Leeds/London outfit Ten are led by Dom Deane, who started the group originally as a solo project. ‘East Of The Elm’ is the third EP by Ten and certainly sounds like the fully formed work of a band. That’s not to say this music is over-produced in any way. For herein are great moments of subtlety, imbued with nostalgia and emotion.
The title track emerges from a dreamlike fog of field recordings and rustic guitars to begin a journey rich in pastoral atmosphere. ‘Heart Beat’ is the only track to feature vocals but it’s a mere murmur of a female which forms an additional layer to the dense framework of mournful strings and sedate percussion. ‘Adrift’ seems to flow in to darker territory; the guitars suggesting sadness or even danger on the horizon. The danger soon subsides though; ‘Paper Fragments’, thanks to its elegiac piano melody, is full of elegant despair whilst the alt-country guitar for final piece ‘Little Tree, Big Heart’ is just as gentle.
Some may argue that a mere fifteen minutes of music seems criminally short for an ambient record. Yet the range of moods, rhythms and emotions covered is brilliantly varied.