Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Girl power

Late last year, like many others, I watched the trailer for David Fincher's 'The Social Network'. It had quite an effect on me. Visually it was a little underwhelming. It consisted of a mash up of shots of Facebook pages, seemingly random profile photo's of people fading in and out, relationship status' being updated, and words like 'where are you?' and 'this day sucks!' filling the screen with the ominous text cursor blinking next to them. All this was obviously there to show how personalized and integrated the social networking phenomenon of 'Facebook' has become in how people interact. However, the thing that made this trailer so effective to me was the haunting cover of Radiohead's 'Creep', which sounded to me like it had been performed by a women's choir with a simple, understated piano accompaniment. Thom Yorke's beautifully angst filled lyricism, combined with this angelic performance, really fit and catapulted the bittersweet mood that the trailer was obviously trying to invoke.

I liked the cover so much that I did a little looking about on google and found that it had been arranged and performed by two brothers, the Kolcancy Brothers, and a Belgian girls choir, known collectively as 'Scala'. To quote Scala's website; "Scala is a youth choir from Aarschot, Belgium, roughly sixty teenage girls, directed by two talented brothers, receiving international recognition." And much deserved recognition, in my opinion. After listening to a few more Scala tracks I was very impressed with what I heard. Scala has made five studio albums, along with a collection of live recordings. They do alot of covers of well known acts. Some that jumped out at me as being particularly good were 'Underneath it All' by Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', Rammstein's 'Engel' and 'I Touch Myself' by The Divynils. The group tackles all kinds of genres, and manage to make everything they do sound delicate, precise and, above all, hauntingly beautiful. The instrumentals in Scala's music are always understated, typically nothing more than some sombre, simple piano. The vocalisation by the sixty or so teenage choir singers are amazing; beautifully harmonized and directed.

If you look at the impressive list of well known songs that Scala has tackled, it's easy to recommend the group to anyone that loves covers. They've done songs by Garabge, The Chilli Peppers, The Verve, Sinead O'Connor, Muse, The Police, Depeche Mode; the list goes on and on. It's also easy to recommend Scala to anyone that loves beautiful music. Scala is amazing. In fact, the group is fast becoming my current musical obsession.

You can find Scala's website here.

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