tracks, so I've picked it as the closing selection for this week's podcast.

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. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Space Oddity

MySpace have just changed the interface for the music player that appears on pages where musicians, bands and singers upload their tracks for all to hear. This in itself may appear to be just another attempt to change the way MySpace looks, but there's some bad news in it for people like me. The previous MySpace music player displayed the year for the track you were listening to (if it was entered by the artist) as well as the name of the album of compilation it came from; not to mention better/more space for the accompanying artwork.

I'm hoping (against all odds, probably!) that this will either be rectified soon or better still that artists will start blogging more about the tracks they upload or at least somehow give their listeners further information about the tracks they want us to listen to on their MySpace pages.

I'm not saying all this because I'm turning into a grumpy old man. Well, at least not just yet. The missing information is really useful to people like me who put together podcasts with material that's available mostly only through MySpace. Aside from my podcast, I also have an academic/archival interest in the extra data that comes with tracks uploaded to MySpace.

Thankfully, over the years I've also developed a two-way conversation with many of the artists I feature on my podcast. So, in many cases, the additional info on MySpace is not really something I look out for. Still, there are several acts that I either know very little about or only know what I know about them through MySpace. This became even more obvious to me a couple of days ago, when I started putting together the list of nominations for the 2008 MMI Listeners' Picks.

This week's Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast features a number of new addition to that list of nominations, which will remain a work in progress until the public voting starts via Facebook in November. Explicit return with a new single called Sunny Again. Stephanie Chetcuti's voice reminds me why I like most, if not all, Maltese rock bands fronted by women. It is so refreshing to hear a Maltese female voice singing to an accompaniment that's anything other than the dime a dozen studio programming productions that grace the so called pop scene. I believe that more people in Malta would like alternative music if they heard it more frequently on radio and TV.

Another thing I'd like to hear more of are Maltese bands or singers doing covers of Maltese songs, even if not in Maltese. Dripht did it with The Rifffs' Dance Music for Depression, but it is far from common. 8 Ugly are preparing to release their debut album entitled Sleeper. Happily it includes a cover of Call Me, originally written by Ronnie Busuttil for his band The Refugees. Comparisons are odious, but I have a feeling that listeners will like 8 Ugly's version, particularly as they have worked closely with Ronnie and others associated with The Refugees.

New releases will keep appearing until voting on the MMI 2008 poll starts, and even beyond. We'll try and catch as many as we can to avoid the same sort of 'oops, too late' disappointments from previous years. Music Street Productions are releasing a CD called Purely Pop Compilation on the 7th of October. I don't have a copy of this CD yet but it features a stellar cast from the local scene: Thea Saliba, Jewls Verse, and Amelia, among others. Those others include a delightful duo I'd never heard of before called Velvet Rain. I like their A Song for You very much, so I've decided to play it half way through the 133rd edition of the MMI podcast.

Speaking of goings-on in Malta, Mancunian band Autokat will be playing live at the Sky Club in Paceville this Friday the 3rd, along with local indie delicacies Areola Treat and Airport Impressions. This English band is attracting quite a bit of attention not just because their music is quite good - as you can hear for yourself from the single Innocence - but also and especially because their drummer is Mike Joyce, who played with The Smiths back in the 1980s. As foreign gigs in Malta go, this is one not to be missed. Sadly I'm stuck in Scarborough this week, even though I've had two solid invitations to come to Malta in recent days. If they're playing one of the local clubs around Manchester I may even catch them on one of my upcoming trips to Salford.

Apparently I'm not the only one who had a hard time with the new MySpace music player. Aaron Benjamin and I have been emailing to and fro about his new song after I told him I couldn't access it on his MySpace page. I'm sure he'll sort it out soon enough, but meanwhile you can hear Break the Silence as the closing track on this week's podcast. Needless to say, this too makes it to the nominations list for the 2008 MMI Listeners' Picks.

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. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

From the Morning

My weekly Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast is a personal time piece and calendar. It marks the weekend for me. It also marks the time of the year, especially towards the last few months of the year when I start preparing a list of nominations for the Listeners' Picks. The list is almost finalized and it will be released within the next week or two.

This week's podcast in the 91st in the series. It opens with Song for You from new band Uncharted. The recording captures some of the raw qualities this band undoubtedly exhibits during their gigs. Apparently it was recorded by former band member Cyprian Cassar, who was recently featured on MMI within his DJ duo Tanishia and their Everything But the Girl remix. Incidentally, there's also a YouTube video to go with this debut release from Uncharted.

The rest of the acts that I've picked for this week's podcast have already appeared on previous editions in this series. The first is Brian James who recently released an EP on the Belgian label Aesthetik Records entitled Micromekanik. From it I've picked a track called Flambe in Paradise and the EP goes onto the list of nominations for the 2007 MMI Listeners' Picks.

The next track is from The Vagabond Project, Gavin Borg's current incarnation, which first appeared on the MMI series just a few months ago. What merits a reappearance so soon is the fact that Shine is now available as a download for pay on Facebook. To my knowledge, this is the first Maltese download you can buy through Facebook. If there are others, especially predating this one, please let me know. Otherwise, take this as one for the Maltese record books thanks to Gavin.

MySpace continues to be the main source for new music on the MMI podcast series. A few days ago I was very pleased to receive a friend request for a new page from Hagen Ebejer, whose work I had previously included on MMI. He appears to be in the process of releasing a new collection of ambient tracks under the title Endless Stories. There's nothing official from Pinkpube about this yet, so I'm not sure whether it'll be a Pinkpube release. In any case, as MySpace tracks they're still eligible for a Listeners' Picks nomination. As so it shall be.

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. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hold On

I've finally managed to find the time to blog a couple of times during the past week about things that are not directly related to my weekly podcast. Oddly enough this summer I don't think I'll be giving my weekly podcast a break, like I did last year, but things could change over the coming week. So this blog entry will simply cherish the fact that we can enjoy the 76th edition of the Mużika Mod Ieħor series.

One band I've been looking forward to include on my podcast for quite a while is The Areola Treat. I missed a gig they gave at Naasha's during my last visit to Malta but at least they're finally offering us some of their recordings on their MySpace page. The one I've selected to open the podcast with is a called Disco Party. From these recordings I get the feeling that The Areola Treat is a joyful live band, so I look forward to the next opportunity for catching one of their shows.

Facebook is one Web 2.0 community I never thought I'd warm up to as much as I have. It's very different from MySpace but I'm glad to see some music related activity on this social network. jon lukas and I exchanged messages this week and he is offering a song called Mysty as a free download through his Facebook page. Collaborating with his son Ashley as WOODENMAN, Jon was among the very first Maltese people to explore the power of the internet as new way to handle music distribution.

Operating on a different circle, David Magro is another early Maltese adopter of the internet as a music distribution network. You probably know him as Mind's Eye Dub. Reggae DJ turned remixer Manwel Tabone alerted me to MED's new release in an Instant Message this week. The track is called Trod On Dub and it's always a pleasure to include new material from MED on the podcast.

Through my expeditions on YouTube I discovered that Malta's XFM is collaborating on a new talent contest with The Alley called Virtual Rock Star. I'm not sure why they've selected this name for this contest because I haven't been able to find much information on the Web about it. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that every band or singer has sent in a video for the contest, which XFM has uploaded to YouTube. In any case, I've chosen to feature two of these acts on this week's Mużika Mod Ieħor.

The first is called ReActor and their song is called Dismissed. Apparently this band has been around for a couple of years but I've only ever heard of them this month. Aside from their video on YouTube they have a MySpace page, which includes a brief history of the band and some details about the current line-up. The other band is called Cynic Pictures. They contacted me via my MySpace page and that prompted me to include their song Aim High as the closing selection for this week's podcast. More than anything else I find the song title most titillating as this was the motto of St Elizabeth Primary School in Sliema, which I attended in the early 1970s.

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.

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Friday, July 27, 2007


I've been playing about on the Simpsonize Me website. There's also a Simpsons avatar maker on the official Simpsons' movie website. Here's what I've come up with so far. Apparently, this is what I'd look like if I were to appear in The Simpsons.

I'm now also using a slightly modified close-up of my 2-D Simpsonized avatar on my Facebook and MySpace profiles.

In case you haven't noticed, summer's here...and so is The Simpsons Movie.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Soul Kitchen

The beginning of June is always a time to celebrate the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Since this year happens to be the 40th anniversary, there's more of a public to do about it than most other years. Although I was too young to appreciate that monumental moment in music when it was originally released, Sgt. Pepper has played a very significant part in my life since my early teenage years. This should be less surprising than if I said that The Doors debut album (also released 40 years ago) was as important...even if in some ways it certainly is.

While it's safe to say that my childhood was saturated with religious indoctrination, I was never a member of the Society of Christian Doctrine (better known as M.U.S.E.U.M.). I bring this up since this weekend, the society's founder Dun Ġorg Preca is being raised to sainthood by the Vatican. For most Maltese people this is more significant that any Beatles anniversary.

I suppose it's all about continuity in the end, even if all things must pass some day. My soul salad ends here for today but I must confess that continuity was on my mind throughout most of this week's podcast. This is clearly evident in the opening track. Following from last week's podcast, where I ended with Corazon's winning song from this year's L-Għanja tal-Poplu, I thought it would be good to play something from the man who recommended I feature that song on my series.

Antonio Olivari has recorded a remarkable album called Dark Ages. I believe this album has not been released but you can hear a few tracks from it through his MySpace page and one called Renaissance on the 69th edition of my podcast. This one evokes Ennio Morricone to my ears, even if it's not so overtly derivative. Quite nice, anyway.

Instrumental music dominates this edition of my podcast, even if it's not an exclusively lyric free episode. Brian Vassallo is an instrumentalist whose work I'm including on this series of the first time. He has a considerable amount of recordings available, some of which can be accessed through his MySpace page too. I selected Are We Alone?, which I feel goes quite well after Olivari's track.

I've mentioned MySpace several times in relation to Mużika Mod Ieħor and today I'm even willing to admit that it is how the series keeps going regularly after about 18 months of weekly podcasts.

ON the last podcast in 2006 I played a new song by Ozzylino and said that he seemed to be working on a new album. That album is now complete and it will be released on 07/07/07. He has also adopted a new stagename: Jewls Verse. I've selected Say You Want Me as a pre-release track to include on my podcast but I may even play another cut from this album once it is released. It's bound to be one of the best Maltese albums released in 2007.

Back to an instrumental track to close off this week's appointment. Several Maltese musicians are now active abroad and few are more involved in their own scene than South Central, a duo of electro-remixers based in the south of England. This month they're playing gigs in London and going up as far north as Scotland and close to me as Hull and Doncaster. Crystaling is one of the tracks they've released this year. It's also where I'll leave things until next week's podcast.

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.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Boy In The Bubble

I've been catching up with life on Web 2.0. Twitter is on the blink but my YouTube account is alive and well. I'm now also on Facebook. MySpace remains a constant presence, of course, while Second Life creeps up to the top of my daily agenda. Since it's not on the web but on the broader internet, SL is not part of Web 2.0 but it still involves collaboration and social networking - two of the most essential elements in any Web 2.0 experience.

This morning I also realized that I didn't mention anything on my blog about the Web 2.0 article I wrote for May's issue of PINK, the monthly magazine from The Times of Malta, edited by Ariande Massa. This is possibly because I've been absorbed in all sorts of other things but most probably because PINK is not available online. Maybe I should just upload it myself. [check back later if you're interested in this...]

The 68th edition of my weekly Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast
may not seem like an obvious part of my Web 2.0 activities but it more ways than one. MySpace plays a crucial part in the selection of the tracks I include from week to week. Thomas Hedley's new song Just Your Picture On My Mind would not have come to my attention if it wasn't for MySpace. I said something similar the first time I included a song by Hedley on my podcast.

Just when I thought that the Eurovision Song Contest was over and done with for this year, two things crossed by desktop reminding me that I can't really get away from it just yet. The first of these is the Eurovirtual Song Contest currently accepting votes on Paris Link. This is not the first European virtual song contest, even if it is the first edition of this particular one. The Heavy Metal Eurovision is most amusing and I've featured it on my podcast back when Maltese bands still took part in it.

Malta's entry on the Eurovirtual Song Contest is Carrie with Flooded Roads. You can vote here. She is currently leading the pack with more than 590 votes. I really wonder how Carrie would have fared at this year's Eurovision with this song. I'm sure that someone somewhere would have written that it's not a typical Eurovision song, and indeed this is probably why it's doing so well on the Eurovirtual song contest.

Back to MySpace before I move on to the second Eurovision incident I mentioned earlier. Vince Bongailas is someone I remember clearly from a chance encounter at Bighi about 10 years ago when he was recording some songs with Kenneth Mizzi. Vince is also known to many as one of the best Maltese boxers of all time. He has now resurfaced on my radar as Ailas via MySpace. I've included a song called My 36 out of the tracks you can currently hear on his MySpace page. Vince is a very interesting character and I'm glad I'm able to bring the sound of Ailas to my podcast listeners.

Commenting on a recent blog entry, Antonio Olivari (formerly known as the blogger Arcibald) pointed out that in my Eurovision haze I failed to give any attention to the 32nd edition of the YTC festival L-Għanja tal-Poplu. I actually have a lot to say about this song contest but I'll save it for another day (or year) and simply do what Antonio suggested and play the 2007 winning song. Hawn Jien by Corazon Mizzi is quite an unusual song. Corazon has a lovely voice and the song she has written is unlike any I would ever expect at the Eurovision.

I hope that this is indeed the last I hear or write about the Eurovision for a while. Even my good friend Immanuel Mifsud is still mentioning it on his blog, which has now relocated to WordPress, so perhaps this is just another wish that will come to naught. We Maltese really do give more attention to this contest than we should. This is why I'm so interested in it. This is why I cannot ignore it. Why are so many Maltese people obsessed with this event? And what does it really say about Malta as a nation?

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.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007


Several weeks ago, while browsing on MySpace, I came across a Maltese musician I had never heard of before: Cordin Sky. That's the name he uses for his solo recording project. Through his MySpace page I discovered that he is also involved in several other music projects, including several bands and a small independent record label called Hospital Home Records. His real name is Mario Cordina and he now lives in Szczecin, Poland. By virtue of his current location, he is now one of the ever-growing number of Maltese musicians based outside Malta.

This week's Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast features music from five recording acts with Hospital Home Records. Mario Cordina is involved in each of these projects in one way or another. The opening song comes from the Polish ska band Skambomambo, which is fronted by Mario singing in English. The song I've selected is called Made in Polska and, if nothing else, it highlights what a perfectly named country for this genre of music Poland really is.
Mario Cordina
Mario regularly infuses Maltese elements into his work with Hospital Home Records. One of the more prolific projects he is involved in is called Ambulanza. This Polish band's brand of raw funk sounds quite contemporary with just the right amount of retro grooves. Superstar is one of several songs from this band available on MySpace, and you can also hear it on this week's podcast.

Szczecin (pronounced shta-chin) is in the North West of Poland, close to the Baltic Sea. This makes it quite close to Germany, so it comes as no great surprise that Mario also collaborates with German musicians from Berlin and Bremen. This particular group records as Doctors Space Lab offering a celestially themed brand of electronica, which should go down well with all sorts of star-gazers. Listen to Moonride and you'll see what I'm on about.

This is not the first time that I've put together a whole podcast stringing together different songs from different acts connected by the same musician/s. One obvious example is the podcast about the genealogy of Xtruppaw. In this week's podcast, the common denominator is Mario Cordina, who is now based in Poland. Among the various projects he is involved with he is also the producer for a young Polish singer called Mila Maj. I believe that Mario brings a remarkable sensibility to Mila Maj's songs. Crystal is the one I've picked to play, but every other song I've heard from Mila Maj clearly bears Mario's mark.

It's probably most fitting to end this week's podcast by playing something from Cordin Sky, which is Mario Cordina's solo project. He clearly has other collaborators on Cordin Sky, but by his own admissions this is where and how he works out new ideas before they're unleashed into the wider Hospital Home Records family. If For the People is anything to go by, it's a good way to see how much of himself Mario Cordina is putting into his new-found musical career in Poland. I'm looking forward to hearing more new stuff from him and his collaborators over the coming months. Once you hear this podcast, I believe so will you.

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.

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