With an introspective, other-worldly appeal, Pantaleimon’s recent release, The Butterfly Ate the Pearl, defies the weight of ego.
All nine songs on the album were written or co-written by Andria Degens, the first of her offerings as, “Pantaleimon.” Sung in an ethereal unison with such instrumentation as harmonium, dulcimer, sansula and tampura along with guitar, keyboard and pedal board, Degens’ work clears an inner realm that reflects patterns of spiritual timelessness.
From, “Ember,” the six-minute entry point, to the finale, “Summer Reigns,” elemental imagery of fire, earth, sky and water imbues the album with a sense of presence. An hypnotic drone of instrumentation is swept over with languid vocals that diffuse musical intensity to a distance with Degens’ compassionately observant lyrics.
I stand in the midst of the land
No trees surround me
Above me flies an eagle
I am wide open
Sea all around me
No see, no see
Oceans of streams
No see, no see
Born in England, Degens’ childhood was spotted with frequent moves due to her father’s work as a navigational engineer. Later, she would spend time in travels of her own through Southeast Asia and elsewhere that leave on her music traces of the world she has walked.
“During the writing process, I usually spend a lot of time outdoors traveling and a lot of time inside my head,” Degens says. “I’m jotting things down; a line, a word or phrase. I empty my mind. I listen to other music, too. Parallel to the process, I’m playing and playing on whichever instruments I’m taking a fancy too – harmonium, guitar, dulcimer – and then something ‘clicks.’ Somehow the two elements come together.”
Written and recorded in studios from her native England to New York and Italy, The Butterfly Ate the Pearl, co-produced with Hugo Race (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds), also includes the work of musicians Will Oldham (Bonnie Prince Billy), James Blackshaw, Otto Hauser (Vetiver, Espers), Jay Darlington (Oasis, Kula Shaker), Steve Finnerty (Alabama 3), Argentinian classical-composer Polo Piatti and others.
“I work with people I have an affinity with, so I never dictate what they should play,” Degens says. “When the music inspires them to play notes and sounds that come from the heart, then there is no need to dictate. If there is no inspiration there is no love, no connection, and to me music is all about love and connection.”
Psychedelic overtones and patterns reflective of nature lend the album an eclectic place, out of time.
“I don’t think my music fits any particular genre,” Degens says. “I think that’s a good thing – keeps everything wide open.”
For more on The Butterfly Ate the Pearl, go to www.pantaleimon.com.