the Leaf Library emerged out of London at the end of the 2000s, releasing over an eight-year period a succession of singles and archival material that led up to their ambitious 2015 debut, Daylight Versions. Covering a wide stylistic range that falls somewhere between mellow indie pop and droning post-rock, the band place an emphasis on expanding their catalog with related companion pieces and smaller experimental releases including a set of EPs that contained solo instrumental works by the Leaf Library's individual members. Their sophomore album, The World Is a Bell, arrived in late 2019.
The group began in the mid-2000s when former Saloon songwriter/guitarist Matt Ashton and singer Kate Gibson started making music together. After relocating to London from Reading, they were joined by bassist Gareth Jones and guitarist Ben Smith. The band's 2008 debut single, "Losing Places" -- which featured a remix by Isan -- was released by the Dutch label the Hooter Listens and introduced the Leaf Library's gently intricate sound, which recalled the quieter side of Yo La Tengo and Stereolab as well as more experimental bands like Movietone. By the time the band issued the 2010 single "Activity/Carousel" on France's Beko label, drummer Lewis Young completed the Leaf Library's lineup. Different Activities, Similar Diversions, a compilation of tracks and home recordings, arrived in 2011. The 2014 single "The Greater Good" was part of Where It's at Is Where You Are's singles club and featured a more active sound, a trend that continued on the early 2015 split single with Smile Down Upon Us, "Walking Backward/Magical Breath." For their debut album, the Leaf Library worked with a group of friends including Hot Chip's Rob Smoughton and Alasdair Maclean of the Clientele and Amor de Dias. Daylight Versions, a set of songs inspired by the English coast, the weather, and the sea, as well as the music of Can, Talk Talk, and Broadcast, arrived in October 2015. A pair of 2016 releases expanded on different facets of the band's debut with Nightlight Versions offering instrumental mixes and Versions a set of remixes. In keeping with the Leaf Library's experimental nature, their next project was a series of 2019 EPs -- Monument One, Two, and Three -- each of which focused on solo instrumental compositions by an individual bandmember. The EPs also served as a buildup to the release of their second album, The World Is a Bell, which arrived in October of that year.