Panteleimon (translation: "all merciful"), otherwise known as Andria Degens, is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist who sings and plays guitars, keyboards, Indian harmonium, treated dulcimers, bass, vibes, bells, sansula (kalimba), and other instruments while seeing to samples, loops, and processes. The Butterfly Ate the Pearl, her fifth release, is the most psychedelic and progressive to date, blending Dead Can Dance with Black Sun Ensemble with Dzyan with Vetiver with Fern Knight with Wolff & Hennings with Nico with Deuter with, well, quite an array of influences and sounds, all of them slowed down to an effulgent Gothic tempo invaded by eerie terrain and spatial waves of light and darkness…mostly darkness.
Speaking of Vetiver, not only is the release vaguely mindful of that band's Thing of the Past CD (antique-ish, sturdy, etc.) but Otto Hauser appears along with a pretty impressive cast of sessioneers: Hugo Race (also co-produces), James Blackshaw, Jay Darlington, Steve Finnerty, etc. The collision of Eastern spiritualities in Butterfly is not accidental either, as Degens in her early 20s sold everything she owned and traveled thru South East Asia to study such esoterica. Her vocals, always floating in a dense set of atmospherics, come across more as chants than trad Western encanting, and her compositions are more a matter of patches of starfields torn from nether reaches and set into exotic Earth locales than any purely terrene manifestations.
There exist simultaneous loveliness and forbidding exotica throughout Butterfly, all of it integrated through a mutant folk strain pulsing with the kind of sidereal ornamentalia Gong so favored in its early days, atmospherics a little too hastily discarded in so much modern work but not here. One feels like Ophelia in its presence, drowning in sweet madness. So don't look to this release to satisfy primal ass-kicking rock 'n roll wonts or goopy high school love paeans, instead wait for depression to descend and then revel in it. Let evening creep into the living room, hunch back in your chair, eyes glazed over, and let go of the office, the television, the radio, the damned telephone, and wander through dark pastures, looming forests, understanding that we have emotions for a reason, even when they're not the most pleasant of things.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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