September 21, 2006

The Album Leaf's Into the Blue Again

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With a series of releases under a multitude of pseudonyms, Jimmy LaValle has always tried to create atmospheric music that is neither static nor stationary but rather, dynamic and floating. On Into the Blue Again, the latest record under LaValle’s most recently formed group The Album Leaf, the three-piece accomplishes this goal in a manner that their French cousins, Air, could only dream of. Bits and pieces of sound emerge from the ether of keyboards, pianos, drums, synths and violins, and blend together perfectly in an ethereal nebula of resonance. Instead of relying the electronic multi-tracking, LaValle insists on an entirely acoustic ensemble.

The most remarkable thing about this record is that no single track is wasted; instead, each number is like a distinct movement in a larger space-symphony of sound. On the highlight of the album, “Always for You,” LaValle’s colloquial and endearing voice successfully meshes with drums and synth loops. The effect is magnificent, for we are successfully transplanted to an intangible place far above earth’s gloomy stratosphere.