Heart of the Sun
Tall Trees EP
[Abaton Book Company, www.abatonbookcompany.us]
What I know about Pantaleimon is that it serves as a moniker [name she most likely borrowed from St. Panteleimon - whose name means "all merciful"] used by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Andria Degens. What I also know is her music pours out onto the page like a bleeding heart. Music she holds within her was only released after she took an extended trip around the world. It was then she realized the need to give birth to what we can now all take part in. I've not followed her musical whereabouts since the beginning when she was a floating member of Current 93. All is not lost as her latest batch of releases confirms she is someone whose endearing, restrained talent is something to cheer about.
Her second album "Mercy Oceans" is a sort of catharsis that one needs to undergo during ones lifespan. It's music that is whispered. Notions are suggested while Degens' heart bleeds all over the speakers. This is as naked as music gets - where the soul is left barren, where possibilities exist for a better and greater tomorrow. One would like to believe that people will start their own private revolution upon hearing these songs. Degens has a keen ability to hold ones attention. Each phrase is uttered with utmost attention to details. Each breath is filled with meaning and holds weight. With each minute, one gets a sense of floating mere inches above a large body of water in a state of weightlessness. Every time she strikes the dulcimer, plucks the mandolin, or adds drones to the mix, one is struck by the wonder of it all. With guests such as Baby Dee [harp], Isobel Campbell [cello, piano, glockenspiel and vocals], Keith Wood [guitar], the music takes on the aura of near hallowed beauty. "We Love" comes across as one of the most striking examples of Degens at her peak. The vocals are sung with graceful lift, while the whispering dulcimer and cello melodies send shivers down the spine. Later, on "Born Into You", the string instruments and drones add up to bliss as Degens sends waves of shimmering cascades from her mouth. The crowning peak comes on "I Am", where the vocals are austere, dulcimer particularly hypnotic and the piece ends with dead silence. "Mercy Oceans" is a hill of peace and calmness spread across time and space.
"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.
This brings us to Andria's latest offering, the very limited EP "Tall Trees". Mastered by Andrew Liles and produced, recorded and mixed by Degens, the release is only four songs in length but what striking pieces these are! Starting off the proceedings is an instrumental "The Warming". Its hypnotic beauty is amassed in gentle swaying melody that ends much too abruptly. "Dance of the Honey Bees" makes everything alright again. With Michael Tanner on dulcitone, guitar and Nick Palmer on accordion and harmonium, the melody is quickly established, which then serves as the propeller to Degens tender murmurs. "Sing Night Swallow" is a gentle drone piece that features ghostly vocals and generous slabs of harmonium. The release ends much too quickly with "Tall Trees". The only piece on the EP to feature actual decipherable lyrics, the mood is haunting. Yet, there is hope. There is light! Her name is a mystery?Pantaleimon.
- Tom Sekowski
+ The Third Estate - Agonistes
+ Judy Henske & Jerry Yester - Farewel Aldebaran
+ The Peace - Black Power
+ Gianluca Becuzzi/Fabio Orsi - Muddy Speaking Ghost Through My Machines
+ V.A. - Musical Brotherhoods from the Trans-Saharan Highway
+ V.A. - Bollywood Steel Guitar
+ B.Fleischmann - Angst Is Not Weltanschauung
+ The Clock Machine Turns You On - Vol. 2
+ Speedy J - Red Shift
+ Housemeister - Who Is That Noize - Remixes
+ Christian Fischer - Bryzant Games
+ Jean-Claude Ades - Finally!
+ Transmission - Sublimity
- - - - - - - - -
+ Chiwoniso - Rebel Woman / Hilde Marie Kjersem - A Killer for that Ache / The Alps - III / It's a Musical - The Music Makes Me Sick / Angles - Every Woman is a Tree / Marianne Nowottny - What is She Doing? / Los Angeles Electric 8 - Log Angeles Electric 8 / Gilbert Isbin / Jeff Gauthier / Scott Walton - Venice Suite / The Owl Service and Alison O'Donnell - The Fabric of Folk / Max Eastley / Graham Halliwell / Evan Parker / Mark Wastell - A Life Saved by a Spider and Two Doves / Zbigniew Namyslowski Quartet - Live at Kosmos, Berlin / MIJ - Yodeling Astrologer / Gregg Porter - Final Final EP / Acida - The Greatest Hits / Joel Futterman / Alvin Fielder / Ike Levin Trio - Traveling Through Now / Random Touch - Duologue / Lisle Ellis - Sucker Punch Requiem / Junk Box - Cloudy Then Sunny / Claudio Parodi - A Ritual Which is Incomprehensible (to the smile of Pauline Oliveros) / Matthew Shipp Trio - The Multiplication Table / Howie B vs. Casino Royale - Not in the Face / Ascend - Ample Fire Within / Luomo - Convivial / Keiji Haino / Masami Akita - Kikuri - Pulverized Purple / Stereo Lisa - Anno Onno Monno / Christophe Bailleau & Neal Williams - On Soft Mountains We Work Magic / Henriette Groth / Lotte Anker - Du Fugl
+ Steinski - What Does It All Mean? 1983 - 2006 Retrospective
+ Anthony Pateras / David Brown / Sean Baxter - Interference
+ Ann Magnuson - Pretty Songs & Ugly Stories
+ Thomas Feiner & Anywhen - The Opiates - Revised
+ Lux Nox - S(M)S
+ David Grubbs - An Optimist Notes the Dusk
+ Jamie Lidell - Jim
+ Carl Michael von Hausswolff - Perhaps I Arrive - Music for Ataturk Airport, Istanbul
>> Pantaleimon - Mercy Oceans - Heart of the Sun - Tall Trees EP
+ Muslimgauze - Jaagheed Zarb - Jah-meArab
+ Arsenije Jovanovic - Galiola - Works for Radio, 1967-2000
+ Radio I-Ching - The Fire Keeps Burning
+ Pedal - Pedal
+ Various Artists - Teaism - Music Inspired by The Art and Culture of Tea / Various Artists - Kalk Seeds - Karaoke Kalk Compilation No. 2 / Various Artists - Sesame Street Playground / Various Artists - Peter Grummich Plays Staubgold - Dinner Music for Clubbers / Various Artists - Polish Village Music 1927-1933 / Various Artists - FabricLive 42 - FreQ Nasty / Various Artists - Shapes 08:02