L'altra - S/T

I lost the press sheet for this CD, so you're going to have to live without all the uber-elite
comments you're used to hearing in record reviews.

I don't know who is in this band. I don't know what the instrumentation is. I don't know where L'altra hails from. The one thing I do know is that this is some of the most beautiful music I have heard in a long time.

L'altra's self-titled EP opens with "Colding Fields," a song that starts out slow for the first 2 minutes or so, before picking up a little speed (the perfect speed to nod your head softly to). At about this same time a pretty female voice fades in over the music, which has now gained a stable melody, sounding almost like math-rock, but without all the harsh connotations that genre brings with it.

The vocals mixed with the instrumentation lend some sort of ethereal quality to the song, which is probably one of the reasons it doesn't get boring in its 6 minute runtime.

"Until Sun," the second track, starts out with a slowly strummed guitar and only waits about a minute before bringing the vocals in. On this track it's a male voice that sounds just on the verge of breaking. You know the type -- when you see the band, the singer stands there with his eyes closed, looking simultaneously frightened and excited to be playing on a stage in front of real live people. The sparse instrumentation of this song reminds me a little bit of the Red House Painters.

The final track, "String Theory," opens not with strings, but with a piano. Both vocalists sing on this song, reminding me heavily of Rainer Maria's "New York, 1955". In the later moments of the song, the instrumentation picks up and the song takes an almost jazzy turn.

Overall, this 3-song EP clocks in around 20 minutes. The only 3-song EP I can remember clocking in around that length in recent past was Antarctica's debut last year, which still blows me away, even on the verge of the release of their debut album. I think that when L'altra's full length is released, I will still be able to say the same thing. If you like truly beautiful musics, songs that don't just PLAY, but paint a picture for you, check out L'altra.
...john heisel...

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