Instrumental Duo El Ten Eleven Returns With "Secret"

posted September 26, 2010

Instrumental Duo El Ten Eleven Returns With "Secret"

Self-described as "the best elements of the first three records combined into something new," El Ten Eleven's forthcoming LP, "It's Still Like A Secret" (due out November 9th via Fake Record Label), marries the duo's densely textured post-rock instrumentals with propulsive percussion to startling effect. The band is currently revealing these new jams on their headlining tour, which kicked off last Monday in Austin to a sold-out room at The Mohawk, and will blanket the US for the next six weeks. Support for the entire run is being provided by the emerging electronic wunderkind Baths with the experimental multi-instrumentalist Dosh joining on as a special guest for a few weeks from Washington, DC to Salt Lake City. Up-and-comers Sister Crayon will accompany them on the West Coast dates.

What separates Los Angeles-based El Ten Eleven from their music peers is they are only two musicians on stage creating pounding landscapes of sound with no laptops or sequencers. Kristian 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, then juggles all the layers of tracks on top of each other. Drummer Tim 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. With more than 400 shows in America under their belts since they began their heavy tour regimen in 2005, these road warriors have more than perfected their sonic wizardry. It's a sight to behold.

Listening to the band's fourth LP, "It's Still Like A Secret," it's hard to imagine just two people recreating the ambitious, layered songs found within the 12-song collection. An amalgamation of everything El Ten Eleven is known for, the album is overflowing with rich textures, rumbling bass, driving rhythms, soaring climaxes and guitars that at times ring and at others emulate a synthesizer. While there isn't a note of singing to be found on the LP, the band's song titles such as "The Sycophants Are Coming! The Sycophants Are Coming!" and "Marriage Is The New Going Steady" hint at the breadth of emotions and playfulness found within. "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, El Ten Eleven began to find some real success. That's what our song, 'Ian Mackaye Was Right,' is about. Doing things yourself."

Like their last few LPs, ETE will again self-release this one on their own Fake Record Label. To help with the costs associated with making the album, their devoted fanbase went above and beyond by pre-ordering special packages offered by the band. Among signed CDs and lunch with the twosome, the options also included a $500 package that bestowed an executive producer credit on the album's artwork and a $750 option that offered the credit in addition to an hour-long helicopter flight in Los Angeles with licensed pilot, Dunn, to sweeten the deal.