Album: The Album Leaf

In a Safe Place, CITY SLANG
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

The classically trained Californian pianist Jimmy LaValle has several outlets for his prolific musical interests, ranging from The Locust's punkish noise to the brooding monumentalism of Black Heart Procession. Wearing his Album Leaf hat, LaValle indulges in the kind of oceanic dreamscapes that caught the ear of his Icelandic contemporaries Sigur Ros, who, after several on-stage collaborations, invited him to record at their studio with like-minded friends, including their string section Amina. The results are, in the main, beautiful: there's a crystalline purity to the way the sparse, resonant tones of the opening "Window" pick out the melody, suspended in an ambient drone, before being caressed with cello; and the guitar-and-melodeon "Streamside" is so perfect, one can but concur with the musician who says, "That was the best so far", at the end. But too many pieces are spoilt by intrusive drum'n'bass beats, at cross-purposes with the dreamy music. The worst is "Twentytwofourteen", which begins with

The classically trained Californian pianist Jimmy LaValle has several outlets for his prolific musical interests, ranging from The Locust's punkish noise to the brooding monumentalism of Black Heart Procession. Wearing his Album Leaf hat, LaValle indulges in the kind of oceanic dreamscapes that caught the ear of his Icelandic contemporaries Sigur Ros, who, after several on-stage collaborations, invited him to record at their studio with like-minded friends, including their string section Amina. The results are, in the main, beautiful: there's a crystalline purity to the way the sparse, resonant tones of the opening "Window" pick out the melody, suspended in an ambient drone, before being caressed with cello; and the guitar-and-melodeon "Streamside" is so perfect, one can but concur with the musician who says, "That was the best so far", at the end. But too many pieces are spoilt by intrusive drum'n'bass beats, at cross-purposes with the dreamy music. The worst is "Twentytwofourteen", which begins with a few measured notes of electric piano and glockenspiel, gradually adding layers before being lumbered with an overprogrammed rhythm track. But there's compensation in the wealth of good tunes and gorgeous textures, not least in "Over the Pond", a lovely, limpid piece of chamber-rock.

Comments