Pampa Records, 2012

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


There's a good chance you're already versed in Jimmy Tamborello's work. While under the moniker Dntel as his solo vehicle, Tamborello was half of the biggest side project in indie rock history, The Postal Service. In fact, the inception of The Postal Service stemmed from a Dntel song. Ben Gibbard, the other half of The Postal Service, contributed vocals on Dntel's album Life Is Full Of Possibilities and the response was so well received that they formed The Postal Service.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Though glitchy electronica is all the rage these days, Dntel was one of the pioneers of the sound. Way back in 2000, Dntel was forging unique sounds among the world of independent rock, his electro-pop hybrid spawning legions of like minded outfits all through the 2000's.

A collision of universal pop melody and meticulous electronic work, Aimlessness features an all-star cast of contributors, including members of Baths, Nite Jewel, and Geotic. Together the cast pens a hazy, dreamy, and textured listen of calm ambiance meets animated, club-like energy. It's a listen unlike anything you're likely to hear, a good mix of buried vocals and varied sounds and effects.

While the disc is often instrumental, tracks like “Still” and “Santa Ana Winds” both showcase the guest vocalists in a minor way, highlighting the synth instead. This technique gives it an almost blurry tone, the singing nearly subliminal against the vivid instrumentation. Elsewhere, Dntel shows their strengths in other avenues. On “Trudge,” the percussion is nothing short of stunning, while the album opener “waitingfortherest II” places emphasis on echoes and wispy tones. There are two versions of “Jitters” here, one being Dntel's vision which quick, upbeat and ideal for the dance floor. The other version is a Geotic mix that moves at much slower pace, resulting in a mesmerizing, surreal vibe.

This is an album of extremely polished arrangements. You get many tracks that could be the soundtrack to a lazy day on a cloud – languid, soothing, and hypnotic. The others move at quicker tempos and are charged with beats, pulsating synth, and endless noises. While this won't appeal to everyone, there's no denying that Dntel is one of the most creative minds in the area of electronic-pop recording and worth a listen if you're looking for something that carves out an entirely different niche.

Rating: B

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© 2012 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Pampa Records, and is used for informational purposes only.