We may have landed back in the UK a few weeks ago, but we’ve only just come back down to earth after our trip to the Reflex club night at Gianpula in Malta.  Here’s an Extended Remix of our review, which will appear in Issue 13, on sale 20 November…

Malta is to pop music what Ibiza is to dance. In other words, not a place that historic singles emanate out of, but a place where influences stream inwards to create a unique environment.

When Reflex celebrated its tenth anniversary with a guest appearance from Marc Almond, the club came firmly onto our radar and we decided to make the trip to find out more. What greeted us was a Club Tropicana-style environment, kicking off at 10pm and going right through until 4am. And in the open air, complete with canopies, palm trees and a waterfall and pool.  We’ve added a few phone shots, and a few official shots from the organisers to our Classic Pop Goes To Malta Facebook gallery, to give you a feel for it.

Reflex is bi-monthly so they’ve done countless events in the last ten years. All of which means the local audience know what to expect: video screens as well as music and a six-hour solid DJ set courtesy of founder and organiser Alex Grech and support DJ, Rome’s Alberto Palmieri. But to an outsider like me, the music is a surprising mix…

There’s the UK pop of the Eighties, yes, but there’s also Eurovision, Italo disco, 12″ mixes, and lost treasures that you would most certainly never hear on a dancefloor here in England. Let’s name names, and shoot some scenes from behind the DJ booth and the VJ booth:

Trans-X’s Living on Video:

Modern Talking’s Brother Louie:

C.C. Catch’s Backseat of Your Cadillac:

All of these tracks sound pretty incredible on a massive sound system with 3,000 people wigging out to them. Although to misquote the Pet Shop Boys, it could only happen here.

There’s actually two dancefloors at Reflex. Away from the main stage, the club has a distant cousin – an evil twin, maybe – where the team from Nuwavemalta host a sister event playing music from the shadows of the Eighties, like Sisters of Mercy, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Bauhaus and The Mission. It works, too, and makes for a welcome downtempo breathing space during an all-nighter of more upbeat party tracks.

If you’re travelling to or past Malta any time soon, our recommendation is to time your visit with a Reflex night. If you just happen to miss one, or to get you in the mood, Alex Grech is on air every Saturday with a similarly-themed radio show which, reflecting back the influences it absorbs, emanates out of the island via online streaming.

Thanks to Reflex PromotionsAir Malta and Corinthia San Anton for the journey.

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