On August 26th Relapse Records present ‘Between Waves’, the 6th studio album by Jimmy LaValle and cohorts, AKA The Album Leaf.
To mark this elegant new longplayer and the signing to Relapse records, new track Back To The Start has been unveiled, which follows a stunning video for ‘New Soul’ that coincided in the UK with critically-praised headline shows at The Union Chapel and All Tomorrow’s Parties (curated by Jake and Dinos Chapman).
From the album audio flows, floats, rises and falls like waves. The eight tracks were whittled down from thirty and it shows: each gently undulating piece is a unique, immersive and emotive delight, all speaking in The Album Leaf’s singular voice, expressed through a broad spectrum of sounds. Deep sub bass, distorted beats, ethereal ambience, chiming guitars, brass, strings, bleeps, tones and LaValle’s soft vocals blend together like particles in the tide.
‘Between Waves’ displays multifaceted, meticulous sound design, a keen ear for balancing disparate influences and the strongest sense of dynamics, rhythm and composition displayed to date. From the moody evolution of ‘Glimmering Lights’ to the wistful hip-hop stylings of ‘A New Soul’ and beyond, ‘Between Waves’ is The Album Leaf at their most inventive, confident and impressive.
The album marks a new, refreshed working process, as LaValle explains: “The first major difference musically is in the song-writing approach, much of which took place in my studio as we were recording. Using the performance and recording capabilities in Ableton Live, I was able to program my sequences to Dave LeBleu’s real time drum performances. Unlike my previous albums, these tracks blend our organic feel with the electronic elements, into a whole. Sonically it’s a much more collaborative document; previous albums featured the work of one specific mix engineer, but this one features the talents of several mixers, which gives each track a richness and complexity that’s all its own.”
Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jimmy LaValle founded The Album Leaf – a solo studio project turned full-fledged live band that’ve been making a mark as soft-spoken innovators steadily and surely since 1999 – one year after he formed the influential San Diego instrumental group Tristeza.
Over time, The Album Leaf (now based in Los Angeles) has grown from a side endeavour to LaValle’s main focus. The project’s first releases, ‘An Orchestrated Rise To Fall’ (1999, Music Fellowship) and ‘One Day I’ll Be On Time’ (2001, Tiger Style), intertwined field recordings, rhodes piano, and a nuanced treatment of texture with mature songwriting and evocative atmospheres. Following these records, which put the project on the map for critics and fans worldwide, Sigur Rós discovered The Album Leaf and took the band on tour in the US, garnering them wide exposure and recognition.
Following a European and second US tour with Sigur Rós, LaValle left Tristeza to devote his full attention to The Album Leaf and soon produced the highly acclaimed releases ‘Seal Beach’ (2003, Acuarela Discos) and ‘In A Safe Place’ (2004, Sub Pop / City Slang).
LaValle’s next albums ‘Into the Blue Again’ and ‘A Chorus Of Storytellers’ followed in September 2006 and 2010 respectively on Sub Pop. 2012 saw a self-release of the EP ‘Forward/Return’.
Since 2010, LaValle has scored five documentaries and films, having released soundtracks for Torey’s ‘Distraction’, ‘Before You Know It’ and ‘Spring’, whilst The Album Leaf songs have also appeared on TV shows including ‘Scandal’, ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and ‘Suits’.
The Album Leaf has also undertaken fruitful collaborations with Bright Eyes and Mark Kozelek (Sun Kill Moon), which further demonstrates diversity of LaValle’s musical output that’s second only to the diversity of the music that has inspired him – from electronic pioneers Can, Eno and Harmonia, traditional mariachi music, to A Tribe Called Quest.
Now, nearly twenty years into a career that has seen LaValle exercising his creativity across the realms of film scoring, sound collage, and both instrumental and vocal leftfield-electronic-guitar music, The Album Leaf’s newly solidified lineup of Jimmy with Matt Resovich (violin, synths) Brad Lee (bass, trumpet) and Dave LeBleu (drums, synths) has delivered a bar-raising career highlight in ’Between Waves’.