DNTEL is an alias for Jimmy Tamborello, the man behind the laptop of some of the most interesting, structured electronic music being made today. His style always varies from operation to operation, as he is continually working with many different people and making many different kinds of music. But as Jimmy himself would say, his music is "weird electronic stuff with singing".
However, generalized statements can be made about most of DNTEL’s music. It will usually have a synthesized lo-fi sound, which he some how manages to produce even though he makes almost all of his music on a laptop. The rhythm section will consist of static clicks weaved throughout spastic snare hits, and those snare hits will sometimes be clapping sounds. Synthy-beeping-and-booping will dominate the melody, and swelling Moog-esque sounds will make up the background, with analog bass thumping your brain. But that’s all generalized.
Early Works For Me If It Works For You
DNTEL got into music the same way many musicians do: his father was a musician. Mr. Tamborello had a studio in his basement, where he had a cheap sequencer and a keyboard. When Jimmy was 13 he began to make technopop and industrial music on that equipment in the basement.
Later through out high school Jimmy joined various bands where he would play whatever instrument needed to be played. In a few bands he played bass and in one he played organ, but he never took those bands very seriously because he didn’t have much creative input within them.
About this time Jimmy discovered electronic music, mostly industrial stuff like Ministry and Skinny Puppy but also all of the music that was being released on Warp Records. Then in 1994, Jimmy Tamborello took on the name DNTEL, a name heavily influenced by the names of Aphex Twin song.
Early Works For Me If It Works For You is a collection of most of the music DNTEL recorded between 1995 and 1997. These tracks really show where DNTEL was heading with his music, and it’s a nice listening experience, but it doesn't match up to his later work. After the interest and success of Early Works For Me If It Works For You, DNTEL released another album consisting of music primarily done early in his career. That album was called Something Always Goes Wrong.
Something Always Goes Wrong is an EP, and was originally meant to be released earlier, but, as the name implies, something went wrong and he wasn’t able to release it. While looking through his old material again he found the EP and decided to give it the proper release it deserves. He also added a few remixes for the release as well.
Taking on yet another alias for Figurine, Jimmy Tamborello started this 80’s synthpop band under the name James Figurine. This outfit for DNTEL was designed purely for fun and isn’t taken too seriously, by him or the other members David Figurine and Meredith Figurine. The music is very reflective of this, with each song generally revolving around call and response lyrics between James and Meredith Figurine, singing about heartbreak and stuff like that. Some of the songs get extremely goofy, for instance the song "My First UFO" has a little skit in it that involves the James and Meredith being abducted.
Figurine has two full length discs out, Transportation + Communication = Love, which was released in 1999, and 2001’s The Heartfelt. The band hardly ever plays live, and they hardly ever rehearse. When they do get together to play, however, it is usually to record an album or to write new material.
Life Is Full Of Possibilities
Life Is Full Of Possibilities is the first release by DNTEL that consists of completely new material that was recorded specifically for release purposes. With this release DNTEL has truly found his sound and everything on this album just breathes uniqueness. This album is what essentially threw DNTEL into the spotlight, as it was on many critics top ten lists for 2001.
When making this album DNTEL called on a lot of his friends to help him out, to lay down vocals and various other things. Those friends of his include Chris Gunst, Paul Larson, Meredith Figurine, Mia Doi Todd, Brian Mcmahan, Rachel Haden, and, most importantly, Ben Gibbard.
The song that Ben Gibbard, of Death Cab For Cutie fame, was on was released as a single. The track was called "(This Is) The Dream Of Evan And Chan", and lead way for Ben and Jimmy to start the band The Postal Service.
The Postal Service
The Postal Service is a very clever name for the collaborative efforts between Jimmy Tamborello and Ben Gibbard: Jimmy would create the songs on his laptop and then send them, through the mail, to Ben Gibbard, where Ben would throw down some vocals on the tape and send it back to Jimmy. The two continued this process until they had a full-length album in their hands.
That album, Give Up, was released on Sub Pop Records in 2003. Every single track on the album is just as good as the originally collaboration between Ben and Jimmy, "(This is) The Dream Of Even And Chan", and Give Up will definitely be on top of many critics Top 10 lists for the year of 2003.
As other outfits: