Thank you for your interest in the Halo, the first handpan made in the United States!
The Halo is Pantheon Steel's contribution to a new twenty-first century family of instruments and sound sculpture, descended from the steel pan, which we call the handpan.
Handpans are resonant steel instruments played by hand in the lap, designed to engage the body and mind of the player in a new way, marrying rhythm, melody, and harmony in a single flow. Rich in timbre and very expressive, and often with no "wrong" notes to play, handpans are made for free improvisation and meditative exploration. There as many styles of play as there are players.
While unique in its specifics, our own Halo was inspired by a revolutionary and evolutionary twenty-first century sound sculpture invented in Switzerland, and familiar to many of our customers. Originally we used this space to express our personal gratitude to that sculpture's creators, but they have asked that we not mention it by name. Out of respect to their wishes, we have removed those remarks and other references throughout our website, but our gratitude remains the same and ongoing.
With the Halo we believe we demonstrate respect for the original's creators by not making a copy of their unique sculpture. Instead, over the past five years and more we have developed our own custom processes and materials in pursuit of a creation with a new voice. We feel we realized that vision in the Halo, an instrument with a soulful and rich timbre of its own, one capable of a powerful sonic experience unlike any other.
The Halo has three expressions, each expressing a different pitch range, yielding a very distinct feel and sound. The Halo Genesis (our first offering) takes advantage of the fact that the Halo is larger and heavier than the sculpture that inspired its creation; this supports its lower register (a baritone B or C, to the original's D tenor and F, G, and A altos). The warmth, depth, and projection of the Genesis creates a brand new and utterly unique tonal, and physical, experience for players.
The Halo Genesis' first sibling is the Halo Stratus, made in a much higher register (F# and G). Crafted with the same techniques as the Genesis, but with a personality all its own, the high-voiced Stratus can sing a more ethereal, sometimes tinkly, solo on its own, or, join its brothers in duets.
A third sibling has more recently joined the concert: the Halo Cirrus, made in a middle register between the Genesis and Stratus (in the keys of Eb and E). The middle path provides a balance between the gravity of the Genesis and the chime of the Stratus; higher pitches leave room for more tone-fields (true as well on the Stratus).
Halos of all types are made in an ever-growing number of tunings, as we strive to create instruments with a wide palette of emotional moods and colors, and delve deeply into the possibile musical koans composable with a mere 7-11 notes.
We hope you take the time to hear the Halo speak for itself, by listening to some of our instruments as collected on the Sound Models page. Further samples are also available at the Internet Archive, and new instruments and sound models often appear first on our YouTube Channel.
To learn more details about the Halo, and the admittedly difficult path to obtaining one, please visit our FAQ.
Thank you, once again, for your interest in the Halo. Creating it and bringing it to the world has been a wonderful journey of discovery for us, one that is only just beginning. We hope we have returned the gift this new instrument form has given us all, and created a worthy companion to the musical innovation of this century.
Kyle Cox & Jim Dusin
Pantheon Steel, LLC
Copyright (c) 2014 Halo > Pantheon Steel