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Jimmy LaValle, aka The Album Leaf, and his band.
Jimmy LaValle, aka The Album Leaf, and his band.
If you go

What: The Album Leaf with Tycho

When: 8:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder, 303-443-3399

Cost: $20-22

More info:

J immy LaValle has been making shiny, electronic pop as The Album Leaf for more than a decade, but now that the genre seems to be at a saturation point, he’s turning the electronics down and the guitars and keys up.

The first release from The Album Leaf came in 1999 with An Orchestrated Rise to Fall, but the breakthrough was 2001’s One Day I’ll Be On Time. Years before The xx would stun us with minimalism, LaValle’s record created buzz for it’s own sparse soundscapes.

Like other artists slightly ahead of the indie fad curve, LaValle feels like electronic music — in his case, IDM (intelligent dance music) — is a natural result of writing rather than a deliberate experimentation.

“It’s still, to me, it’s just what I write,” he said. “I write songs and they sound that way, so I’m not really conforming or — I guess in 2001, One Day I’ll Be On Time was the first that really had electronics on it.”

The more LaValle produced, the better the reviews seemed to get. He grew into his sound instead of appearing in a flash of brilliance. The same ingredients were there — guitar, keys, violins, drums, bass — and the same descriptors popped up, whether it was IDM, ambient music or poptronica. It’s shimmery, twinkling and soothing.

This time around, on his self-released EP Forward/Return, he pulled back on the electronica. Songs like “Images” are backed by jazzy work on the drum kit and pure piano tones, and guitars push through each track.

“With this record, I actually took away a lot of electronics and it’s just the [instrumental] quartet,” LaValle said. “Ninety-five percent of the songs are Rhodes-piano based. I really wanted to start playing guitar again, so this record is really guitar based, too. I just wanted to just do something different and I really wanted to do something different from [A Chorus of] Storytellers, which is why I brought the band back in.”

The Album Leaf is still very much LeValle’s solo project, but Forward/Return found him working in a more collaborative way. Sort of.

“I decided to have that band that was playing with me for forever playing on that record and get a collaborative effort, but it didn’t work out that way. But it was cool. There were other people playing on it and it wasn’t all on me. I was able to sit back and direct,” he said.

So LeValle pulled together unfinished demo tracks and handed them over to his band, who reworked and recorded their own parts on bass, drums and violin.

“[The songs] are definitely still crafted and put together and realized in different directions by me,” he said. “I feel like this record –I was finally able to craft something that’s still very much Album Leaf, but very different than the last record.”

Right now, LeValle said he’s glad to be touring in support of Tycho, or even touring at all, and he wants to head out overseas.

“It’s just been so long. Everybody has their input of what you should be doing or how you should be working,” he said. “It’s funny when I just wanna play shows and you’re being told otherwise. It’s like ‘not a good time,’ but I wanna play. It’s what I love.”

Oh, and there’s this: “I’m starting a new collaboration — or new project — that I’m almost done with. That’s really all I can say about it.”