El Ten Eleven, the SoCal duo whose 2020 triple-LP Tautology series presciently and ambitiously put the arc of human life to music, return with a joyously unrestrained six-song album, New Year’s Eve (March 4, Joyful Noise Recordings).
“New Year’s Eve is a reference to guarded optimism about what is to come. At the time, it seemed like our national divisiveness might be waning and the end of the pandemic was near. But of course that’s not how it turned out,” bassist Kristian Dunn said of the album’s inspiration. “That’s what New Year’s Eves are. You think it’s gonna be a fun night, but usually it’s disappointing at the end.” The outfit preview New Year’s Eve with the release of a new song and accompanying video for “Meta Metta.” The performance clip was filmed at The Cube in Los Angeles.
Over the course of 20 years and 11 albums, El Ten Eleven has continued to redefine the potential of bass guitar and drums. With an arsenal of pedals, labyrinthine arrangements, and a deft use of looping, Kristian Dunn (bass) and Tim Fogarty (drums) create two-man symphonies. With New Year’s Eve, the duo melds electrifying disco grooves with their tried-and-true experimental rock atmospherics.
Throughout its six tracks, New Year’s Eve romps through infectious grooves, Rototom blasts, electrifying breakdowns, and meditative reprieves. Along with the pedal-fueled trickery and musical prowess fans have come to expect from El Ten Eleven, New Year’s Eve channels Dunn’s lifelong love of disco. Channeling memories of a childhood spent spinning Niles Rogers and Chic while his peers blared heavy metal, Dunn imbued his own emotions onto the delightful excess of disco.
“I’m a huge fan of disco music, and I mean that completely sincerely,” Dunn says of the Sonny DiPerri (DIIV, Portugal The Man) produced album. “I’m a bass player, so the bass is often the driving lead instrument of disco music, so that appealed to me–that’s just in my blood. This love was always in me, and it was time for it to come out. The album is kinda funky and kinda dancy, but with my sad boy Kristian Dunn crap on top.”