Release Date: Jun 5, 2012
Record label: Pampa
Genre(s): Trip-Hop, Techno, Downtempo, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Downbeat, Experimental Techno, Glitch
Before Jimmy Tamborello started collaborating on music through the mail with Ben Gibbard for what would become the early-2000s crossover success called The Postal Service, he was already hard at work on his own as Dntel. The dreamy textures and glitchy beats of his 2001 masterstroke Life Is Full of Possibilities paved the way for the indie-tronica of the Postal Service as well as droves of other laptop-wielding indie kids who followed suit. Tamborello worked notoriously slowly in the years after his initial breakthroughs, resurfacing in 2007 with second proper record, Dumb Luck, followed by a series of miscellanea collections over the next several years.
DntelAimlessness[Pampa; 2012]By Josh Becker; July 3, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGJimmy Tamborello has made a career out of mixing bedroom pop with a soft kind of IDM, crafting a sound that would come to define the work of so many young musicians with Pro Tools and a stifling sense of suburban ennui. As Dntel, he's toyed with such modest escapism for over a decade, starting with his landmark 2001 debut Life Is Full of Possibilities. Eleven years later, Aimlessness proves that he's still a dreamer.
Whether he's drawing up glittering autonomous landscapes or simply smearing digital icing on an alt-country tune, Jimmy Tamborello--as Dntel, as Figurine, as half of the Postal Service--has always made beats with an unflappable sense of play. Even when he picks up the narrative of a renegade hero on instrumental concept album Something Always Goes Wrong, you get the feeling that he's just a kid in tinfoil armor waving a wooden sword. Tamborello has historically excelled at taking the slick, lubricated pathways of IDM and filling them with heart, humor and a whole lot of fun.
In a 2006 interview with the author Dave Tompkins, the R&B producer Timbaland claimed he "changed the sound of radio." It's simple but true: Music before Timbaland sounded different from music after him. You could say the same thing about Dntel, albeit on a smaller scale. In 2001, he released Life Is Full of Possibilities, an album that reconciled twinkly, romantic indie pop with electronic glitch.
Though the professionalism of Jimmy Tamborello's recorded output is easy to respect, it's often overshadowed by the intimation of deeper possibilities within his malleable sonic material. Whether in the wispy warmth of the Postal Service, as member of electro trio Figurine, or ethereal solo project Dntel, hiccups, skips and stray percussive elements suggested grooves percolating below the spit-shined surface that never quite materialized. Remixes were revelatory, from The Field improving Figurine's "55566688833" with giddy glitches, Early Works, Later Versions cloaking old tunes in spindly, fractured beats, or the incomparably ecstatic yearning of Superpitcher's rework of "(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan.
“How could one reconcile this timeless bliss of seeing as one ought to see with the temporal duties of doing what one ought to do, and feeling as one ought to feel?” Huxley poses this question in The Doors of Perception, his ethereal state a personal, provocative experiment on the exploration of alternate realities and intoxication that led to the ultimate documentation of alterations in the senses by “other means. ” Reconciling timeless bliss seems to be something Jimmy Tamborello, the man behind DNTEL, has spent the majority of his musical career attempting, with varied results. Indeed, the 2001 dreamy bedroom-electro-pop that was beautifully orchestrated on his third album Life Is Full of Possibilities remains a benchmark in the sub-genre that was pioneered in part by DNTEL and then again in a collaboration between Tamborello and Ben Gibbard.
A decade ago, when Dntel recorded "(This is) The Dream of Evan and Chan," his partnership with Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard may have been viewed as an oddity. Now that electronic and indie rock have become joined at the hip (with much assistance from Dntel and Gibbard's band, the Postal Service), it's easier to see the similarities between the two musicians. Aimlessness, the fourth LP from Dntel (aka Jimmy Tamborello), manages to produce that same warm, nostalgic dreamo that fuelled most of Gibbard's stuff.