El Ten Eleven is a Los Angeles-based instrumental rock duo formed in Los Angeles, California in 2002, consisting of Kristian Dunn and Tim Fogarty.
What separates El Ten Eleven from their musical peers is that they are only two musicians on stage creating pounding landscapes of sound with no laptops or sequencers. Dunn switches off (sometimes mid-song) between a double-neck bass/guitar and a fretless bass, while his feet dance on an extensive floorboard of looping devices and effects pedals. He plays everything live, loops himself and juggles all the layers of tracks on top of each other. Fogarty switches between traditional acoustic drums, roto toms and electronic drum pads, usually within each song. To add to the insanity, Fogarty will occasionally loop himself as well.
The densely-textured, atmospheric, instrumental sounds of their first two full-length albums (the self-titled debut El Ten Eleven and their follow-up Every Direction Is North) have been praised alongside the work of such post-rock elite as Tortoise, Explosions in the Sky, and Sigur Rós. With their third album, These Promises Are Being Videotaped, the duo took a leap in a new musical direction more akin to the work of dance-rock envelope pushers Ratatat and Soulwax.
For their fourth full length, It's Still Like A Secret, released on November 9, 2010, the duo took the best elements of their first three albums and combined them into something extraordinary. "On each record we learned a lot about what works and what doesn't,” Dunn explains. “This is the perfect amalgamation of everything we do.”
Like their last few LPs, the band has opted to self-release this one on their own label, Fake Record Label, despite labels pursuing them. "I've had seven record deals, major and indie, and it never seemed to really work," reveals Dunn. "As soon as [we] started doing things on our own without a label is when we found success. That's what the song, Ian Mackaye Was Right, is about. Doing things yourself."
Testament to this DIY ethos is the pair’s unyielding touring regime. A duo of road warriors, they have built up their fan-base the old fashioned way: by getting out on the road and playing their asses off. They have looped around America more times than they can remember and although they have yet to leave the confines of North America, their music has been heard loud and clear across the globe. “We have so many fans from all over the world,” exclaims Fogarty. “We get emails from Moscow, Estonia, Australia, Malaysia, Japan…it’s amazing!”
Their fifth album, Transitions, was released on October 2, 2012.
Transitions Remixed was released on April 2, 2013. It features remixes of songs from Transitions by electronic artists Com Truise, Slow Magic, D33J and Steed Lord, among others, and reached #13 on the CMJ college radio chart.
On February 4, 2014 the band released For emily, a three-song EP dedicated to a friend who died the previous year. The word Emily is purposely not capitalized as that is the way she would write her name.
On July 18, 2014, the duo announced an Indiegogo campaign to fund the pressing of new vinyl records for their original album El Ten Eleven, Transitions, and a new pressing for For emily. For this fundraiser, fans could order any of vinyls for these three albums, the original test pressing records for these albums, or pay to be on the band's official guest list for life. Also, the For emily EP included an additional bonus track not available digitally called Favrile. The fundraiser ended on August 3, 2014.
This far-reaching fanaticism is likely due to the universal appeal of the music they create. After all, wordless music needs no translation. Perhaps because of this, the band’s songs have been heavily used in the realms of television, film and advertising and continue to be highly sought after. Of significant note are two highly acclaimed PBS documentaries - “Helvetica” and “Objectified” – both of which were nominated for Independent Spirit Awards. These films, directed and produced by Gary Hustwit, were scored by Dunn and prominently feature El Ten Eleven’s music. The band has just signed on to score his third film, "Urbanized," which was released in 2011.
For more info about El Ten Eleven, visit their official website, www.elteneleven.com.
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