Combs has a long-standing interest in dance music. He's been spotted in the booth at DC-10 and on the dance floor in Miami, and in 2009 he appeared on a playful (and very much of-its-time) collaboration with DJ Hell. His affiliation with Gerber began when he used one of the Israeli's tracks in his Last Train To Paris album, released in 2010 under the name Diddy Dirty Money. This proved the catalyst to a studio partnership, and a collaboration has been in the works for at least three years. Gerber said the album was finished back in 2011. One tune, "Tourist Trap," slipped out a couple of years back, then everything remained quiet until the release of "My Heart" last month.
Now the full album has been released as a free download. 11 11 positions itself as a headsy afterhours record. The result, however, feels glossy but short on inspiration. There are no curveballs. And rarely is there a feeling of two creative minds teasing out a middle ground between their respective sounds.
Too often 11 11 is emotionally overcooked—see the cloying synths on opener "Never Walk Alone," or the grandiose beatless intro to "I Hear Her Calling Me." Combs's vocal turn on "Floating Messiah" ("You gotta believe in something / I believe in her / You think I'm talkin' about a woman / I'm talking about God, or a higher being") rubs awkwardly against Gerber's horns and arpeggios. "Angels" sounds like a pitched-down (and forgettable) trance record, while tracks like "Let Go" and "Indian Summer" simply go on for too long.
Gerber does pull a couple of strong productions out of the bag. The snares on "Lifted" create a feeling that's slinky yet propulsive, and the Eastern riff on "Terminal K" worms its way through the gaps in the bassline. But beyond those two, it's only the previously released tracks—"Tourist Trap" and "My Heart"—that display the kind of swagger you'd expect from such larger-than-life personalities. Listening to 11 11, Combs's words about the record being "something new" and "one long journey, one long emotion" smack of empty rhetoric. Not all odd couples enjoy happy relationships, and this unlikely duo have served up an album that's limp and forgettable.