Dntel

Early Works for Me If It Works for You

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From the glitchy, careening beats and hauntingly melodic synth flutters of Early Works for Me If It Works for You's striking opener "Loneliness Is Having No One to Miss," it's clear that Jimmy Tamborello, in this early phase of his electronica career, was taking his cues from the towering British figures at the forefront of 1990s IDM: Autechre, Aphex Twin, ยต-ziq, and so on. At the same time, perhaps ascribable to his Californian context or his emo bass-playing background, his tracks lack the distancing austerity and arty abrasiveness that mark much of those artists' work, instead embodying, in embryonic form, the elements that would become hallmarks of later Dntel releases: an understated melodic sweetness, hazy, dreamlike textures, and above all an undeniably human, organic warmth. These qualities tend to be somewhat overshadowed here by playfully fidgety beat programming, which doesn't necessarily play at cross-purposes so much as it forms a striking counterpoint to the underlying moodiness, with results that aren't nearly as meandering and restless as they may seem at first. A superb aural research project from a student of the abstract electronic greats, and a fine start to an enjoyably inventive career.