MIA: Galang 2005

Welcome re-release for Maya's masterpiece of martial ethno-disco

Being robbed of the Mercury Prize by someone who looks like they should be lurking around the load-in bay of a Games Workshop would take the wind out of most people’s sails, but nothing stops Maya Arulpragasam. Yes, ‘Galang’ was released back in November of last year. Sure, this new edit is almost indistinguishable from that version. But not even familiarity can cloud this musical sunburst.

‘Galang’ is 100 per cent ersatz: Sri Lanka imagined from a Shoreditch loft, Jamaican riddim conjured up from a GameBoy memory card. Don’t be fooled by the sweetness of Maya’s singalong patois, though. ‘Galang’ secretes a martial edge under its seductive exterior; this is a song that advances on you, knife between clenched teeth.

It’s worth a gander at the B-sides too. First up, Dave Kelly – dancehall’s answer to The Neptunes, it says here – not so much reworks as remakes the original, twisting in curls of Indian strings and adding verses from Kingston DJ Baby Cham. And weirder still is a mix by System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian: a web of whining sitars that, naturally, gives way to a bludgeoning rock chorus. Effortlessly brilliant stuff.