PHOTOS COURTESY OF ROZETTE RAGO, OSCAR MORENO, AND OLIVIA MCMANUS.
Los Angeles-based musicians Kristian Dunn and Tim Fogarty have created hypnotic instrumental music since they formed El Ten Eleven in 2002. While the duo’s soundscapes have developed certain signatures over the course of six album releases (e.g. the use of a double-neck bass), the addition of a vocalist is an entirely unexpected turn. Yet today we premiere El Ten Eleven’s first-ever effort with a singer: “Unusable Love” featuring Emile Mosseri.
“Unusable Love” is the first song off of Dunn and Fogarty’s EP collaboration with Mosseri by the same name, which is due out August 18 via Fake Records. Finding an artist that suited this project was a challenge; Dunn and Fogarty tried a series of vocalists they knew before learning about Mosseri through their manager, who also works with Mosseri’s New York-based band the Dig. “He sent us their new album, which was unreleased at the time, and something just drew me to Emile,” recalls Dunn. “We sent over a few instrumental tracks for [Mosseri] to chew on. He sent back a rough demo of what would eventually become the track ‘Delicate Friend.’ We were blown away and it was on from there!”
Dunn’s ideas were taken to “a new level,” he says, when Mosseri became involved—both lyrically and melodically. “Unusable Love,” in particular, takes aim at being the subject of affection, but not being able to receive it in a meaningful way. “[It’s] the idea that we all at one point or another have felt love from somebody that for whatever reason we were unable to use properly,” explains Mosseri. “It’s the gap between knowing that somebody loves you and being capable of fully receiving the nutrients from that love and transfer it into happiness or fulfillment.” The track is accepting of this dim reality, but somehow remains hopeful—a testament to how effervescent, layered instrumentals and downcast lyrics can come together in a stimulating song. “It’s really exactly what we wanted,” says Dunn of both the song and EP Unusable Love. “We were pushed out of our comfort zone a bit and I think it was really good for both of us.”