Dntel – Aimlessness


Artist: Dntel
Album: Aimlessness
Label: Pampa Records
Rating: 8.0

I’m one of those people that on my days off, if I don’t have any plans, I will stay in bed as long as it takes until I have formed an idea of what to do with my day. Dntel’s new album Aimlessness is the perfect album that expresses that emotion of malaise that you can’t really describe as boredom because that would imply that there is something causing the feeling. Dntel has called his album Aimlessness because the feeling is generated from nothing. I find it’s actually the perfect way to start a day, as if you’ve come through a black hole, and emerge in a whole new universe in which you cannot comprehend anything there, until you have forgotten everything.

I’ve written before about my dislike for the new trend in band names to drop vowels out for cool effect, but as I’m writing this someone just played the word “cwm” (another word for basin or corrie) on me in online scrabble so I’ve had to rethink my opinion on it. Dntel, which apparently has no meaning, is probably a perfect name for Jimmy Tamborello’s music because it comes from no preconceived place. Dntel has made a career out of ambient electronic music that’s full of blips and beeps. Sometimes it can feel cute like on the second track “Jitters”, as the main melody seems to be from a xylophone. This is the one track that feels like it could be a new “Postal Service” track, but it’s here we realize that the greatness in that album now solo rides with Dntel, because now a track like “Jitters” flows without being hampered by unnecessary vocals.Aimlessness is not a new “Postal Service” record by any means, but it does include some tracks that are vocal driven like the next track “Still” which has a haunting voice that croons “I thought you might like to come home” which hits you like a revelation in your aimlessness, because you realize that this new place you thought you were going to on the other side of the black hole is actually a place you know well.

Aimlessness is created with such purposefulness that after getting through the album you have to regroup and remind yourself of where you just went to, and realize that someone actually intended to take you there. Dntel has been honing his electronic craft for awhile and we’re getting music from him that sees him at the top of his game. I have to admit that I kind of lost track of him after “Postal Service” but now that I know we’re on the same page, I’m sure I’ll find him again in my travels through space and time.

– Michael Unger

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