Thursday, April 16, 2009

Early Works for Me if It Works for You II

Most people have heard of The Postal Service and know that Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard also fronted the "indietronic" sensation of 2003.  Fewer people have heard of late 90's electronic act DNTEL, and even fewer than that would recognize the name James Tamborello (also produces under James Figurine).  The truth is however that Tamborello was more or less the foundational basis for one of 2003's most successful and genre-changing albums.  Silently slaving away in his studeo, writing and producing the large majority of the music, beats, cues, and riffs and then paying for all those shipping costs to Seattle, Tamborello's name still rarely is mentioned while Gibbard and co-vocalist Jenny Lewis consistently get tagged as "The Postal Service."  

Tamborello began creating music in 1989 when the synth of the 80's was coming to a close and the grunge of the early 90's was picking up steam.  Tamborello, apparently entranced by the 80's synthetic sounds, picked up his synthesizers, closed his garage, and started creating synthetic rhythm pop that was essentially the anti-thesis of Nevermind.  Tamborello's first solo electronic album Early Works for Me if it Works for You was released under the name DNTEL in 1999 and documented 12 demos that Tamborello had written from 1994-1997.  In 2000 DNTEL released its first EP Something Always Goes Wrong establishing a legitimate cult following for an artist whose musical style did not fit into the genre swings of the new mellinium.  A follow up LP Life is Full of Possibilities was released in 2001, but the following remained at a minimal cult status with a few highlights including (notice the foreshadowing?) a relatively well received song entitled "(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan" featuring none other than Death Cab frontman Ben Gibbard.  This duo eventually went on to release an album under the moniker The Postal Service that participated in one of the largest genre shifts in Pop music since, well, Nirvana's Nevermind. 

DNTEL is essentially the foundation on which the electro-indie-pop that I love was built.  Tamborello built off of the 80's even when it wasn't cool anymore and then, when 80's electro-pop sound came back, there he was synthesizer and drum machine in hand ready for the new mellinium.  Yesterday, Phthalo records, DNTEL's original record label, released Early Works for Me if it Works for You II which is forty tracks of DNTEL oldies including digitally remastered editions of Early Works for Me if it Works for You and Something Always Goes Wrong as well as a previously unreleased album of demos recorded around 1996.  This virtual history of modern electro-indie rock can be yours for only $18 on Itunes.  I certainly recommend it.

"(This is) The Dream of Evan and Chan" has been added to the playlist.

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