The Album Leaf officially began in 1998 as the solo project of Jimmy LaValle, guitarist for San Diego, California-based post-rock band Tristeza. LaValle has also performed in several other San Diego-area bands, including Swing Kids, The Locust, GoGoGo Airheart, and The Black Heart Procession.
An Orchestrated Rise to Fall
Jimmy LaValle had been playing an ocarina in the post-rock instrumental band Tristeza. Being a multi-instrumentalist, during downtime in the fall of 1998, he began playing drums for San Diego band GoGoGo Airheart. The singer and guitarist for the group, Mike Vermillion (which later inspired the song name “Vermillion” on One Day I’ll Be on Time) recorded LaValle doing improvised material playing to a vintage roland drum machine on a Rhodes Piano that would become his first full-length album, the 10-track An Orchestrated Rise to Fall. Benjamin White of GoGoGo Airheart and Vermillion both supplied added improvisation with synthesizers and vocals to these recordings.
Before Tristeza released Spine and Sensory on Makoto records in 1998, the band was talking with a handful of different indie record labels. One of the record labels was “The Music Fellowship” out of Salt Lake City, Utah. LaValle asked them if they would be interested in releasing his solo material. They accepted, and An Orchestrated Rise to Fall saw release in 1999 on CD. Later in the year, Tristeza and The Album Leaf both signed with newly started Tigerstyle Records out of New York City.