They make reggae in Iowa?

I’ve been learning some interesting things about Malta this week. Yes, I’ve learned about demographics and language and whatever, but I am thinking of more important things here, namely the musical culture. I have learned, for instance, that there seems to be a surprisingly high concentration of reggae and ska acts on this island. (If any of our Maltese friends can explain this to me, I would love to know why. Geographically, Malta is a wee bit removed from Jamaica. Then again, I recently learned that someone I know is a particular fan of a reggae band from Iowa, so I suppose it can come from anywhere. Also, props to The Riffs for a legitimately entertaining ska version of “Smoke on the Water”.) I’ve got one of those reggae influenced Maltese acts for you in this post, as well as one which is less than reggae-ish.

Peklectrick is a project featuring Patrick Galea (formerly guitarist for Dripht, a band which also included two current members of nosnow/noalps [there’s that pesky incestuous streak again]). It would be unfair to call this straight-up reggae. Yes, the reggae-style guitar upstroke patterns are there, but add a bit of overdrive to soften the attack and Peklectrick begins to lean more in the direction of ska. And with Patrick’s half sung, half spoken vocals, he demonstrates once again something we have been telling you all week: the music of Malta deserves your attention. Check out “Reclaiming Space” on his MySpace page.

Danjeli is not a reggae act. Really, it’s nothing like reggae, or like anything else we’ve featured on the Indie Handbook thus far. Danjeli is Daniel Schembri. With a list of influences ranging from Aphex Twin and Autechre to Luciano Berio and Iannis Xenakis, one thing is clear: Danjeli is a DJ after my own heart. His MySpace lists IDM among the genres attributable to Danjeli’s music. That is not to say it is nearly as cerebral as Autechre or, say, Venetian Snares but there is still plenty to love. Take “Festin Unfinished”, for example. At first glance, it’s got a music boxy, children at play sort of sound. But as the drums kick in and the music builds something of a Yann Tiersen feel begins to emerge (think Amelie). If you only listen to one of his tracks, listen to this one.