P Y R E : N U M E N / M O N S : N U M E N

P Y R E : N U M E N is an ambient project that creatively explores the folklore and genius loci of the Pyrenees through field recordings, samples and original pieces.

M O N S : N U M E N uses the same methods, but with regards to mountain cultures throughout the world, outside of the Pyrenees.

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – The Case for Witchcraft in Andorra (2019)

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The first album from P Y R E : N U M E N is entitled ‘The Case for Witchcraft in Andorra’, and aims to represent Andorran witch-lore using the sites featured in legends. All field recordings have been recorded at these appropriate sites. This album is free to download here: <<The Case for Witchcraft in Andorra>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – The Hunt for Heresy (2019)

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The second P Y R E : N U M E N album deals with the Cathar mythos within the Aude/Ariege, and the Pyrenees, both in terms of historical facts and the ensuing mythos. This album is entitled ‘The Hunt for Heresy’, and the guest reading of Lenau’s  ‘The Albigensians’ on ‘Esclarmonde Surveys the Ravaged Land’ is kindly performed by Amanda Radcliffe. Download here: <<<The Hunt for Heresy>>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – The Midwinter EP (2019)

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The final offering in this seasonal return is ‘The Midwinter EP’ – two tracks conjuring rural life and the atmosphere of winter in Andorra, replete with field recordings and the sounds of livestock. One can download here: <<<Midwinter EP>>>.

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – Ethnographic Archives Series: Vol. 1 – The Bearn (2019)

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A new venture within the P Y R E : N U M E N project, the ‘Ethnographic Archives’ series seeks to present short collages of folksongs, dances and field recordings from individual cultural regions within the Pyrenees and beyond. The first instalment takes the listener to the Bearn region, where various chanted songs, reels and dances are represented. Free to download here: <<<The Ethnographic Archies Vol. 1 The Bearn>>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – A Human History of the Pyrenees (2020)

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The first P Y R E : N U M E N album of 2020.

Using a wealth of sounds and samples from forges, livestock, Iron Age horns, 17th-century military marches, Medieval cansos, forests, millstones, carts, 20th-century political hymns, 1970’s Occitan protest folk songs, regional chants, charcoal burner documentaries and everything in between, ‘A Human History of the Pyrenees’ is the most complex P Y R E : N U M E N album to date, and tells the tale of the various cultures, histories and crises of the Pyrenees from the Palaeolithic to the current day. Based on the Chapters 1 & 2 of ‘The Tears of Pyrene’. Free to download, as always, here: <<<A Human History of the Pyrenees>>>

 

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – Dead Winter Wassail EP (2020)

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The second EP and second P Y R E : N U M E N release of 2020 is a slight departure to the normal geographical focus of the project (i.e. the Pyrenees), however it acts as a short tribute to the eerie and rural folklore of the project creator’s home, Britain, and is an experimental paean to that land. Free for download here: <<<Dead Winter Wassail EP>>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – Masks, Mists & Mountains (2020)

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With this release, the P Y R E : N U M E N project delves more deeply into dirges and darkness, with six pieces relating to various masked rites from the Pyrenees, Cantabria and northern Portugal. A more droning effort, the aim is to conjure a primordial sound, elevated by various ethnographic field recordings from both film and first-hand experience. Enter the mists, mountains, and masked rites here, for free as always:

<<< Masks, Mists & Mountains>>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – Ethnographic Archives Series: Vol. II – The Ariege (2020)

 

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The second instalment in the mini-series of ‘Ethnographic Archives’ focusses on the Ariege, containing all manner of merriment and the somber primordial/medieval atmospheres of this mystical Pyrenean region. Free to download here: <<< Ethnographic Archives Vol. II – The Ariege >>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – Ethnographic Archives Series: Vol. III – Andorra (2020)

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The third instalment in the mini-series of ‘Ethnographic Archives’ focusses on the mountain nation of Andorra. Combining field recordings of nature and livestock, plus the national hymn, sardanas, extracts from Radio Andorra, church bells and Giant dances, this is an homage to Andorra created in the compulsory isolation of the Plague: <<< Ethnographic Archives Vol. III – Andorra >>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – Ethnographic Archives Series: Vol. IV – The Navarre (2020)

 

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The fourth instalment in the mini-series of ‘Ethnographic Archives’ brings you to the Navarre region, home of numerous noble French and Spanish houses, monasteries and the introductory Spanish section of the infamous pilgrimage route the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Appropriately this track is built around a Medieval spine, around which weaves a series of folk songs, field recordings and ambient soundscapes. Download here: <<< Ethnographic Archives Vol. IV – The Navarre >>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – Ethnographic Archives Series: Vol. V – The Val d’Aran (2020)

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Integral to the ‘Ethnographic Archives’ is that of language, dialect and patois. Thus is Aranese mixed among the folk songs, folk dances, rural ambiences and hymns mixed amongst this archive… download for free here: <<< Ethnographic Archives Vol. V – Val d’Aran >>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – A Hymn to Rural Wessex (Single, 2020)

 

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Nothing more than a hymnal to my own nostalgia of my dear Wessex, combining rural wisdom and traditions with ambient paeons. Feel free to ignore or download here: <<< A Hymn to Rural Wessex >>>

 

M O N S : N U M E N – The Pamirs (2020)

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M O N S : N U M E N was launched in 2020 to sonically expand beyond the borders of the Pyrenees, and in its own small way preserve/conserve the various folk traditions and music of various mountain cultures around the world. This being the inaugural release of M O N S : N U M E N, we present a single track thirty minute piece that takes you to the remote mountains of the Pamirs, a complex region that spans from Afghanistan through to the Himalayas, historically including Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Islamic cultures, lush valleys, barren mountainsides and all the various peoples that live therein. Free to download here: <<< Pamirs >>>

 

M O N S : N U M E N – The Himalayas Vol. I – Nepal (2020)

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With this release you are taken to the lush valleys, temples and villages of Nepal. Featuring various local processions, folk songs, chanting monks and the sounds of Nepalese nature, this will transport you to that remote mountain kingdom, a verdant jewel in the Himalayas. Free to download here: <<< Himalayas Vol. 1 – Nepal >>>

 

 

M O N S : N U M E N – The Himalayas Vol. II – Tibet (2020)

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In this, the ‘Himalayas Vol. II’ work, MONS:NUMEN escorts you into the monasteries and mountains of Tibet, far from the modern world. Crashing symbols, blaring horns, chants, droning synths and Tibetan folk songs take you far away into this ancient mountain land to a worldly Shambhala, where prayer wheels turn daily and prayer flags flutter in the winds that blow from Mount Kailash. Download here: <<< HIMALAYAS VOL. II – TIBET >>>

 

M O N S : N U M E N – Appalachia (2020)

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Turning our attention West, we move to the Appalachians, home of bluegrass, zithers, stills and mines. With this MONS:NUMEN episode you will hear countless pieces of Appalachian music, interviews with locals about moonshining and hard lives lived hard and even a old union song. Come visit this fascinating region, which stretches from the Great Smokies to the Blue Ridge: <<< Appalachia >>>

 

M O N S : N U M E N – Altai (2020)

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Straight from the Steppes and Altai mountains, this instalment features a great deal of throat singing, various traditional songs and explanations of traditional Altai cosmology. Download here: <<< Altai >>>

 

M O N S : N U M E N – Alps (2020)

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Enjoy the pastures and peaks of the Alps with this episode, where you can hear vanishing dialects, soft yodels, traditional customs and the ever present clanging of bells (with the lowing of cattle). Who knows how long this way of life will last? Download here :<<< Alps >>>

 

M O N S : N U M E N – Urals (2020)

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A far more primal affair, this issue focuses on the Urals and in particular their shamanic cultures. Hear the beating of drums, cries on the wind, explanations (in Russian and local dialects) of cosmologies within the Urals and various traditional musics here:
<<< Urals >>>

 

M O N S : N U M E N – Carpathians (2020)

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We turn West, to the misty and verdant Carpathians, where you can hear tales of surviving traditions, uplifting voices, sounds of rural life and strong peasant culture. Not a vampire reference in sight, thankfully! Download here: <<< Carpathians >>>

 

M O N S : N U M E N – Atlas Mountains (Berbers) (2020)

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Journeying South, we venture into the Atlas Mountains, to meet the fascinating Berber peoples. Here you will find, beside the river, the sounds of the Ginbri, pentatonic singing, hymns to loves lost and the thrills of tribal lives. Download here: <<< Atlas Mountains (Berbers) >>>

 

M O N S : N U M E N – Anatolia (Alevis & Yoruks) (2020)

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The final instalment (for now) of the MONS:NUMEN project deposits you deep in the Anatolian mountains, where you will meet the nomadic Yoruk peoples, and discover Alevi devotional music. Embrace tales of Yoruk culture, Sufi-influenced ritual celebrations, processions and the sounds of a persecuted and vanishing culture here:
<<< Anatolia (Alevis & Yoruks) >>>

 

B R Y T H O : N U M E N – Rural Rides (2020)

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B R Y T H O : N U M E N was formed to explore the particular subject of Britain, its landscapes and vanishing traditions. In ‘Rural Rides’ you will encounter a more bucolic affair, narrated with various British Film Archive episodes from the early to mid-twentieth century, where harvest festivals, native industries and rural life still held sway of large amounts of the population. Retreat to rolling fields, Medieval market towns and hedgerow-enclosed farms here: <<< Rural Rides >>>

 

B R Y T H O : N U M E N – Beating the Bounds (Folk Horror) (2020)

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With this release B R Y T H O : N U M E N delves into the ‘folk horror’ landscapes of Britain, the eerie moorlands, misty forests and strange archaic traditions that march around villages, masked and horned. Featuring samples from various classic films, televised horrors, public safety films from the 1970’s (more sinister than you would guess) and even the voice of Algernon Blackwood, this will plunge you into the unsettling aspect of Old Weird Albion. Download here: <<< Beating the Bounds (Folk Horror) >>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – Industrial Catharism EP (2020)

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P Y R E : N U M E N returns with an experiment noisy foray into the modern Cathar mythos. Featuring readings from the works of contemporary Cathar luminaries such as  Otto Rahn and his mentor Antonin Gadal, this EP attempts to present the atmosphere of sacred Cathar sites in the current climate, via grating synthesisers and marching rhythms. Will you find the Grail? Download here: <<< Industrial Catharism >>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N  – The Black Stone Betwixt Two Rennes

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With this album P Y R E : N U M E N shifts its focus to personal encounters and the mysterious figures at Rennes-le-Chateau and Rennes-ses-Bains, twinned sites in the Aude that have long been the focus of investigation. Their mythos ties into Pyrenean Grail elements, as well as far reaching theories linked to a regional regarding Mary Magdalene and Pech-le-Cardou, alleged tomb of Christ, that towers above Rennes-les-Bains. All tracks are simply impressions from visits, aiming to express the inexpressible atmosphere of these two locales, one gazing down upon the other, beyond which the mountains stretch away. Samples include readings from ‘The True Celtic Language and the Stone Circles of Rennes-les-Bains by Abbe Boudet, a local geological rumour imparted to me by a reliable source, and interviews regarding the activities of both Boudet and the illusive Abbe Sauniere, as well as the words of Henry Lincoln. The front cover is the map of sacred sites from Boudet’s magnum opus, quoted in the album. Enter this realm of sacred Pyrenean geometry here: <<< The Black Rock Betwixt Two Rennes >>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – Ethnographic Archives Series: Vol. VI – Labourd

Ethnographic Archives Vol. VI - Labourd

The sixth issue in the ‘Ethnographic Archives’ series takes you up to the Pyrenees-Atlantiques, to the historical region of Labourd, which blends French and Basque influences into a unique coastal combination. Stirring hymns of regional pride, dances, folk songs and the sound of the sea greet you when you download <<< Ethnographic Archives Vol. VI – Labourd >>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – Beneath the Stars, Watching Over the Corral (Single, 2020)

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P Y R E : N U M E N presents a single, droning track that aims to portray the experience of being out in the pastures of the Pyrenees at night, beneath stars, in the form of a shepherd watching over his corralled flock. Experience the majesty of the Pyrenean night sky here: <<< Beneath the Stars, Watching Over the Corral >>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – Ethnographic Archives Series: Vol. VII – Bielsa (Carnaval) (2020)

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In the seventh instalment of the ‘Ethnographic Archives’ series, P Y R E : N U M E N introduces you to the village of Bielsa in Huesca (Aragon) during its infamous ‘carnaval’, where men in dressed as archaic bears roam the streets with staffs and bells, faces blackened with oil, accosting locals and causing mayhem. The audio draws you through the process of ‘carnaval’ preparation, the various acts of chaos by the players, an explanation of the significance of the costumes, and finally a joyous local dance, to finish on a positive note. Immerse yourself in this centuries-old tradition here:
<<< Ethnographic Archives Vol. VII – Bielsa (Carnaval) >>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – Ethnographic Archives Series: Vol. VIII – Euskadi (2020)

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In this, the eighth instalment of the ‘Ethnographic Archives’ series, we journey to the Basque Country, ‘Euskadi’. Through beech woodlands, to the sounds of the  Txalaparta and the woodcutter’s axe, to hymns to the Basque country, winding through dances and 1970’s interpreted folk songs, you can visit this archaic region of the Pyrenees here:
<<< Ethnographic Archives Vol. VIII – Euskadi >>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – Ethnographic Archives Series: Vol. IX – Catalunya (2020)

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The penultimate issue in the ‘Ethnographic Archives’ series takes place in Catalunya, a long contested land. Catalan farmers and explanations of traditional costumes are interwoven with local bagpipes, ‘Sardanas’ and other exuberant dances, and finally a rousing recent rendition of the Catalan anthem ‘Els Segadors’. Free to download here:
<<< Ethnographic Archives Vol. IX – Catalunya >>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – Ethnographic Archives Series: Vol. X – Cerdagne & Roussillon (2020)

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The final instalment in the ‘Ethnographic Archives’ series travels to both the Cerdagne and Roussillon, collectively known as the ‘Pays Catalan’. Combining introductions to castles, local dances, tourism narratives and a rousing hymn, this concludes the audial journey around the various regions of the Pyrenees. Thank you travelling. Free to download, as ever, here:
<<< Ethnographic Archives Vol. X – Cerdagne & Roussillon (Pays Catalan) >>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – Pyrenean Cultures Matter (EP) (2020)

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This EP is simply a dual attempt to recognise that many intrinsically valuable historical cultures exist within the Pyrenees, much of which are terribly old and rooted within the mountains and valleys of this region; plus there isn’t anything wrong with a bit of experimental 1990’s backtracking. To be fair, it might work, it might not – this is an experiment. <<< Pyrenean Cultures Matter (EP) >>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – Midsummer’s Eve/Midsummer’s Morn (2020)

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Dedicated to Midsummer and the following festivities of San Joan/Sant Joan/Saint Jean, this album takes the listener from the descending dusk, into the fires and frenzies of rural celebrations, and through into the dawn of the following morning. Drones, drums, pastoral airs and guitars combine in an attempt to conjure the atmosphere of this very special time in the Pyrenees. Free to download here:
<<< Midsummer’s Eve:Midsummer’s Morn  >>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – Count Estruch (EP) (2020)

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With this thirty minute EP, PYRE:NUMEN delves into the legend of Pyrenean vampire Count Estruch from Llers (Catalunya), the only tale of its type from the Pyrenees and reputed to be one of the oldest in Europe. After leading a life of sin he became undead, stalking the local villages of Alt Emporda, sucking blood and impregnating village girls, whose babies would be stillborn. Bells, rain, brooding atmospheres, shrieks and a dark rhythm make up this experiment. Earphones/headphones are recommended for the fully immersive experience. Free to download (if you dare) here:
<<< Count Estruch (EP) >>>

 

P Y R E : N U M E N – An Aural Ethnography of European Transhumance (EP) (2020)

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In preparation for the forthcoming publication by Mons Culturae Press, ‘Borderlands: Traditional Industries of the Pyrenees’, an EP is being created for each chapter as it is completed, expanding out from the Pyrenees to Europe as a whole. This inaugural offering is based on the chapter which focusses on pastoralism and contains a variety of songs, sounds and interviews which range from Portugal to the Pyrenees, France to Romania, and aims to conjure the pastoral life in sonic form. Free to download here:
<<< An Aural Ethnography of European Transhumance (EP) >>>

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