Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Aug 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Rainy Day Music

music_TheAlbumLeaf’Tis the season for The Album Leaf
This winter California has seen more than its share of torrential rain, and The Album Leaf offers the kind of soundscapes which provide a perfect complement to the wet season; there isn’t a better song than “Shine” to have a track of forceful pitter patter layered beneath it. Indeed, Jimmy LaValle’s project is distinct mood music, and it will be coming to the Crepe Place for two nights this week, Tuesday, Jan. 11 and Wednesday, Jan. 12.

Although The Album Leaf may lend itself to distinct emotional interpretation, instrumental music is a funny thing. The electronically-based project has increasingly used vocals on latter albums, but in the absence of words, the emotion that one may project upon a given song may well have no relation to the feelings originally infused in it. Ironically, “The Light” may be the perfect soundtrack to a rainy day. But for all we know it was conceived on a sunny summer afternoon.

“There are songs that I’ve had that I feel [were written] when I was in a good space and happy,” says LaValle. “Then a lot of people think those songs are really sad and vice versa. I think it’s really cool how that works.”

In this way, it seems like it doesn’t matter what emotions the songs of The Album Leaf were first born of. Rather, what many fans seem to respond to is just the fact that there is genuine feeling inculcated into each keystroke, drum beat, and bow bend. Much like the stereotype that all lyricists want to leave vagueness in their poetry for the listener to read into, LaValle, too, seems to revel in his songs’ ability to reach people in whatever way they choose to experience it.

“It’s a lot of different feelings and emotions,” explains the longtime San Diegan. “I think it’s primarily where my head is at that given moment when I’m writing that song; that’s pretty much how I’m expressing it for myself. The beauty of it is that anybody else can grab whatever they want from it and feel the way they want to feel, just because there’s really nothing telling you how to feel.”

This is why The Album Leaf carries such a populist appeal, and why the music can be likened to Fischer-Price—My First Electronic Band—because for many fans of indie rock, The Album Leaf is a stepping stone to more esoteric computer glitch. But it’s also how Mr. LaValle has been able to support himself financially.

Before starting his band in earnest in 1998, LaValle worked with an advertising firm composing commercial jingles—a period which he says almost robbed him of his creative flair. But conversely, if you turn on the television and see Michelle Obama, yes, that may well be “The Light” in the background, as Album Leaf tracks have been used in numerous advertisements.

“I would rather have been doing my own stuff, rather than mocking other people’s work,” LaValle recalls about his former nine-to-five. “The other side of that is how you make money, or make a living or a career out of playing music. Those kind of things help the situation.”

However you like to think about LaValle’s music, context to future releases may well be right in your backyard. LaValle recently moved to Boulder Creek while his wife attends grad school at UC Santa Cruz, and it’s certainly not difficult to picture his songs framing a drive up to Big Basin Redwoods State Park, sunlight cracking through the trees as soft ambiance wafts out of your car speakers. Because of the close proximity, The Album Leaf performed at the Crepe just last year, but this show presents the project as it’s never been heard before.

“With this show I’m doing it by myself with a string quartet and a small brass section,” previews LaValle, who had played with the same backing band for eight years. “That right there is a different experience, playing the songs in a different way. It keeps things exciting, and creates a little more mystery.”

 


The Album Leaf performs at 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 11 and 12, at the Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. For more information, call 429-6994.

 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual