With the third offering from his side project The Album Leaf, Tristeza’s Jimmy Lavalle presents an ambient soundscape accompanied by slight percussion and subdued vocals that eases the listener toward that dreamlike state. With assistance from friends from Sigur Rós, Múm, and The Blackheart Procession, Lavalle builds upon his signature sound adding vocals and varied percussion to achieve a more accomplished sound, one that finds him eclipsing the musical largesse achieved during his involvement with Tristeza.
To find inspiration while crafting this album, Lavalle traveled to Mosfellsbaer, Iceland to record at Sundlaugin, Sigur Rós’ home studio and the fruits of his journey and collaborations are evident. Shedding his comfortable surroundings of Southern California, Lavalle finds himself in the half way across the world and in unique surroundings that help shape the dreamlike atmosphere of this album.
Sparse, soft, intricate and fluid, In a Safe Place is an album that should be listened to in its entirety. “Window” sets the mood of the album with subtle beats and a plucking organ allowing things to evolve. “On Your Way” (mp3) introduces vocals to the mix of ambient sounds and beats that follow the organic progression of the album. Sigur Rós’ Jon Thor Birgisson lends sweetly eerie background vocals to “Over the Pond.”
“Streamside” Lavalle sheds the beats and organ for a more elemental sound built with acoustic guitars and strings. The vocals return on “Eastern Glow,” set against a backdrop of strings, beats and organ, pulling elements found throughout the album into one track before moving toward a tranquil exit with the placid “Moss Mountain Town.”
Fans of ambient, post-rock and IDM will find this a rewarding album. And for those who generally overlook those categories, you may be surprised at how engaging the encompassing aural soundscape on In A Safe Place can be.
More MP3s from the Album Leaf.