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The Butterfly Ate The Pearl

For her fifth offering, Pantaleimon, aka Andria Degens, delivers nine songs of dark, dreamy psychedelia with the help of co-producer and former Bad SeedHugo Race.

The Butterfly Ate The Pearl explores the light dancing in the shadows of darkness. Degens’ soothing vocals and uplifting lyrics shine through the music, which, at times, can be solemn and droning, though never outright morose. Fire, forests, flying animals and astral mysticism all play a key role in shaping the stories, providing metaphors for moments that can only be expressed philosophically. In the opening “Ember,” perhaps the most rock-based song on the album, a doubter is called upon to renew their faith and embrace the flame of love, while the title track explores a loss of innocence that could also be traumatizing, and “Morning Star,” a duet of sorts with Will Oldham, describes the confusion of physical and spiritual transformation. “Summer Reigns,” the only instrumental, sees Degens and Oasis‘ live keyboard player, Jay Darlington (who also appears on “Ember”), create a spacey soundscape fit for Hawkwind. When it’s over, there is a sense of completion, that the story has been told in full without leaving anything out.

Though Pantaleimon revels in shadows, her music is never overly goth-y in the cartoon sense. These are songs of truth and beauty that can only be told by one who has learned from experience. Kiss the hand of wisdom…and learn. _Chuck Foster, Bigtakeover magazine

“This is an interesting and riveting collection of soundscapes, melody and other-worldly sounds; melodic, experimental, warm and never abrasive.  Her voice is a wonderful mix of gentle, ethereal and seductive and the overall combination is a win.From the sweet sounds of “Ember”, the opening track to “Elevation Of A Dream” to “If I (Was)”, the flow is consistent; the aural canvas is richly colored and there is a soothing feeling that envelopes the listener.  Granted, this is not my usual fare, but I have easily been converted and now look to hear more of Andria Degens’ work. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED” – ROBB ROSS, POP DOSE

“We’re not usually ones to jump on bandwagons, but we have to admit that we’ve been kinda drawn to the artists out there in the twenty-first century who are reviving the cool sound of progressive bands from the 1970s. But we’re not talking about artists like Yes and King Crimson here. Andria Degens (aka Pantaleimon) writes music that is reminiscent of some of the more peculiar and abstract underground European artists from that era who never had any hit songs. The tracks on The Butterfly Ate The Pearl are moody, subtle, and abstract…and they have cool threads of psychedelia added to create some otherworldly cuts you won’t soon forget. Degens is a multi-instrumentalist but she doesn’t weave her music in traditional formats. Her songs have cool flowing qualities and she has a wonderful smooth voice that really makes her music work on a variety of levels. This is an exceedingly interesting album full of magical tracks. Our favorites include “Ember,” “Another World,” “Morning Star,” and “Summer Reigns.” Way cool stuff… TOP PICK.” – BABYSUE.COM

“Andria Degens isn’t a name I’ve ever heard before but she’s the creative force behind musical project Pantaleimon. This album is going to be difficult for me to describe. It’s truly inspired and so above my head in places that I experienced a transcendent period of time while listening to it. The closest comparison I can come up with is this: Depeche Mode and a heavenly choir of angels. The Butterfly Ate The Pearl is equal parts minimalistic genius and complex, divine rhythms. The overall feeling I had when this was playing was wistfulness. That slightly sad, nostalgic feeling we all feel on occasion. While this is not the kind of music that I normally listen to I did enjoy my journey through this piece. In my experience, this is a unique album full of music that’s destined to thrill and mystify audiences everywhere.” –              JIM DODGE, MASS MOVEMENT MAGAZINE

“Degens has thus far avoided mainstream critical attention. On the evidence here, this is nothing short of criminal. Apart from possessing a wonderful voice, she also demonstrates a keen ear for subtle yet layered arrangements, and a knack for compositions that are, at times, incredibly moving.The lilting vocal melody, coupled with the gentle swell of soft, subtle strings at the beginning of  ‘Ember’ is reminiscent of ‘She Moved Through the Fair,’ a traditional Celtic folk song that’s been performed by everyone from Van Morrison to Boyzone via All About Eve, Fairport Convention and Sinead O’Connor. But it soon grows, blossoming into a rich electric folk-rock song, buttoned down by a strolling bassline and meandering fiddle. But Andria’s voice remains the focus and focal point of the dreamy number that sets the tone and pace for an album that’s delicate yet solid. The title track is a clear standout: haunting, evocative, musically and emotionally deep – at once impenetrable and resonant, Degens’ voice drifting in a sonic haze, while the sparse and brooding ‘Eagle Turning’ succeeds in captivating the listener in spellbound silence for the entirety of its six-minute plus duration.There are tracks which could readily be described as straightforward folk-orientated singer-songwriter fare, although there’s often a slight twist, as on the slightly psychedelia-tinged ‘Elevation of a Dream’ that calls to mind the spirit, if not necessarily the sound, of Syd Barrett. ‘If I (Was)’ has a vintage quality, accentuated by its almost muffled production that stands out in the context of the crisp, clinical production values of so many contemporary albums mass produced. Production-line music this most certainly is not.Herein lies the real appeal of The Butterfly Ate The Pearl: it doesn’t sound ‘of its time’; it doesn’t sound overtly vintage or retro either, but is more out of time, or, indeed, timeless.” – CHRISTOPHER NOSNIBOR, PARAPHILIA MAGAZINE

“Andria Degens returns half a decade hence her ‘Heart Of The Sun’ collection for Durtro with nine divine new songs on ‘The Butterfly Ate The Pearl’. Accompanied by musical enhancement from Will Oldham, James Blackshaw, Otto Hauser (Vetiver/Espers), Jay Darlington (Oasis) and Steve Finnerty (Alabama 3), among others, Andria’s voice is a comforting, enchanting presence melding modes of Appalachian and British Isles folk with a rich grounding in psychedelic ambient musics. She conjures a classically pure and modern minimalist sound refreshingly free of cloying cliche, balancing diverse instrumentation – Andria plays dulcimers, guitar, keyboard, Indian harmonium, bass, samples, loops, pedal board, FX, vubra, bells, tambourine and sansuka – with her collaborators’ input in gauziest hues of pastoral electronic bliss. Spellbinding is an over-used phrase (we’ll hold our hands up) in these circles, but the suspension of disbelief and sanguine dreaminess of this album wholly warrants the description here.” – BOOMKAT

“British singer and songwriter Andria Degens has traded under the name Pantaleimon for several years and four albums now, gaining the respect of outsider and experimental artists everywhere along the way. Her fifth LP The Butterfly Ate the Pearl includes guest turns by several of her notable pals – James Blackshaw appears on a couple of tracks, Will Oldham makes a ghostly appearance on “Morning Star” and Kula Shaker keyboardist Jay Darlington, Vetiver/Espers drummer Otto Hauser and producer/Australian rock legend Hugo Race pop up all over. Ultimately, however, the responsibility for the record’s strength is on Degens’ shoulders. Guitars, keys, strings and, most importantly, drones swirl like batter around a mixer, as Degens drizzles her velvet alto into the blend. “Ember,” “If I (Was)” and “Elevation of a Dream” flow as beautifully as intimate psychedelia gets, while the percussionless “Another World,” “Morning Star” and “Diamond River Run” float across the ether like glowing eyes emerging from the mist. Most enigmatic and enticing is “Eagle Turning,” a Dead Can Dance-like track which places Degens’ voice on a bed of strings and just lets the mystery be. Strange and gorgeous, The Butterfly Ate the Pearl is an excellent calling card for an artist to whom attention must be paid.”- MICHAEL TOLAND, BLURT MAGAZINE

Mercy Oceans

This is the first Pantaleimon album since her 1999 debut, and nothing about it is hurried.  Over gently plucked acoustic guitar, bouzouki, dulcimer and cello, Degens trills simple, devotional paens to God and nature. Her voice, often double-tracked or harmonised with guests Isobell Campbell and Baby Dee, is delicate but far from vulnerable. Anne Briggs, Vashti Bunyan and Bjork’s Vespertine are touchstones for an album of humble joy. UNCUT  ***

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