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Scala And Kolacny Brothers: Into The Ether

Scala, a Belgian girls choir directed and accompanied by Steven and Stijn Kolacny, has gained worldwide recognition for its interpretations of songs from artists as diverse as Depeche Mode, The Eurythmics and Rammstein. The German industrial band was so taken with the results that it included Scala's cover of "Engel" on its own live album.

The Kolacnys studied their sources well: Scala's new Paper Plane features propulsive and atmospheric originals that feel light as air, dark as despair, pure as a Disney fairytale and broken as one by Hans Christian Andersen. "Magic," the closer, provides an understated example of how Scala walks the tightrope between innocence and experience without seeming cloying or crass.

The choir sighs the opening verse over percolating piano and electronics, but then the percussion drops out, these words hang in the air: "Magic, every word is magic / Every kiss from you." A drum machine rat-a-tats, and then the piano propels the choir through a second verse before the assembled voices hit the bridge in a disarming call-and-response — an appropriately dreamlike moment in a song that constantly seems ready to fade into the ether.

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Cecile Cloutier