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A review of...
Yukon Youth by Ten
Third album from Leeds-based drone wizard Ten
Inspired by the true story of a two-week trek across Alaska's magnificent landscapes, Yukon Youth sees Dominic Deane take his Ten project to equally impressive highs. The swirling drones of Tim Hecker are the other obvious reference point here, in fact, after doing a bit of research I uncovered the fact that I've probably seen Ten performing live as support for Hecker in Leeds (as reviewed here). Although that gig was such a smokey blur (literally, not in a exotic cigarettes kind of way) that i'm not 100% sure which of the acts I actually witnessed. They all sounded good though. Anyway, Yukon Youth is a gripping and intense journey, wrapping you up in its otherworldly ambience.
The quiet intensity of the record reaches its climax on "BD" which seems to take on a whole raft of influences, from art-house/horror soundtracks to Nick Cave (the melody - or equivalent - reminded me of "Push The Sky Away") and bundles them all into a five minute package of glorious doom. The album then descends into complete breakdown with final track "YOYOYO" which is like a David Lynch nightmare, and by that I mean Inland Empire-scary, not your mild-dose Mulholland Drive-scary. The track also features a rare appearance of percussion which, in the context of the record, comes across like a final act plot twist (a decent one, not a shoehorned one) rather than the standard rock-band staple that we know and love.
It's actually quite hard to listen to Yukon Youth at all without thinking of film or film soundtracks, such is the dark and stark imagery that the music evokes. But i'd go further than that in saying that this is the soundtrack to Britain in 2016, I listened to it whilst reading news headlines about "bloody foreigners" taking our jobs and Nigel Farage's second coming as UKIP boss and it synced up perfectly. Dark music for dark days.
"VZ" - pushes the deep drone and adds glimmers of glacial melody, which is perhaps unsurprising given that this record was inspired by Deane's aforementioned Alaskan trip.
"CA" - foreboding vibrato guitar and some violin (or some haunted sound that sounds an awful lot like a violin) make for a sad sad song.