Nov 1, 2012

Dntel - Aimlessness [2012]

Times changed; Dntel, less so. Aimlessness, his third album of new material, arrives without context, scene, or convenient narrative. Like Possibilities, the album is a mix of instrumental and collaborations with guest vocalists. In 2001, this meant artists like Gibbard, the dude from Beachwood Sparks, and Mia Doi Todd; now it means Baths and Nite Jewel-- probably the closest kin Dntel has in the contemporary landscape.
Here, though, it's the instrumentals that hold up best. Dntel's sound is of the Hummel figurine variety: highly detailed but essentially small. Adorbs, you might say. Jazzy, house-influenced tracks like "Bright Night"-- tracks that might sound huge in someone else's hands-- are recast as pocket-sized miniatures. About three quarters of the way through the overlapping, Philip Glass-style keyboard patterns of "Puma", the track drops into total silence for a few seconds, then flashes dramatically back to life with a Moog solo. It sounds sort of like a mosquito.

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