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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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
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
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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) >>>
P Y R E : N U M E N – An Aural Ethnography of European Hunters (EP ) (2020)
The second in this mini-series related to the forthcoming ‘Borderlands’ book revolves arounds the practise of hunting, both peasant and aristocratic…. featuring multiple horns (including Wagner, of course), chants, interviews and even a Medieval Armenian hunting motif, prepare to throw yourself into the chase! Available here:
<<< An Aural Ethnography of European Hunters (EP) >>>
P Y R E : N U M E N – An Aural Ethnography of European Woodsmen (EP) (2020)
Here we present in the mini-series an ‘homage’ to the various woodcutters and charcoal burners of Europe, truly liminal figures who traditionally would spend months together in the woodlands practising their trade. You will find acapella, folk and chant songs, mixed in with interviews of current woodsmen…a disappearing world. Free to download here: <<< An Aural Ethnography of European Woodsmen (EP) >>>
P Y R E : N U M E N – Unravel [Bjork cover/homage] (2020)
I always loved this song, one of the most romantic songs I ever heard. So I decided to turn it towards the Pyrenees. Dedicated to V///A. Download here for free as always:
<<< Unravel [cover single] >>>
M O N S : N U M E N – ALEVI // ALAWITE // ALLIANCE (2020)
MONS:NUMEN is back. Alevis and Alawites are two ‘minority’ belief sects/ethnic communities within the mountains of Syria and Turkey. Both have very archaic origins, and both share a heritage of beautiful sounds and rituals. Immerse yourselves in them here. Featuring an introductory narration by a genuine practitioner, crafted specifically for this release.
Download here: <<< Alevi Alawite Alliance >>>
P Y R E : N U M E N – LUCIFER’S COURT [EXTRACTS] (2020)
(Part One Cover)
(Part Two Cover)
(Part Three Cover)
This marks the first foray into ‘audiobook’ or ‘radio play’ territory for PYRE:NUMEN. Extracts from archaeologist and poet Otto Rahn’s legendary ‘Lucifer’s Court’ surrounding the Pyrenees, Germany, the Tyrol and Iceland are set against a backdrop of effects, samples and original compositions, all aimed at conjuring the places discussed. Beware, this mammoth effort clocks in at three and a half hours long, so sit back and relax, it will take some time! Download here: <<< Lucifer’s Court [Extracts] >>>
P Y R E : N U M E N – SI NO L’ESTIMES, EL PERDRÀS (2020)
Catalunya has been simmering for a while now, it’s important to highlight that one cannot trust everyone, especially those who claim to act in your best interest. No skin in the game but, think for yourselves, preserve your culture, defy those who wish to destroy you from within.
P Y R E : N U M E N – C A T H A R : W A V E (2020)
Here’s something I never thought I would do. If you were on of the few who didn’t hate ‘witch house’ then you may enjoy the new genre ‘c a t h a r w a v e’, set against troubadour songs and the chirruping cicadas of the Ariege:
B R Y T H O : N U M E N – Lying Prostrate in the Witch’s Clover [EP]
BRYTHO:NUMEN is back, with the encircling mists and rains of Autumn. Just over 20 minutes of collage featuring Sherlock Holmes (the real one, played by Brett), dark 60’s pysche and Algernon Blackwood, supported by undulating eerie drones.
P Y R E : N U M E N – C A T H A R W A V E 2 (2020)
Well it seems c a t h a r w a v e is now a thing, thus the second instalment. Try to enjoy witch house beats with troubadour songs, or skip to the next album.
P Y R E : N U M E N – C A T H A R W A V E 3 (2020)
Here is the final in the c a t h a r w a v e trilogy, I’ve probably pushed this (highly) limited ‘genre’ as far as it can be pushed. Anyway, enjoy this nocturnal offering of organs, vocal dirges and mildly narcotic rhythms here:
B R Y T H O : N U M E N – FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD [EP] (2020)
Here we have an homage to the village idiot, who we once laughed at and who now laughs back at us. A cyclic melody, punctuated with various samples of rural life and classic English cinema. Who laughs last? Find out. Dedicated to Gerald Locker, in his last weeks.
P Y R E : N U M E N – GERALD LOCKER TRIBUTE (2020)
Not a sympathy post but a commemoration of a good chap who always supported the project, and who embodied the ‘born to lose, live to win’ philosophy. Farewell mate.
P Y R E : N U M E N – A Crown of Ice, A Shivering Bough (2020)
As Winter once again approaches, PYRE:NUMEN makes its first foray into glacial synth work, delving into subjects from Catalan and Basque folklore, frozen atmospheres and sounds of wintery nature, complete with ethnographic recordings from the Pyrenees. The first full album in a while, ushering in the time of coldness. Free to download here:
P Y R E : N U M E N – Winter Ghosts [EP]
In this offering, PYRE:NUMEN presents a specially recorded EP for Samhain and the thinning of the veil. Vocals and ‘lyrics’ by yours truly, mixed with sampled EVP recordings, wailing winds and eerie electronica. Be careful not to look, you may just see them, beyond the shift.
P Y R E : N U M E N – An Aural Ethnography of European Miners & Blacksmiths (EP ) (2020)
As the penultimate chapter in the ‘Borderlands’ book nears fruition, another accompanying EP from PYRE:NUMEN celebrates the various activities, songs and folklore of the subject in question; in this case, the miners, forgers and blacksmiths of the Pyrenees, and within the EP Europe at large. Grab your irons, and smudge thy faces, the forges are alight!
B R Y T H O : N U M E N // N A W I Z – A Christmas Mummer’s Dying Heart (2020) [single]
The first collaboration of the NUMENs occurs with my friend NAWIZ to create…. Industrial-Folk? Death Mumming? Who knows! In this single, a Gaudete is followed by industrial rhythms that accompany Steeleye-Span’s only mumming play, rounded off by a modulated piece by Coil. Ware the Mummer and his demand for ale!
P Y R E : N U M E N – THE WHISPER OF THE BRUMAL WHEEL [EP] (2020)
The final offering for 2020, ‘The Whisper of the Brumal Wheel’ is comprised of two shorter tracks which surround the main, lengthy piece. Featuring field recordings of gates, creaking mills, crunching snow, crows, livestock and a Bearnese shepherd recounting his memories, this EP is an homage to the deep rural winter that settles upon the Pyrenees, and gradually lifts with the advent of Spring.
P Y R E : N U M E N – An Aural Ethnography of European Smugglers and Exiles (EP ) (2021)
The first release of 2021 (recorded in 2020) and the last in the ‘Aural Ethnography’ series that pre-empts the forthcoming ‘Borderlands’ book deals with smuggling in the Pyrenees, both of goods and people. Interviews, political chants, protest songs and field recordings are woven with electronic ambience to conjure the shadowy world of the Pyrenean contrabandista. Shoulder your burdens, and ‘ware the eagle eyes of customs officials!
B R Y T H O : N U M E N – THE DUSKE ROUNING 
The first freshly recorded album for 2021 sees the return of BRYTHO:NUMEN with ‘The Duske Rouning’. A diet of eerie English fiction resulted in this; 5 quiet tracks of unsettling ambience set in Wessex and Shropshire. Among the rustling leaves and tweeting birds lies a creeping presence, and a one-off visual style.
M O N S : N U M E N – Orientalism [EP] (2021)
MONS:NUMEN returns for 2021 with the ‘Orientalism’ EP. Two tracks based on the Arabic souk and the Mughal courtyard, carefully constructed from self-made loops cut from vintage recordings, layered and modified to create a dreamlike atmosphere based on 19th century travels in these environments. Undoubtably the most complex effort for MONS:NUMEN to date. Inhale the scents of sand and sandalwood, and voyage with your mind!
P Y R E : N U M E N – The Dreaming Path [single] (2021)
An unintended single (trying to keep to a minimum this year), based on a recurring dream in the Andorran landscape. For the past six months I have had a dream in which I keep trying to reach a pasture which I have previously found (in the dream) but can never remember the exact path to, which follows a stream through the woodlands up into an alp. There is always the same melody playing, and finally I had this dream close enough to waking to recall it. Welcome to some Andorran psycho-geography.
P Y R E : N U M E N – Andorra Amagada [EP] (2021)
This offering is composed largely of field recordings taken in natural contexts around Andorra between 2017 and 2021, in hidden pastures, woodlands and caves, beside lakes and both underground/overground streams. A slight evolving drone accompanies these sounds of nature. Cattle, hounds and birds also call to you across the valleys and forests. In the words of Dorothy Lewis, ‘Words, words words… you may as well listen to the birds.’ Assembled on Ostara’s eve, MMXXI.
M O N S : N U M E N – Liechtenstein [EP] (2021)
MONS:NUMEN transports you to the Alpine principality of Liechtenstein, a landlocked realm in the Upper Rhine valley bordered by Austria and Switzerland. Despite its size, it has a wealth of history and traditions, and in this twenty-minute tribute you will encounter the flaming Funken at Essen, the Alpabfahrt (when the cattle move down from the summer pastures through the towns and villages )and the Fasnacht celebrations. All of these are woven among traditional songs, stirring anthems and looped atmospheres; all this within only 160 square kilometres – ‘En Guete!’
M O N S : N U M E N – Vosges [EP] (2021)
This week we travel to the forested hills and mountains of the Vosges in eastern France, bordering with Germany. A verdant land filled with wooden chalets, woodcutters, lakes, castle ruins, hearty cuisine and, lying as it does in the Alsace region, a dialect influenced by Alemannic German. There was (or is?) even an old Celtic god of hunting worshipped in this area around the Mount Donon, known as ‘Vosegus’ in Latin. Here you will hear the sounds of the forests, the traditional ‘epinette de Vosges’, leg slapping reels and the old inhabitants talking of traditional life. G’sundheit!
P Y R E : N U M E N – The Complete Known Works of Herbert Bunter (2021)
PYRE:NUMEN presents: The Complete Known Works of Herbert Bunter:
‘BBC sound engineer and composer Herbert Bunter died after being hit by a car outside his home on the 17th August, 1971. He had recently returned from a three month stay in the Pyrenees (particularly the Ariege) where he had collected field recordings and inspiration to complete the main motifs for the (later cancelled) children’s television series ‘Troubadour’s Test’, whose story was set around Montsegur. Within his diary, he hints at having purchased a remarkable manuscript in Foix, and having then been followed to London, where he would meet his death. Thanks to his only surviving relative, Hillary Bunter, both the pieces recorded for submission to the series’ creators and a collection of miscellaneous recordings, as well as all documents relating to this affair, are finally made publicly available via PYRE:NUMEN. The ‘Lost Tape’ contains those pieces Herbert wished to submit. The miscellaneous collection includes motifs recorded and rejected by Herbert, the sole recording of his time with the short-lived 1969 group ‘Uncle Clegg’s Tuck Shop’ (the band would collapse after six months), a rejected Public Information Film piece, a short recital on Montsegur and two draft recordings of a planned Tolkien concept album. Documents include scans from his travel diary, a letter and series plot synopsis from the BBC, obituary, and letter from the Bunter estate. All these are now restored and available to the public for the first time since their creation. The only interview with his mother, fifteen years after her son’s death, is also included, which explores some of the theories regarding his ‘accident’. The full transcript of the diary may be made available at a later date.’
M O N S : N U M E N – Alps Vol. II [Brauchtum] [EP] (2021)
MONS:NUMEN returns to the Alps, exploring some of the masked rites and traditions that occur through the Alpine year, especially around the mysteries of the Perchtenlaufe and Rauhnacht. Threaded together by a narration sampled from both a Styrian documentary on this subject and interviews of traditional Alpine life, we find a variety of songs from the across the region and sounds of these traditions being enacted, glued together with sample loops and atmospheric ambience… Enjoy the wild nights and winsome pastures… Prost!
M O N S : N U M E N – кукери [Kukeri] [EP] (2021)
(For more information on the Kukeri, see the unpublished PhD thesis: Bakalova, Kalina, ‘Kukeri: Ritual Performances in Bulgaria’ (Athens, GA: University of Georgia, PhD diss., 2009).)
P Y R E : N U M E N – Memories and Mysteries of the Cagots (2021)
Walpurgisnacht is on its way, a mysterious time indeed! Equally mysterious is the phenomenon of the ‘Cagots’, present throughout France and especially in the Pyrenees (on both sides of the modern border). Forced to wear badges of goose’s feet, despised and feared yet valued for their skill in woodworking, and whose origins are theories to lie in everything from Neolithic exiles, rogue cathars, moorish deserters, a once-powerful woodworking guild and even in the realms of the supernatural, these people existed at the margins of Pyrenean society yet endured for centuries. In this EP, PYRE:NUMEN explores some of the attributes, memories and origins of the Cagots, placed against a pastoral backdrop.
M O N S : N U M E N – A Passage Through The Caucasus [Part I] (2021)
This time MONS:NUMEN transports you to the mountains, plains and rivers of the Caucasus, a mysterious land with over fifty different cultures inhabiting its various countries and landscapes. Encounter traditional songs from Armenia, Georgia, Ossetia, the Tartars and the Vainakh, all woven, chopped and aligned to place you within the Caucasus towers, villages and forests, where some of the oldest mythologies originate!
M O N S : N U M E N – A Passage Through The Caucasus [Part II] (2021)
MONS:NUMEN returns for the second and final time (for now) to the Caucasus, land of a thousand myths including the Nart saga, some of whose tales are found in this recording alongside martial and marital songs, explanations of how songs sound different when sung in the mountain or forest and sounds of elders singing in their villages.
M O N S : N U M E N – Alps Vol. III [Mythen] [EP] (2021)
M O N S : N U M E N – Seven Demons [East] (2021)
MONS:NUMEN presents ‘Seven Demons [East]’, a series of pieces that explores seven demonic figures from the folklores of the Far and Middle East. Nestled among the various manipulated loops and samples of traditional musics from these various cultures you will find recordings of cultural-appropriate exorcisms, summoning and banishing ceremonies and tales relating to these various malevolent entities. Also included are the full set of seven sample videos created by Hsein Sleiman to illustrate the creatures and the atmospheres conjured by the songs.
M O N S : N U M E N – Seven Demons [West] (2021)
M O N S : N U M E N – Norge [Folkeeventyr] (2021)
M O N S : N U M E N – Svenska [Folksägner] (2021)