Lael Neale - Acquainted With Night


  • $29.00

It is the simple thing that is so hard to do. This is the paradox that musician Lael Neale has lived within throughout her development as an artist. It is the reason she became enthralled with poetry. Poems are a distillation. Lael says, “this challenge to winnow away what is unessential is the most maddening and, ultimately, rewarding part of writing a song.” 

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 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.” In a moment of illumination, the solution presented itself: do the simple thing. 

In early 2019, in the midst of major transition, she acquired a new instrument - the Omnichord - and began recording a deluge of songs. Guy Blakeslee, who had been an advocate for years, set up a cassette recorder in her bedroom and provided empathic guidance, subtle yet affecting accompaniment and engineering prowess. Limited to only four tracks and first takes, Lael had to surrender some of her perfectionism to deliver the songs in their essence. 

The first song she recorded was For 'No One For Now', which calls to mind the agitated beat of driving fast on the freeway against the backdrop of the San Fernando Valley’s bent palms. The song contrasts romantic idealizations with the banality of folding sheets and toasting bread. It highlights her oft-thwarted attempts to enjoy the day to day while her mind wanders off toward the dream, the ideal. 

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 darkening of the early evening, and so became Acquainted With Night


  1. Blue Vein 
  2. Every Star Shivers in the Dark 
  3. Acquainted with Night 
  4. White Wings 
  5. How Far Is It to the Grave 
  6. For No One For Now 
  7. Sliding Doors & Warm Summer Roses 
  8. Third Floor Window 
  9. Let Me Live by the Side of the Road 
  10. Some Sunny Day 


  • CD comes in gatefold altpack 
  • LP limited first pressing on white vinyl 
  • White cassette housed in clear case with three-panel J-card 




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