Getting Lost In The Joyful Spectacle of Musical Prowess Of El Ten Eleven The Los Angeles Duo's Performance Hit The Mark With Absolute Precision
BUFFALO, NY- In the midst of their highly acclaimed headlining tour throughout the U.S., the ambient, Los Angeles based, post-rock duo El Ten Eleven brought their innovative and entrancing sounds to Buffalo on Valentine’s night. Comprising of Kristian Dunn (guitar/bass) and Tim Fogarty (percussion), El Ten Eleven is an interesting dynamic between two extremely talented musicians who really know how to piece together a unique auditory musical experience. Since the release of their 2004 self-titled debut album, both Dunn and Fogarty have been known for the rich and expansive soundscapes that seamlessly mesh a multitude of genres. Deploying melodic synths, airy guitar lines, meaty bass tones, and smooth drums, El Ten Eleven is a perfect encapsulation of what engrossing instrumental music should be.
In truth, it’s difficult for me to pinpoint a favorite LP from their discography, but their latest endeavor is certainly a forerunner. Released back in August of last year, Banker’s Hill is El Ten Eleven’s 7th full-length album and definitely their most innovative yet.
Although their first LP will always be at the top for me, Banker’s Hill is a fulfilling, thirst-quenching sequel. Each track beautifully captures the various moods that Dunn and Fogarty are looking to express. Moods that reveal their uniqueness. The orchestra-like production makes it hard to believe that El Ten Eleven is only just a two-man team, and to see them bring those sonics to life as a two-piece left me speechless.
Opening the night with a rendition of “Phenomenal Problems” from Banker’s Hill, Dunn started off with a familiar, tasty guitar riff which leads Fogarty into laying down a nice groove. Using a double-necked guitar with a twelve and six string neck, Dunn used his rig to loop the opening rift with some new chords and a bass line. His technical mastery is amazing to watch unfold. Together, they created a musical experinece that, from a listener’s perspective. felt like there were at least 5 to 6 people on stage.
With Dunn running loops and sweet synths from his rig while also shredding on his guitar, Fogarty kept the grooves moving while also triggering electronic beats from his SPD sample pad. This led well into their second song of the night, “Three and a Half Feet High and Rising”. This track is my personal favorite off of El Ten Eleven’s latest album because of how energetic it starts off. With Guitar lines and shreds that remind me of U2’s ‘The Edge’, the track transitions back over to a more subtle classical route with ambient tones. With killer stage production that utilized light panels that illuminated Dunn and Fogarty from behind, the music and visuals were a perfect representation of the atmosphere El Ten Eleven was looking to convey.
To shift the focus away from just Bunker’s Hill, Dunn and Fogarty played some deep cuts from the earlier discography as well. Tracks like “Jumping Frenchman of Maine”, “I Like Van Halen Because My Sister Says They Are Cool”, and “Connie” made an appearance which was definitely appreciated by the devoted crowd. Whether it was playing a more laid back tune to get a good sway going on or kicking it up to have the audience jump and dance along with Dunn, El Ten Eleven proved once again that there are still unique and original musical acts out there in this oversaturated pop market.
If you have not gotten a chance to catch these gents perform in your area, you absolutely owe it yourself to do so. Dunn and Fogarty create such a joyful spectacle of musical prowess that it is really easy to lose yourself in the magic that they are creating. Personally, I hope the Los Angeles duo continues to make music and push the boundaries of their craft because their fans, new and old, are definitely appreciative of it.