Evocative, haunting and expansive, TEN is the nom de plume of Leeds resident Dominic Deane, whose sprawling instrumental music lies somewhere between post-rock and much of the ‘modern classical’ composers who seem to be inhabiting the Erased Tapes label these days. Although nominally a solo project, TEN have drawn in other collaborators, to the point where they have resembled an amorphous collective of sorts, with the band in their live setting swelling to a large number of members at various times (incorporating a whole string orchestra in the process), and at other times only being a duo, or even just Deane on his own.

TEN first came to attention with the 2009 album ‘Journeys’, which fused burbling electronic elements with drones. The follow-up EPs, ‘Lowlands’ and ‘East of The Elm’, however, went in a different trajectory, mostly eschewing electronics for a much more organic, pastoral sound, with acoustic guitar, piano, and string instruments to the fore. As with the austere work of the Cumbria-based musician Richard Skelton, these evocative instrumentals are stunningly beautiful and confident sounding in places, conjuring up the bleak landscapes which dot some of the North of England’s countryside, documenting those places that lie in between the area’s cities. In the meantime, the band has toured with the likes of Esmerine (featuring members of post-rock juggernauts Godspeed You! Black Emperor) and LA ‘ecstatic electronics’ duo Lucky Dragon.

Pennyblackmusic found time to chat with main man Dean about how TEN operate.

PB: How did TEN form, and who is in the band currently (or was in the past)? I understand that you are split between Leeds and London. Do you consider TEN to be a band or a solo project?

DD: It usually depends on people’s availability. I have been known to do the odd solo performance in the past, but prefer to play with a full line-up these days. But that's not always possible - we just have to adapt for each show.

PB: Your sound varies a lot, from the mostly synthetic–sounding compositions in ‘Journeys’, your debut album to the ‘Lowlands’ and ‘East of the Elm’ EPs, which have a more organic, analogue sound. Was this a conscious decision or did it happen organically?

DD: It's definitely been a gradual progress which has development naturally over the course of each record.

PB: Where has the band toured since forming? And what was it like supporting Esmerine and Lucky Dragons?

DD: We had the pleasure of touring around the country, and have been lucky to play across Europe several times. We got to play with Esmerine at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, which is one of our favourite venues. We also played with Lucky Dragons at the amazing Cube Cinema in Bristol - that which was definitely one of our highlights of last year.

PB: On your website it says that ‘Lowlands’ was inspired by “the nature sounds of the Fens” (in eastern England). Can you say a bit more about this? Does landscape often affect your music?

DD: I was born in the Fens, so it feels relevant to my music. I draw inspiration from bleak and desolate environments.

PB: Who are the American band ‘Finneyerkes’, with whom you released a split EP? Can you tell us something about labels such as Cathedral Transmissions, Owls, Heat Death Records, and Mumur Records, all of whom you’ve been involved with in releasing records?

DD: I think Finneyerkes spilt up a couple of years back now - I’m pretty sure those guys are not up to much these days, but we're really glad to have done that split on Heat Death Records. I think most of the labels have been very supportive to us over the past couple of years. We appreciate them all.

PB: Thank you.

TEN will be playing the PennyBlackMusic Bands’ Night, which will also feature the Galileo 7, Dave Harding (Richmond Fontaine) and Ten, on the 16th March at the Brixton JAMM at 261 Brixton Road, South London, SW9. 6LH.

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