Manifesting themselves into a ball of pure ambient tranquility, Ten have tip-toed down stream into vast seas of chilled electro, unspeaking percussion and cool vibes. Floating softly in a crosswind of piano, acoustic guitar and graceful harmonies, Ten offer a new pasture in the search for mitigation and peace.
Rocking in the same boats as bands like Mogwai, Efterklang and Bonobo, the sounds of classical acoustic ensembles, characterised by violins, pianos and glockenspiels, challenge the more contemporary and manufactured sounds of electronica and chillwave. ‘Track 4’, for example, on Ten’s Demos, splices the delicate timbres of classical acoustic guitar, violins and electric guitars against a composition of soothing waves and mellow vibes.
In stark contrast, Ten’s second offering, the Triangle of Hope EP, pushes a harsher, more taut and provocative sound. Boasting synthesised flourishes, electronic drones and marveled instrumentalist stress, tracks like ‘Television’ and ‘Form and Fiction’ elicit sharper and more moody trails of thought. Anchoring a sound that is woven in the same style as Nine Inch Nails and a rawer, more stripped down Suuns, Ten’s quiet vibrations are moving obstacles from their path.
‘Life Cycle’ mystifies a dense wall of distortion and chorus, whilst sustaining a bass-correlated electronic arpeggio. Evolving from their more classic breadth from their Demos, Ten provoke ‘mood for thought’, and a soft twinkle into the rippling pools of ambient music. Whisperinandhollerin described Ten as “pulsing bedroom electronica with a chilled out kinda vibe”, whereas Terrascopic called the Leeds and London based band a “cloud-filled electronic pulse”. Evidently, Ten are being noticed and are stirring up a map of thought and credibility from various critics.
Despite the admirers and directions that are open for Ten to explore, there comes a defining negative amongst all of their positives. Despite the cutting sways of mood, intensity and a distinctive gentle side to the coin, Ten’s undeniable potential is at risk of going astray. While their Demos breathe an air of tranquility and peace, Triangle of Hope boils a concoction of anger, tension and tenor. Inevitably, the song writing contrast, albeit a minor one, may prove too great for the band as they move to defining their ‘sound’. Failure to close this gap between their music, and truly establish the musical direction and characteristics to define them as a band, may see all of their hard work and potential simply circle down the drain.
Enjoyable as both records are, the bands personality needs nailing down in the right place, or a stronger, more prominent harmony between the two sides of their timbre. As things stand, Ten really are a case of black vs white. Behind all of the subtle melodies and timid harmonies, the song writing is still to be desired. Ten’s disposition, as well as their creative potential, is still in question.