Ten
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Ten

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The best kept secret in music

Press


Ten are a little more musically measured and poised, opening up slow-motion worlds of blue-ish and silver hues (well matched by their projected floating jellyfish visuals - dramatic but not distracting) and gradually evolving harmony. Fragments of narrative-like melodies break in and out - see the nylon string guitar parts, accordion interjections and harmonium lines - but lightly-bowed viola and keys dominate, drifting through moments of dissonance as they interweave. Perhaps even more impressively, they deal with minor technical malfunctions with ease and wry smiles, never damaging the hushed atmosphere they've concocted - Leeds Music Scene


With album art of a brown house set against a wintery blue-grayish sky, the Lowlands EP could not have come at a better time. The artwork sets a perfect mood for the album; its subdued nostalgic hues help it to serve as colorful prelude to the music therein.

England's Ten is an ambient/experimental group that relies on guitar, violin, and piano for its pallette. Stylistically, the music also contains elements of folk and classical music, as poignantly exhibited in “The Winter Light” and “To the Skies.” The album’s production is quite remarkable, and the instrumentation seems to change in magnitude from song to song while still retaining a warm, cinematic atmosphere. Given this, it is a fine release for those who enjoy sparse, slow music. Although such an environment may be typical for the genre, the unity between the music and the song titles makes this all the more palpable. Indeed, the Lowlands EP could even be regarded as the soundtrack for one’s solitude.

Opening track “The Absence” includes strange sounds and noises that seem to resemble amorphous guitar and strings, as if the instruments are discovering themselves and finding the right balance for the journey. This journey makes sense, then, when a semblance of a guitar progression can be heard at the end of the track. Continuing this progression, the next song “The Winter Light,” arguably the release’s best, uses guitar and violin to create an engaging, cohesive experience. Likewise, a similar (but reversed) trend is apparent upon listening to the piercing noises and mechanical-sounding sonic flourishes of the closing track, “Surrender.” Experimentation aside, “Surrender” seems to capture the sadness and misery that accompanies the concept for which the song was named; it ends the album in a bleak yet poignant way. In a sense, the music creates atmosphere masterfully, in that the instrumentation—regardless of its accessibility—preserves the album’s musical flow.

Lowlands captures the listener's attention with ruminative noises and instrumentation. Whether it is the acoustic guitar of “The Winter Light” or melancholy piano notes of “Low Cloud,” the album seems to illustrate the virtues of slow-moving music by using space to reveal the sonic beauties of all-too-familiar instruments (guitar, piano, violin, etc.). Such observations come to mind when listening to “Low Cloud,” in that the piano notes are lightly interspersed among melancholy background strings. In “To the Skies,” the two seem to change roles by placing the strings at the fore and the piano in the background. Perhaps the strong point of the record is that, for music that tries to affects a bleak, spacious atmosphere, Lowlands seldom succumbs to the sprawling forays that often typify ambient albums. Even seemingly abrasive numbers like “The Absence” and “The Surrender” are nonetheless well-placed because they serve as the album’s opening and closing tracks.

Lowlands is an engaging record that should appeal to fans who like the lighter, glacial side of ambient music. Like many albums in the genre, Lowlands takes time and familiarity to enjoy and appreciate, but this release is well worth a listen.


- The Silent Ballet


Having witnessed Ten’s mainman Dom Deane perform solo a couple of times I was very much looking forward to hearing the band’s latest release. Employing a varying number of guest musicians in their live performances, the current line up consists of Dom Deane and Jonny Fryer who craft beautiful tracks that drift into the ether before returning to a cosy fireplace while rain patters on the window outside. The follow-up to last year’s critically acclaimed Journeys (Under The Spire) promises something abit different with a cosy, more homely sound created through a greater emphasis on acoustic instruments over pure electronics.

Flitting between delicate yet immersive soundscapes and acoustic instrumentation, Ten’s approach is a road well trod yet there is something that lifts this duo a notch or two above the rest. Their latest release Lowlands is a tribute to the natural sounds of The Fens, beginning life as a barely perceptable found sound drone that brings to mind a cold winter breeze before opening out into the gentle melancholy of Low Cloud, comprising sparse piano, cello and the continuing drifting soundscape.


The immersive bowed cymbals and strings of Surrender bring a somewhat darker edge to the work. An underlying menace lurks somewhere among the ambience, never allowing the slowly drifting sounds to settle in any one place. This floats on to the more gentle The Absence, consisting of gradually layered bowed sounds and guitars that bear that familiar hint of shoegaze-like noise yet remaining very much in the realm of electroacoustic experimentalism.

These Hollow Nights brings with it an almost painful simplicity, momentary pauses between each delicate chord offering a chance for reflection to the listener. The appearance of a guitar in the last minute or so almost imperceptably adds another texture that reinforces the cello and piano parts without interfering with the overall sparseness of the piece. This is where it’s beauty lies, if any more were to be added, the spell would be broken. With an almost music box quality, the piano of To The Skies, contrasted with the bowed cello notes makes for a charming piece that winds it’s way around the listener like a clockwork figure. Again, it is the track’s simplicity that does it justice here, capturing the attention through an enchantingly brittle melodic motif.

Triumphant closing track Winter Light is a beautiful arrangment of layered cello, percussion and guitar that brings to mind a more orchestral Sparklehorse, verging on the better side of Americana and yet remaining very English in it’s sound. That feeling of yes it’s raining outside but maybe that’s not a bad thing after all. Overall, Lowlands is a beautiful piece of work that shows a maturity of musicianship where less is most definitely more, highly recommended.

As well as digital formats, the EP is available as a limited edition CD encased in a lovely screen printed sleeve.

- Fluid Radio


Next to have a go at charming the growing crowd were natives Ten who performed their lullaby soundtrack to a projection of jellyfish ponderously bobbing about underwater. Wading through soundscapes created mostly by a Nord synthesizer, tape recorders, a solitary cymbal and a Bina harmonium (adding a significantly apt briny tone), Ten sent waves of soporific sound across the becalmed listeners. A surprise came at the end of the set when the lead man had to announce that they had finished a couple of times; perhaps in order to jolt the people from their slumber or perhaps because it felt as if the music had become a semi-permanent part of our consciousness.

- bearded magazine


Discography

1st album Journeys - (2009) Owls (Australia) / Cathedral Transmission (UK)

spilt EP with Finneyerkes - (2009) Heat Death Records (UK)
Lowlands EP - (2011) Murmur Records (Japan)

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Bio

Ten are an experiment/ambient band from Leeds and London England and have supported Mogwai, Vessels, Codes in Clouds and Declining Winter (Hood) and have toured about the UK, Scotland, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and American including a heading slot at London’s Famous Union Chapel Church . Ten have self releasing a new six track EP titled 'Lowlands' - its a homage to the nature sounds of the fens, its a blend of acoustic sounds mixed with classical instruments. This EP was released on all digital formats and Limited CD on Monday 18th of October. The band will be re - releasing The 'Lowlands' EP on Japanese Label 'Murmur Records' on the 9th May.

"Highly recommended" - Fluid Radio

"Very pretty" - Wire

"Soothing electronica" - GodIsInTheTV

"pulsing bedroom electronica with a chilled out kinda vibe" - whisperinandhollerin