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A review of...
The Fog Bank by Ten
Ten is the solo moniker of Dominic Deane, a musician, artist and academic from Leeds who has also worked with Deadwall and Sunwolf. Two years have passed since Ten's previous release Yukon Youth. That album was inspired by a trek around the magnificent landscapes of Alaska, and the album seemed to capture some of that glacial calm and intensity in its exquisite electronic ambience (it even achieved the coveted (and fitting) #10 spot in CrackleFeedback's 2016 end of year list). Now he's back with a new seven track collection The Fog Bank which, as far as i can tell, doesn't have the same back story, but has a similarly gripping tone.
The album opens with "Express The Void", a bit of swirling noise and interference which actually sounds quite foggy, it sort of sweeps in all around you in a disarming and disorientating manner. The confusion is only broken up by dashes of echoing guitars and some slightly menacing organ. "Tommorowsland" adds more melody but there's still a distinct sense of unease in these recordings. That unease probably reaches it's zenith on "Loci" which is seven minutes on discordant synth, organ and some rudimentary percussion reminiscent of Scott Walker's The Drift.
There is only one real exception to the downbeat in this collection, "The Age of Today" includes some lovely Spiritualized style droning organ, along with a rare (lightly) motoring beat. It's minimal and hugely effective and it's one of those songs which you wish could go on for much longer (it comes in at a neat 3:16).
Listening again to Yukon Youth I can see that it had more than a few glimmers of hopefulness mixed in amongst the stark ambience, but this record seems to seethe with hopelessness. It's dark, dark stuff, but it's beautiful darkness, and most importantly for a musical endeavour, it's thoroughly listenable. Enjoy the sadness.