11 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

For his fifth studio album, James LaValle brought his touring band into the studio for the first time. (His previous albums were all performed solo.) The snowcaps and icy ambient tones are still present (“Perro,” “Blank Pages”) but a strong backbeat and stronger melodies with audible vocals (“There Is a Wind,” “Falling from the Sun,” “We Are,” “Almost There”) practically make this mood-altering group a pop ensemble for a few moments. Recorded just outside Seattle in February 2009 and mixed in Reykjavik, Iceland by Sigur Rós producer Birgir Jon Birgisson, A Chorus of Storytellers features a wide sonic expanse that excels at running in place. “Within Dreams” uses an austere setting with just nibbling rhythms to display the glorious keyboard chords that arrive in waves. “Stand Still” builds the intensity but never disturbs the dreamscape; its keyboards continue to find new pockets to fill. “Until the Last” continues the forward flow with cascading piano notes leading to the hopeful vibe of “We Are.” It’s all quite a meditative journey.

EDITORS’ NOTES

For his fifth studio album, James LaValle brought his touring band into the studio for the first time. (His previous albums were all performed solo.) The snowcaps and icy ambient tones are still present (“Perro,” “Blank Pages”) but a strong backbeat and stronger melodies with audible vocals (“There Is a Wind,” “Falling from the Sun,” “We Are,” “Almost There”) practically make this mood-altering group a pop ensemble for a few moments. Recorded just outside Seattle in February 2009 and mixed in Reykjavik, Iceland by Sigur Rós producer Birgir Jon Birgisson, A Chorus of Storytellers features a wide sonic expanse that excels at running in place. “Within Dreams” uses an austere setting with just nibbling rhythms to display the glorious keyboard chords that arrive in waves. “Stand Still” builds the intensity but never disturbs the dreamscape; its keyboards continue to find new pockets to fill. “Until the Last” continues the forward flow with cascading piano notes leading to the hopeful vibe of “We Are.” It’s all quite a meditative journey.

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4:28
5:47
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4:56
4:50
4:43
4:16
4:04
4:54
4:09

About The Album Leaf

The Album Leaf began as the solo project of Jimmy LaValle, a San Diego-based songwriter who started recording solo material one year after forming the post-rock band Tristeza. Inspired by a number of genres -- classical, jazz, and post-rock among them -- LaValle constructed his own songs in a similarly eclectic manner, utilizing everything from ambient noise to field recordings to radio transmissions. An Orchestrated Rise to Fall introduced the resulting sound in 1999. An EP (In an Off White Room) preceded the release of LaValle's second full-length album, One Day I'll Be on Time, which was released by Tiger Style in March 2001. The Album Leaf's profile blossomed as a result of those recordings, and LaValle found himself opening shows for Sigur Rós' first American tour that fall. By the time he began recording his third album, he'd also secured the services of Sigur Rós' Iceland studios, along with the participation of several of that band's members. The resulting album, In a Safe Place, appeared on the Sub Pop label in June 2004.

The Seal Beach EP, originally issued in 2003 in Spain, appeared stateside in early 2005, and LaValle's next album, Into the Blue Again, followed in September 2006. The Album Leaf toured sporadically throughout the remainder of the decade, performing in multiple continents and opening for Devendra Banhart at the Hollywood Bowl in 2008. Two years later, LaValle returned with his fifth full-length album, A Chorus of Storytellers, which, for the first time, was recorded with a full live band and featured vocals on a number of tracks. After touring, the band went quiet for several years, with LaValle focusing on film-scoring work. The Album Leaf resurfaced in 2016 with their sixth album, Between Waves. In an extremely surprising collaboration that no fan of the band could have anticipated, the album was released through revered extreme metal label Relapse, although their sound had not changed significantly. ~ Mike DaRonco

  • ORIGIN
    San Diego, CA
  • FORMED
    1999

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