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The whole thing started when Clodagh Simonds (Fovea Hex) asked if she could remix ‘Under The Water’. Of course, I said yes. When she came back with such remarkable music, and casually mentioned, “Oh, why don’t you ask a couple of other pals to do remixes?”. it gave me the idea for this album.
It is not simply a remix album, but a collaborative project. I chose friends whom I also admired as artists and who inhabit a creative space that are connected in some way and on some level to me and to each other. I gave away my ‘babies’ to go out to play with the likes of Andrew W.K., Stephen O’Malley, Lilium, CarterTutti, Colin Potter, Andrew Liles, The Bricoleur, Plinth, Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo (Larsen) and of course Fovea Hex. Even though I had an inkling that the mixes would fit together as one coherent whole, I had no idea just how much they would complement one another.
There are also some previously unreleased tracks including a cover of Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s ‘Even If Love’, which didn’t quite make it on Mercy Oceans for aural reasons. However, this cover version has been gently manipulated and star-mangled by Susan Stenger (Band Of Susans).
Another of the unreleased tracks is our first collaboration with the group Strings Of Consciousness. They wished to remix one of the songs from Mercy Oceans. I had no more songs left from the album so we created a new song just for this record. I am very happy to have them join us for the ride…
– ANDRIA DEGENS/Pantaleimon
Heart of the Sun comes in a jewel case with artwork by Beth Carter, photography by Yolanda Reeves and full liner notes.
Heart of the Sun
Pantaleimon – Heart of the Sun Pantaleimon is essentially Andria Degens, a solo artist of Irish-Dutch descent residing in South England. “Solo” does not however preclude her ability to collaborate with other artists. Heart of the Sun, Pantaleimon’s most recent release, is chock-full with guests remixing last year’s Mercy Oceans. The list comprises such illustrious names as Andrew WK, Stephen O’Malley (SUNN O))), Burning Witch etc.), CarterTutti, and Fovea Hex, among others.
Despite the colourful list of invitees and its “remix album” status, Heart of the Sun is stylistically as consistent as its all-pink artwork. Well produced, minimalist and altogether with much lighter folk tendencies than the original, it sounds like a chilled-out record on the surface. But beneath the meditative, hypnotic synth washes, sparse instrumentation and Degens’ reverb-soaked voice, there’s a very dark undercurrent indeed. “Chilling” would be more apt an epithet than “chilled-out”. At first, it’s inconspicuous, but the songs quickly develop a heart-wrenching and even scary effect – especially if experienced in one piece. In that sense, Heart of the Sun is an emotionally dangerous record, and not for those whose nerves might falter.
There are occasionally uplifting moments like new songs “Today for Shore” and “Another Day Tomorrow”, both played on the Appalachian dulcimer that made Mercy Oceans a merrier collection than this one. But these moments are placed in a manner that they could be likened to a repeatedly disappointed glimmer of hope in a desolate, barren post-nuclear landscape: “All the birds have flown away into the light of the sun, into the dark of the night.” Lyrics like these acquire an unprecedented poignancy in Pantaleimon’s new clothes – Southern Records
– Southern Records www.southern.net/southern/news/?id=508
We loved Pantalimon’s ep Cloudburst from last year but somehow we managed to miss the full length that followed, Mercy Oceans. We will for sure make sure to try to track that down but for now on Heart of the Sun, we get to hear many of those songs retouched, reworked, remixed. The sparse, delicate hazy folk of Pantaleimon remixed? Don’t worry there are no cheesy beats, awkward turntables or sloppy hands on any of these songs. In fact the first time we listened we had no idea that any of these songs were in fact remixes. Maybe it’s because we hadn’t heard any of these songs in their first incarnation. But wow, we were drawn in immediately. Andria Degens is making such beautiful and haunting music as Pantalimon that we almost hesitate to mention that she’s married to David Tibet of Current 93, as her own music more then stands on its own. But if folks who haven’t heard her before and are C93 fans check this out then the more ears that hear Pantaleimon the better!
While the sound is similar to the music of folks like Fursaxa, Grouper and Christina Carter, there is much more immediacy, focus and a connection to folk history in the songs of Pantaleimon. While less hazy then some of her peers there is a seemingly sonic mist hanging over her songs which stops you in your tracks. There is also a rustic quality in these stripped down songs that makes us think of Bridget St. John and Hala Strana recording a record together. Plenty of folks help out by adding sounds and ambience but all do so with much subtly and respect. Who knew Andrew W.K. could be so subtle, his tasteful keyboards are heard on the record’s opener, and the list of other contributors/remixers reads like a who’s who of the musical underground (Colin Potter, Andrew Lilies, Stephen O’Malley, Fovea Hex, Lilium, etc). Heart Of The Sun is becoming the record we listen to both early in the morning and then late at night as we surrender to sleep. So beautiful!
– AQUARIUS RECORDS, USA
Heart Of The Sun is a remix album based on original Pantaleimon material from Andria Degens’ 2007 album Mercy Oceans. The list of remixers ranges from the extremely well known to the downright obscure, but all contributors manage to preserve the essence of the original music to some extent, even if structurally the songs themselves might be radically re-imagined or thoroughly overhauled. Former Wolf Eyes member and present-day stadium rocker Andrew WK kicks off the album with a reworking of ‘At Dawn (Vogel)’. In every respect it’s a long, long way away from ‘Party Hard’. Staying very much within the parameters of Pantaleimon’s droning doom-folk sound, he weaves a blend of ominous synth tones and soft, layered vocals. Next Colin Potter delivers a fresh take on ‘The Sun Came Out (Dawn Porous)’, sounding all very harmonious and almost Cocteau Twins-like, only for fellow Nurse With Wound contributor Andrew Liles to opt for a slightly more minimal approach on ‘All The Birds (Melting Canvas)’, resulting in a sparse, very aloof and detached sounding ambience. Other highlights come from StephenO’Malley, Fovea Hex, Plinth and CarterTutti, all of whom stay within the parameters established by Pantaleimon’s own mixes – two of which (‘Today For Shore’ and ‘Another Day Tomorrow’) appear here.
“Heart of the Sun” turns out to be more than just “Pantaleimon Remixed and Realised” as the subtitle suggests. Project came about when Clodagh Simonds [Fovea Hex] asked Andria Degens if she could remix one of the tracks from “Mercy Oceans”. Result was a shimmering remix of “Under the Water”, which sparkles with haunting stillness. The project also involved a new track – Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s “Even If We Love” – which was altered by Band of Susans’ Susan Stenger. There’s an inclusion of some new tracks especially crafted for the project. One of these is “Heart of the Sun (Shimmering)”, which was a collaboration between Degens and Strings of Consciousness. Its delicate start builds up to orgasmic guitar-harp-keyboard-laptop proportions, only to be pulled down again into a sea of string ether. Another surprising remix is one by Stephen O’Malley. His edge-sharp drone starts off rough, then stops for a couple of minutes to allow Degens’ vocal magic to filter through, only to break-out again in blistering fury. Larsen re-interprets “We Love” with much precision and care, while Lilium churn out a mesmerizing take of “I Am”. With each track, there is fresh beauty that is waiting to be unwrapped”.
– Tom Sekowski
CD ALBUM (GGM005)
1. Pantaleimon & Andrew W.K – At Dawn (Vogel)