Cloudburst PantaleimonCloudburst
  1. Cloudburst
  2. Crystalline Rain
  3. Ascension Of The Sun
  4. Numinosum

Release Details

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Date : June 1, 2007


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“Pantaleimon is the solo project of Andria Degens, who is perhaps best known for her lovely work on some of Current 93’s recent releases. Cloudburst, her second CD, is a delicately crafted masterpiece. St. Pantaleimon was the Orthodox saint of heavy rain and floods, but Cloudburst is a wonderfully inappropriate title for this mini-album, as it is suffused with both light and space. Andria plays dulcimer, bouzouki and tambura with a languid touch, eschewing the raw speed that most of those instruments’ handlers evoke in favor of glistening texture. Her notes hang, twisting in the breeze, and the vocals she offers on one track are reminiscent of Christina Carter at her most gravity-defying.”


“Andria Degens is based in Hastings, southern England, but the sparse clarity of her music as Pantaleimon seems to exist in its own unique, indefinable space. Three of these four tracks are crystalline instrumentals played on Appalachian dulcimer and bouzouki with a brittle, graceful sense of mood and spatial atmosphere. This is a kind of minimalist instrumental folk with spiritual undertones. The fourth track, “Numinosum”, is sung by Degens with a quietly centred intensity, somewhere between love song and devotional mantra, with a sedate, droning backing. Its vivid simplicity is, in its own quiet way, quite stunning.”


“Pantaleimon is the pseudonym of one Andria Degens, and unsurprisingly (given that she’s releasing on Durtro Jnana) she’s a Current 93 collaborator. ‘Cloudburst’ is her first release since 2002’s acclaimed ‘Change My World’ and is the proper release of a cd which came initially packaged with a hand-printed book late last year. History lesson over though, what’s important about ‘Cloudburst’ is to take it in without any pretentiousness or pre-conceptions as Degens makes music which is so effortlessly gorgeous it almost defies belief. There is an icy simplicity to her compositions, a fragility or frailty maybe, and this gives them a soft, melancholy feel which makes them almost impossible to forget. For some reason I am reminded of Jewelled Antler Colletive man Steven R. Smith or possibly fellow Current 93 collaborator Ben Chasny, but what Degens has done is bring a feminine touch to the masses of male-dominated free folk. I think it’s this femininity is what makes ‘Cloudburst’ stand out among her contemporaries, there is a brightness and an honesty, and much like Colleen did to the grim world of bedroom electronica, Degens has a same take on this masculine world. Apparently there’s an album due soon, but this EP is all totally exclusive material so the only chance you will get to hear it is here! Utterly entrancing stuff, buy.”


“Lush, spacious, mountain-flavoured folk guitar playing. This is reminiscent of Will Oldham’s ‘Ode Music’ album from a few years back. The Jessica Bailiff-esque final track is fitted with vocals and eastern drone effects – spectral and psychedelic stuff.”


“Pantaleimon is the moniker project from Andria Degens. Since her debut, 7 years ago, she has improved a lot in her expressions. While the almost plant-like loner conditions on this debut have let her spontaneously grow in consciousness, slowly adding more nutrition into her roots and feelings, this new release gave these roots more depth in feeling, sucking more life energy out of the water.

This is a more conscious, meditative and contemplative work, starting with a sad-and-beautiful, simple and clear melodic, fingerpicking guitar, instrumental, ending with this introduction into an echoing drone before the real, musical meditation begins in its full capacity. This will be carried by the silence, and sometimes with a few droning tones, while the melodic pickings rhythmically grow and develop itself, like grass blades that grow together in a family-like melodic series, while some of the picked out notes are echoing their rhythmic pulses into the silence, with their effect. The grass blades (as a collection of notes) could also be imagined like pitches, occurring like drops in flat water, that find their communications through the flat water, in a natural rhythm of appearances. The plants communicate through their common roots and with water, almost in silence, but with a content. This all thoroughly brings us to a more human condition of a mood, a bit more medieval in nature and more clearly melodic, and also more clearly with a few rhythmic droning strings. It is calmly spinning, enjoying the air, wind, and sun. On the last conclusive track the pickings change into the droning pulses of the Indian tampura, with a breathy vocal improvisation, ending in an OM meditation. (The last few seconds sadly have a few minor recording mistakes of distorted clicks, as if its inner nature of expression, and its peaks and vibrations could not be recorded fully, and goes beyond the reach of perception). Very nice…”


“Cloudburst is an ep which comprises of the first Pantaleimon recordings since the Change the World EP from 2002. It was released in a very limited edition of 105 copies in late 2006, together with a book of lyrics by Andria Degens. The book was handmade, in extremely thick paper and was an unusually beautiful release; this is the official release of it, in an ordinary jewelcase.

Three of the four tracks on Cloudburst were made for artist Susan Stenger’s ‘Soundtrack for an Exhibition’ where Stenger manipulated freely with the sound material. Degens therefore decided to release some of the tracks in all their nakedness, but during the process, she decided to shape Cloudburst like one conceptual piece, adding a fourth song, Ascension of the Sun, which was recorded around the same time as the rest of Cloudburst. The concept revolves around a journey from darkness towards enlightenment, and at last melting together with the world, and an abandonment of the self through love; most likely inspired by a mixture of Christian and/or Buddhist philosophy.

The first three songs are soft, introverted and calm, instrumental meditations over profoundly simple melodies. Pantaleimon refers both to Eastern musical traditions, as well as Appalachian folk music; different influences, which helps gives Pantaleimon their own distinct sound. It is, as usual when Pantaleimon is involved, a hypnotic experience in it’s minimalistic simplicity. The fourth track, Numinosum is the only track where Degens’ vocals feature, varying between fragile and strong, ghostly and extremely present. Here, the EP really takes off, while Degens’ through simple elements creates a work, which slowly grows stronger, and which is absolutely hypnotizing. One of the finest songs by Pantaleimon to date.

Cloudburst points toward Pantaleimon as one of the most interesting, original and moving names on the alternative music scene of today. There’s a full length album coming later this year: Cloudburst has only helped raise the already high expectations for that.”


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