In the wake of a solid 18 months spent touring in support of 2004’s In a Safe Place, The Album Leaf’s Jimmy LaValle sequestered himself for six months in his San Diego house solely to write for his next record. For LaValle—whose wildly varied experience includes stints with instrumental artisans Tristeza, post-hardcore spastics the Locust, contorted punk-funk ritualists GoGoGo Airheart, shadowy conjurers The Black Heart Procession and Iceland’s celestial menagerie Sigur Rós—such a surfeit of time was an unprecedented luxury. The upshot of this well-earned downtime is his fourth full-length, Into the Blue Again. Recorded in December 2005 at Bear Creek Studio, a converted turn-of-the-century barn outside of Seattle, Into the Blue Again sees a return to The Album Leaf’s conception with LaValle handling the bulk of the vocal and instrumental duties. After tracking at Bear Creek, LaValle then took the concentric billows of feathered keyboards, filmy strings and chiseled drums to Iceland for three weeks of mixing to tape to maintain Brian Eno-informed translucence. Having shared so much time and space with others on the road, LaValle proves with the personally charged Into the Blue Again that The Album Leaf resonates most profoundly when he goes it alone.