Lael’s new album Acquainted with Night is a testament to this poetic devotion. Stripped of any extraneous word or sound, the songs are lit by Lael’s crystalline voice which lays on a lush bed of Omnichord. The collection touches on themes that have been thread into her work for years: isolation, mortality, yearning, and reaching ever toward the transcendent experience.
Lael grew up on a farm in rural Virginia, but for nearly 10 years called Los Angeles home. Those years were spent developing her songwriting and performing in venues across the city, but the right way to record the songs proved more elusive. She worked with countless musicians, producers and collaborators, making entire records and eventually stowing them away. She says, “Every time I reached the end of recording, I felt the songs had been stripped of their vitality in the process of layering drums, bass, guitar, violin and organ over them. They felt weighed down.”
Lael returned to her family farm back in April 2020 and has taken advantage of the limitations imposed by this period. She re-discovered her Sony Handycam from high school and is using it to make impressionistic companion pieces to the songs she recorded in Los Angeles. She continues, “I am enjoying the strong contrast between the songs I wrote and recorded in California and the videos I am making for them in Virginia. It offers something unexpected.”
The lo-fi quality of the films certainly suits the tone of the album. Guy comments, “an idea that was floating around in our conversations before and during the process was ‘lost tapes’ - and I think these recordings feel like such an artifact - a sonic portrait of a season of a life, a sacred tape made in private by an artist at the peak of creative power and rediscovered by chance for the ages.”
Normally a morning person, Lael recorded most of these songs in the early darkening evening and so became Acquainted with Night.