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Dntel breathes new 'Life' into classic album


Dntel Photo Credit: handout

Time and technology make fools of us all, but Los Angeles-based musician Jimmy Tamborello has an uncanny knack for crafting cutting-edge electronic tracks with an ageless pop feel.

This is especially true of "Life Is Full of Possibilities," his debut album as Dntel, released in the shadows of 2001.

Though it is best known for the song "(This Is) the Dream of Evan and Chan," a collaboration with Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie that presaged their sterling work as the Postal Service, "Life" remains a superb album in its own right, emblematic of the era when the glitchy whine of a modem became music.

In October, Seattle-based indie label Sub Pop is set to release a deluxe 10-year anniversary edition of "Life" featuring a newly remastered version of the original album, along with assorted remixes, B-sides and outtakes.

amNewYork spoke with Tamborello.

What prompted the reissue of "Life"?
Originally, the album didn't come out on vinyl, so when it was getting close to having to re-press, I wanted to correct that mistake. And the 10-year anniversary was coming up, so that seemed like enough stuff to merit a reissue. I also stumbled on a batch of outtakes that I liked, which encouraged the "deluxe" part.

Were there things that you were tempted to change?
No, it would be really hard to go back in and change stuff ... because most of the files have been lost or scattered since 2001.

How do you retool your tracks for the live show?
For the old songs, I had to rebuild them almost from scratch using the files I could manage to find. It would have been really tedious to try and make them sound exactly like the original versions, so a lot of them ended up more like remixes.

Both "Life" and the Postal Service's "Give Up" have since come to define a particular electronic pop sound. Have you ever felt hemmed in by that?
I never regret anything about making either of those records. I would say that I rarely like stuff that's inspired by them, though. The genres they fit into aren't ones I'm drawn to very often anymore.

If you go: Dntel performs at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Thursday at 9 p.m., 66 N. Sixth St., Brooklyn, 718-486-5400, $15.


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