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Life Is Full Of Possibilities

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Los Angeles resident Jimmy Tamborello records, releases and occasionally performs music under the name Dntel. In 2007, we at Sub Pop released the Dntel album Dumb Luck which included contributions from a whole raft of talented people too numerous to list here (a short version of that list would include members of Grizzly Bear, Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes, and Arthur & Yu). And at the end of ... Read more in Amazon's Dntel Store

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for 5 albums, 3 photos, discussions, and more.

Product details

  • Audio CD (2 Mar. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Plug Research
  • ASIN: B00005QHR8
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 130,933 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Umbrella
2. Anywhere Anyone
3. Pillowcase
4. Fear Of Corners
5. Suddenly Is Sooner Than You Think
6. Life Is Full Of Possibilities
7. Why I'm So Unhappy
8. Fireworks
9. (This Is) The Dream Of Evan And Chan
10. Last Songs

Product Description

BBC Review

Two words for you: Los Angeles.

It's not really the first place you'd look when seeking experimental and forward thinking music, is it?

Well, let's thank our lucky stars for labels like Plug Research who in a place as culturally suspect as the "City of Angels" (prove me wrong, please) are sticking their neck out to release some of the most thought provoking music being made in the US.

DNTEL is the moniker of one Jimmy Tamborello, an ex-member of cult indie band Strictly Ballroom, former KXLU DJ, one third of technopop band Figurine and responsible for several electronica releases on labels like Pthalo and 555.

Tambarello's background in writing traditional rock songs is evident on this new album, but there's a lot more to this ex-indie rocker than you might expect. Together with guests Chris Gunst, (Beachwood Sparks), Rachel Haden (That Dog) and Brian McMahan (ex-Slint), Tamborello has taken a cue from studio composers like Isan or Sybarite and has reversed the usual practice of spicing up his electronics with rock elements; instead Life Is Full of Possibilities is at its heart a collection of avant indie-pop songs that've been mutated into gorgeous abstractions, yet you'll be humming them for weeks on end.

Tracks like the stunning "Anytime Anywhere", with Mia Doi Todd singing over a huge mix of reversed synths and glockenspiels dripping in reverb, or the opening track "Umbrella" with its Mark Van Hoen inspired mix of layered organs will haunt you for months. Just listen to "The Dream Of Evan and Chan" and tell me that it's not easily indie single of the year!

Few electronic musicians out there have come close to the strength of the songwriting contained within this delicately produced CD. Tamborello has an incredible ear for crafting intricately accessible and credible pop songs from the most abstract of electronic music soups. I think there's little doubt we'll see his laptop wielding contemporaries emulating him in the year to come.

A new standard in the world of experimental indie music has just been set. Its name: DNTEL. Get this! --Olli Siebelt

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Demob Happy on 7 Mar. 2005
Format: Audio CD
I bought this expecting something similar to The Notwist, as it has been widely billed as a seminal 'indietronica' album in which Jimmy Tamborello enlisted a host of singers and musicians from the indie scene (including Chris Gunst from Beachwood Sparks, Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and Brian McMahan from Slint) to contribute to his soundcsapes. Indeed, one track, the outstanding 'The Dream of Evan and Chan', sparked a musical partnership between Tamborello and Gibbard that resulted in The Postal Service. This is actually much more aligned to IDM / ambient - closer to experimentalists such as Fennesz and Múm than those artists - with Tamborello toying with the guest vocal contributions, chopping them into pieces and manipulating them as if they were samples. 'Umbrella' pitches distorted a vocal refrain over a swelling cloudburst of drizzly digital effects to create a highly evocative and original opener. 'Anywhere Anyone' sounds like a mix between Fennesz's deconstructions - with its haunted and repetitive synths - and the solo material of Herbert co-hort Dani Siciliano. The jazzy vocal lick of 'I love you' is continuously interrupted with the afterthought of 'How can I love you if you don't love yourself', building into a melting pot of tensions and evocations. 'Fear of Corners' is dark, haunted (instrumental) electronica that reminds me of Murcof's cinematic darkness. There are disappointments in the mid-section of the album, the meandering title track for example, but that is more than made up for by the masterpiece 'The Dream of Evan and Chan', which melds Múm-style distortions with the surreal pop of Yoshimi-era Flaming Lips. With its dreamlike melody fading in and out of a blizzard of television static, it is a modern masterpiece of experimental pop.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 24 reviews
54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Something just got edged off my desert island list... 5 Jan. 2002
By Erik F - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
In many ways, this record seems inevitable. It's as if all the right influences were gathered at once and coalesced into one fifty-minute stretch. You could compare this to alot of things, but what really makes it so incredible is the fact that it takes its influences and molds them into something very new and very memorable.
"Umbrella" starts the album off very similar to the way Radiohead started Kid A off with "Everything in its right place," slow majestic and building, but never quite peaking out. Chris Gunst tentatively sings evocatave lyrics, which are at first heavily distorted, but with each verse, the strings swell ala Bjork and his vocals become clearer in the mix.
"Anywhere Anyone" features Mia Doi Todd. The lyrics sound like snippets of other songs spliced together into a cohesive whole. The song itself is beautiful, swirling almost-trip-hop that sounds a bit like Massive Attack in a major key.
"Pillowcase" is an atmospheric instrumental which sounds a bit like Garbage-era Autechre and segues into "Fear of Corners," which is just...incredible.
You could make comparisons to Autechre (especially in the rhythms, which never seem to settle on a downbeat) or Squarepusher, and some folks have compared it to Timbaland's mix of "Try Again," but it's distinctly its own timid beast. It opens with brooding, disjointed bass drum patterns, and at two minutes, the hi-hat comes in and lets you know where the pulse is while strings remniscient of "Twin Peaks" saw away sullenly in the corner. It's highly atmospheric and haunting, with just a hint of menace.
Crowd noise and drums in the next room open "Suddenly is Sooner Than You Think." Meredith Figurine sings over a feedback loop and sparse bass until the music swells and crests into a heavily treated accordian (yes...) sample that *has* to be one of the coolest things I've heard in a long time.
The title track is another great instrumental that starts off with what sounds like poorly grounded machinery humming. The hum finds a pitch and becomes a chord, sparse but effective bass comes in, Oval-style skips seep in around the edges, and then clean acoustic guitar samples glide the track out.
"Why I'm so Unhappy" is another mind-blower. Rachel Haden from That Dog sings what's already a mournful song, and in the second half, her vocals are spliced and fed back through over more glitch, focusing especially on a distorted soaring two-note sample of her voice which has the same effect as the Rabbit in the Moon remix of "Precious Things."
"Fireworks" is a Richie Hawtin-style instrumental, which although nothing special compared to the rest of the album, works well as preparation for "(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan," which is an honest-to-god pop song, and a great one at that.
I don't know who Benjamin Gibbard is, but his delivery is great in an '80's synth-pop sort of way. The song is uptempo, sarcastic and catchy as hell...reminds me of Magnetic Fields with better production and slightly malfunctioning equipment. The rhythm completely breaks down for two measures in each chorus, but the effect actually adds tension and release rather than distracting.
"Last Songs" closes out the record with skipping acoustic guitars over a beautiful, almost '70's prog-rock sounding string melody and a drum loop that seems to fade in and out of the mix imperceptively.
So, yeah...bits of Autechre, Oval, Radiohead, Massive Attack, Magnetic Fields, Eno and alot of other stuff. Sounds awful when I describe it, but taken as a whole, this is one incredibly beautiful *album* that holds together as a whole without a single weak track. The approach is very similar to some of His Name Is Alive's work. I've probably listened to it over sixty times in the few weeks I've had it, and it has yet to get old.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A Musical Glitch 29 Oct. 2002
By "christophercabin" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Jimmy Tamborello's ability with electronics is wonderful, like Autechre and Mum and touches of Massive Attack are hinted at. What sets him apart from the legends is his fresh sound and an underlying embracing of pop textures. "Umbrella" is a pretty little ditty with Beachwood Sparks singer Chris Gunst dropping in a few lines with slight shifts in tempo. "Anywhere/Anyone" strikes out as one of the albums best tracks with the dark eno-esque rising yet depressingly low waves that crash below poet Mia Doi Todd's tear welling voice as she confesses "How Can I love you if you don't love you self". It's devastating and thats the only word for it. Dntel finds it's most Autechre-like track within "Fear of Corners". The moody slithering tempo that's interrupted by floating drum machines is a fine reminder of how good electronica music can get on its own terms, even without vocals. "Why I'm So Unhappy" stakes its claim as the 2nd stand out of Life is Full of Possibilities. That Dog's bassist Rachel Haden's vocals are miraculously complimentary to the eerie, barely pop skit skats that Tamborello sets up as some kind of musical version of the board game Mousetrap. It's alive with musical surprises and doesn't let your attention dwindle. While "Fireworks" finds itself mutating Daft Punks dancefloor sound, Tamborello finds his masterpiece in "(This is) The Dream of Evan and Jaron". The staticy beats layered with what sounds like a bass flatlining and what wind on another universe sounds like wraps Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard's melancholic voice. You'll feel a clench of your heart as Gibbard yells "I won't let go" and the release doesn't come till his last pattering plead of a telephone "ringing off" as static covers the grave he has nestled into. This is what electronica music can do and it's a wonderous pleasure watching such a young man do these things. And the simple fact that this happened with one man, one machine and some vocals, is a testament to music's power.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
BRILLIANT 12 April 2005
By D. J. Richardson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This album is just about perfect. I had reviewed this album earlier, before I understood it completely, and gave it four stars. I am compelled to re-evaluate - four stars just isn't good enough.

How an artist could combine the talents of multiple singers, yet still complete a full sounding and personal piece of musical art is beyond me. But it has been done here. I think what I love best about this cd is that it successfully relates heartfelt music and human emotion with seemigly "lifeless" electronic instruments. The result: a serene, hauntingly beautiful soundscape that washes over the soul.

"Life Is Full Of Possibilities" DNTEL says, and the songs explore this concept by presenting ambient-like sounds in a fashion that demands attention to every passing moment, heightening the experience of living with a introspective and somewhat somber flavor.

The music, to me, gives the feeling of an ambulance ride (much like the cover might suggest) which makes me imagine a person who is close to death, perhaps by some tragic accident - a stroke of bad luck, per chance, or ill-fate... and this person is seeing life for what it is through memories of missed oppurtunities and finding a new appreciation for life through this very moment - a moment that might not last, which gives new meaning to the last song, entitled "last songs" - as if all will not end well and someone is saying good bye to life itself - the motion picture ending to one's life.

The album starts out with the fantastic "Umbrella" - "You can turn the world upside down, like an umbrella, but it wont keep you dry." - the song begins through crackling electronic sounds. People can "turn the world upside down" in many ways - but one thing is certain - no one is safe from harm, from love; even. Life is going to throw you curve balls that you cant prepare for (You aren't going to "keep dry"), no matter what safety precautions you take to living your life.

The 2nd song is the absolutely beautiful "Anywhere Anyone" - which questions "how can you love me if you dont love yourself?" A feeling of introspection accompanies a soft musical journey - an awareness, that "a-ha" moment of clarity (which comes at times of great distress or disaster?).

Song after song dives deeper into introspection and sadness until I find that I have hit a meditative state that is close to sublime. I wont go into each track, they just need to be explored and I bet everyone could derive their own personal story as to the point and meaning to these songs.

If you enjoy this cd, I beg you give DNTEL's band, Figurine, a listen. It is different in scope, but much of the joy exists in each track of both cds: "Transportation + Communication = Love" and "Heartfelt."
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
So heres my take 16 Sept. 2003
By Matthew Gross - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Ever since give up came out I've been tracking Jimmy's catalouge in reverse, and so far this is my favorite. Personally, I love glitchy techno more than anything and between this and the latest Prefuse 73 album my roommates just about ready to shoot me. It would be unfair though to say that this album is for glitch nuts. It appeals to fans of Autechre and Postal Service alike. This is immediately infectious upon the first listen and reveals level after level of melody and percussion on each subsequent spin. Believe me, this is not your average obtuse IDM album.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Out Of Nowhere Comes Brilliance 4 May 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
"Life is Full Of Possibilities" is a landmark release of American electronica and is perhaps the most exciting CD I've acquired in the past year.
(Previous years included CDs such as BoC's Music Has The Right To Children and Steve Reich's Music For 18 Musicians.)
Dntel weaves a wide range of influences into a cohesive and utterly fresh whole. The album is in turns trip-hop, funky electro, indie rock, ambient soundscape, classical guitar. In sum, it is none of these. It is new.
Others have commented on the various tracks and their possible influences. I'm surprised no one has commented on the texture and tactile feel of the album. Noise of every variety is Dntel's palette: pink, white, feedback, distant room noise, scratches in vinyl, percussion in reverse. Surprsingly, Dntel has a keen sense for harmony and eeks out subtle tones from these sounds. The result is a remote swirling void of beautiful sonority.
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