The Album Leaf is neither an album nor a leaf, but rather the stage name of San Diego’s Jim LaValle, who started the project in the late 1990s. At first a solo venture, The Album Leaf has come to include a variety of instrumentalists along the way.
There’s a lot to like about The Album Leaf. First, there’s the name. It sparks a lot of mental images; a dusty photo album at your parents’ house, a tree that grows records instead of leaves…interesting stuff. Also likeable is the fact that if you have the band’s logo tattooed on you, they let you in to their concerts for free. (It’s unclear from their website weather or not you get bonus points for the location of the tattoo.) Finally, you’ve got to love the fact that the band’s lineup includes someone in charge of “live visuals”, which is a good idea for music that’s so evocative.
What makes this a beautiful song:
1. The slow-as-honey beginning. It’s so careful and deliberate, like a kid plunking out a piece for the first time at a piano lesson.
2. The percussion. It tries to sneak in un-noticed, with a light ride cymbal about a minute and a half in. Then other pieces of the drum kit enter one by one, quickly and jerkily, in contrast to the slow piano that started the song.
3. The strings at the end. Coming out of nowhere and just slightly out of tune, they remind me of a cat meowing for attention.
Recommended listening activity:
Watching drips of water in slow-motion.