Thursday 24 Apr

IndianGiver - Understudies

There’s a difference between being derivative and being inspired by something, a line a lot of artists can’t seem to find — or at least don’t care to.
04/22/2014 | Comments 0

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Making it count

Making it count

Instrumental rock band El Ten Eleven refuses to be categorized, evident in its continually evolving subject matter.

Joshua Boydston February 12th, 2014

El Ten Eleven with Bronze Whale
8:30 p.m. Sunday
The Conservatory
8911 N. Western Ave.

Photo: Fonald Photography

Too often, instrumental music gets wrapped up in technical gymnastics, a jumble of exhaustive and endlessly intricate guitar riffs and complex percussion patterns that stack up like a failed game of Tetris.

For every Explosions in the Sky or Godspeed You! Black Emperor, there are a dozen acts more suited for musical mathematics than songwriting. That might be the reason El Ten Eleven is quick to swat down any labeling as math- or post-rock; it favors pure, sweet and simple pop music over cold arrangements or robotic precision.

“We don’t really think we sound like a typical post-rock band. In fact, we don’t listen to that music at all,” Kristian Dunn said. “Post-rock shows, in our experience, are really boring. Our shows are usually head-bouncing, emotional danceathons.”

Playing Sunday at The Conservatory, El Ten Eleven has never had a problem leading with its heart instead of its head. The live show is labyrinthine in procedure only — the methodical looping, signature double neck guitar/bass and the pipeline of effects pedals boil down to the most effective means of recreating organic electronic sounds. It’s all warm and inviting at its core.

That has been apparent since its leadoff single, “My Only Swerving,” from the duo’s 2005 self-titled debut. But the heartfelt sentiments behind the songs’ titles have steadily grown, going from “I Like Van Halen Because My Sister Says They Are Cool” and “Music for Staring at Ceilings” to “Birth” and “Lullaby.”

Transitions, the duo’s latest full-length, surrendered fully to matters of the soul, its mood and direction shaped by personal strife and success, including a pair of divorces, a remarriage and the birth of a child.

“It’s always seemed to be the right thing to do for us. Every record we’ve made has this sort of thing going on to a certain degree,” Dunn said. “The style of our music seems to suit the subject matter.”

For Emily, the act’s new EP released this February, acts as a tribute to a fallen friend and the individuals that helped the band get where it is today. Though the songs were written “with no agenda,” the emotional place they grew from had them feeling like a thank-you card to the people held closest in the pair’s lives.

And it’s only getting more intimate from here, with the entirety of El Ten Eleven’s upcoming, yet-to-be-titled album pegged to be dedicated to Dunn’s first child.

“The theme — my daughter — came first, and the songs are being written about that as we speak,” Dunn said.

“This next record will have no double neck, either. Stay tuned.”

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