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Soundtrack to Late Nights

Jimmy LaValle is a self-proclaimed night owl. He likes to stay out late, writing songs, and wakes up “sometime after noon.”

Late at night, LaValle said, “is the natural time for me to create; when I’m tired… I get my vibe going.” But the dark of night doesn’t show up on LaValle’s album, “In a Safe Place.” Instead, it’s a record for the morning after a late night, and LaValle’s music sets the mood for introspection.

The 25-year-old San Diego native recorded “In a Safe Place” under the name The Album Leaf, and a tour for the album brings LaValle to Iota Club and Cafe next week.

In the past, LaValle has fronted louder bands such as The Locust and The Swing Kids, but began the Album Leaf to put out songs more suited to solo recording. “I would write songs that I couldn’t mix with the band,” he said. LaValle recently finished recording with members of ambient space-pop band Sigur Ros in Iceland.

Songs from “In A Safe Place” will be showcased at Iota, along with songs from LaValle’s last record, “One Day I’ll Be On Time.”

THE NEW RECORD is a cross between the music of current indie bands and ambient techno groups like the French duo Air.

The 10 songs on “In a Safe Place” meld together, most without vocals. The few songs with lyrics are a break from tradition, since most of The Album Leaf’s past work has consisted of subdued instrumentals.

Despite the lack of vocals, “In A Safe Place” sets the scene of the recording: “a small, friendly community in Iceland, very laid back, very comfortable, with amazing scenery,” LaValle said.

Although technically a solo project, “In a Safe Place” featured eight other musicians playing the cello, bells, violin, glockenspiel, saw, organs, avocado shaker and accordion.

Similarly, the Album Leaf’s live shows are not typical concerts. Visual aids help LaValle create an atmosphere for his music to be presented, with the music serving as the score for the short clips presented at his shows. The visuals “are made by a filmmaker … [and] synched to the music,” LaValle said, “to kind of give the people watching something else to check out.”

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