BY MICHAEL TOLAND
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.
DOWNLOAD: “Eagle Turning,” “If I (Was),” “Ember”