The Great Sleep is a series of 13 narrative audio mixes that will be aired on Internet Public Radio every first Thursday of the month from December 2019 to December 2020. For each episode, a musician and a visual artist from the Global URL Nation collaborate to develop the story with audiovisual material - a 1h mix and a visual cover, which then serve as a base for written text. Each month, we will post a new chapter meant to be heard, seen and read.

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E00 - Prologue

We tried to resist the colonising power of our own creation. We tried… We tried but it was not enough. Everything started to fade away. And after a last chaotic and desperate motion to escape our fate came the Great Sleep.

But among the ruins of our own existence, a tale of harmony still rings like an echo through these bleak and silent relics. Its shadow fills with warmth and faith the hearts of those able to hear it. In the depths of memories is still beating the hope of a new awakening. Reborn from the ashes, it is said only the unconscious mass of its whole may bare the key to redemption, and that its serenity will light one’s path in darkness.

Guided in the silence of your own being, can you wake up from the Great Sleep?

E01 - The Dawning

with migu & chaggrin

This clumpy sand on which my body wakes up seems to digest me bit by bit. The fluid and crystalline rustling of the river's water shudders at the edge of my eardrums. It is then that my eyes open and my senses cling to the sensitive environment that unfolds around me.

"You have to find GUN ..."

I am attached to this sticky mud by my thoughts, my eyes are prisoners of this gray and heavy sky, puffy and indigestible sky, which spreads out infinitely in front of me. I lie down by the edge of the water, totally lost, totally sounded.

I search the most remote parts of my memory and face some diffuse shots: images of happy silhouettes, feelings of warm smiles, bursts of laughter, the welcoming feeling of an arm that embraces you and then ...

"Wake up... wake up! "

I continue to sink into the synaptic limbo of my consciousness before stumbling, losing the thread of this carousel of images that breaks when I fall into the cold space of my memory where everything fades, interrupts, stops in a new dark and unknown territory.

And there, a song... in my head.

Suddenly, I come back to myself, like when you come out panicked from a dark dream and anxiety, with a tight chest, the heart propelling in your ears bursts of blood that swell your brain and stun you.

I stand on my elbows, the body soiled by the spray of this marsh in which my members are rooted. The water of this river flows without caring, like the time flowing in the veins of life. I do not know what strength helped me to get up, despite the smothered cries of which my bones seemed to cast off, to the image of a burned skin which one takes off from your nerves, like the imagined pain that you feel, strident, when you tear off your heart.

My most primary faculties seem suddenly absorbed by everything else, by this magnetic vanishing point of a long road that appears in front of me and gulps me by its lost attraction, erasing from my head all perspectives of inverse movements. I feel hypnotized by this rectilinear and perfect length, enchanted by the horizontal line that invites me to take this journey, this landscape, beyond.

"I'm scared, I just want to leave ..."

I move my flesh a little and free my weakened eyes from this enchanting path before trying to immerse myself in my memories. I close my eyes and feel nothing. Only the dreary taste of a hollow silence envelops me and awakens me with its own breath, itself inflicted with the dissonant melody of nothingness. I try to blend into this void to get through it and suddenly discover the fuzzy reflections of a reliquary of erased memories that I thought having seen a few minutes ago. This time, nothing’s happy. No, I only feel the roar of incomprehension rising in the ruins of my languid mind. I hear echoes of memories and details that someone told me : noises, words, phrases, warnings.

" It is not too late… "

The smooth and intoxicating exaltation experienced when I wake up gives way to a sadness that is engraved on the cliffs of my memory. I only feel ghostly thoughts in which a dense fog interferes, curbing my reason, stopping briefly the clear and distant resurgence of a noise that fades to come sleeping inside me. All this emptiness stands like a chaos, I lose myself, I see myself dying.

" No ! "

I suddenly breathe, electrocuted by that voice oxidized by the time that extricates me from the abandonment. I feel myself inflicted again with life, whipped by the clear injunction of this howling that brings back to this river, to this breeze, to this road in front of me. I look at it, straight and infinite, built by the past, the present and the future. This road invites me to follow the path, I believe, of my destinies.

E02 - Through The Ruins

with Désiré & medieval_cortex

In the middle of this bleak and dusty road, my sight seems to fill with an illusory blur. The surrounding heat makes me blind and reeling. Handcuffed with fatigue, I feel knocked out. But I continue to walk towards this infinite and charming point that this long road stretches in front of me.

A desert of rocks with multiple forms spreads out, casting almost-living shadows on an arid, dry and deadly soil. I look at them sometimes, as if I was obsessed by the incredible evocations they stimulate in me. They invoke in my consciousness various fantasies and monstrous forms which overlap and mingle in a fatal and anarchic ballet. Along the way of my journey, the rocks become larger, more imposing. Their layout becomes more complex, forming more and more familiar shapes as I progress. Their shadows become characters and forms that my imagination assimilates to faces, creatures, and chimeras, surrounded by ruins of a bygone future.

My consciousness is enchanted by their presence, almost comforted, but my altered mind loses the understanding needed to distinguish if these moving silhouettes are indeed quite real or the fabrication of the same contemplation. My heart propels blood bursts in my ears, as these ghosts and specters tirelessly wobble around. I feel dazed. They are here and there, everywhere, inviting me with their slow motion to follow them somewhere, towards a future that they want to achieve with me. The ruins appear as unfinished monsters, scars of a failed scheme that could not sustain itself, as if its builders had left in haste.

I suddenly extricate myself from this spiritual bewitchment to return to reason. I realize that I have been walking for too long, alone, here, towards an unknown place which makes it seem like an inaccessible eternity.

At that moment, a feeling of loneliness seizes me. It radiates in every part of my being that is still sensitive. I feel it to the tip of my fingers: that cold that separates you from everything, that takes you out of life, that submerges you in a dense and blinding mist. To be alone is to no longer be present, it is to be out of sight, it is to no longer exist. I don't feel anything anymore, only this pervasive weakness that disunites me from the world and wipes me out.

I stay there, standing and immobile, paralyzed and blind, lost on this path where the steps of other strangers have passed to reach this vanishing point that my gaze is losing. My spine bends, my eyesight becomes vaporous, my arms soften along my asthenic body. I'm exhausted. My mind is lost. I stare at the ground.

For a long time, I remain inert, my mind suffocated by a cloudy emptiness. I'm cold. I have a feeling that the blazing sun has just given way to the night. A white light rises above me. A dark, smoking, nebulous light. I slowly raise my eyes. I no longer see anything in front of me. The evanescent point of the path has disappeared. I'm alone in the dark and the ruins I thought I saw before are now long, thin, dead trees. This sparse forest stands like sinister specters under the sick glow of the moon. The treetops outlines ghosts and appearances animated by darkness. The sound of their leafless peaks whisper secret hymns to me, forgotten languages from a frozen world, charged with unfathomable mysteries.

These whispers, these noises, fill my head with a host of chaotic echoes until I become nauseous. I put my hands on my ears so that I can no longer hear them but they are here, invading me like a contagious disease. I can't bear their shards in my head no more, so I press my palms even harder on my ears until I crush them deep enough in my skull. I cry out, stunned. I cry out in fear, alone, overwhelmed and haunted by these dark shadows screaming at me in the hollow of my bones. I panic, looking for help in this frightening darkness, but loneliness comes back to take hold of me again.

Immersed in a dreamlike state, loneliness now seems strange to me. It takes hold of me, little by little, comforting me with a dazzling embrace. But its grip becomes stronger and stronger. The comfort of yesteryear turns into deep discomfort, into strident anxiety, into paralyzing fear. It squeezes me so tightly that it wraps around me to never leave again. Once installed under my skin, it consumes all that is in me, it occupies me, it inhabits me permanently. I suffocate while it tries to erase me from the world, to make me disappear.

In this sensory dementia, I see myself fading away but I am fighting to get out. I want to find again these specters, these trees, these shadows, these ruins that made me feel like I was in the presence of someone. I try to get out of this torpor in which I am trapped, but I lack energy and this loneliness grips me even more, until it makes me fall in the imaginary space of my unconscious.

Suddenly, I come back to myself, electrocuted by a burst of life that strikes me as if a new breath had galvanized my whole person. The mist in my eyes tears apart. The ghosts in my mind dissipate and I see clearly again. I remember where I am, on this lonely road where the sun, up in the sky, shines anew with a thousand lights. My head hurts, the feeling of loneliness is still here, lodged in the hollow of my bones, but the disturbing trees of the night have disappeared. There is nothing but the road. I walk, I keep walking, losing the notion of time and space. Fatigue catches me again. Like yesterday. Or was it a week ago? Or more? How long have I walked on this road? My spine bends again, pulled by the burden of this stinging heat, by this drying exhaustion. The weight of loneliness invites me to take root, to join its dead trees and its incomplete ruins forever.

I keep putting one step ahead of the other without realizing it. My tiredness has automated my most basic movements and I only think of myself, of my survival, of this quest towards this point which continues to move away as I move forward. I’m alone, and there’s nothing but me on this road. Nothing but me.

I don't exist, I don't exist anymore. I feel like in a primitive state, because I can neither be, nor become, nor build. Without the presence of the other, what am I but a single element, living a journey without a destination, without an arrival? I feel like I can't really know myself. Alone, I am locked in my own mind and cannot access anything other than myself. My thoughts are jostling, sadness overwhelms me. I stop walking, my gaze glued to the ground. Then I hear a voice in my head. A melody on a piano. But I feel something is missing. Melancholy deepens in me, and tears come up at the edge of my eyes.

When I raise my eyes, I perceive a movement in the sky. I crease my eyelids to discover this winged traveler, this little bird which, by the flapping of its wings, gives me a new hope. I look at it, amazed, as if its presence had something mystical, incredible, impossible. I take a step forward, then another. I continue to watch it flutter, spinning above me. When it beaks, I freeze, paralyzed by the sound of this unexpected twittering. I feel happy, overjoyed and then, I explode with laughter, a laugh of uncontrollable happiness. All of sudden, the bird soars up into the sky to get away from my sight. I run to not to lose this unique connection to life.

I run, I run, I run until the road stops. The path is over.

In front of me, there is only one gigantic ruin. I look up slowly, very slowly to the top of its incomplete wall. And there, I find the bird, perched with pride on its edifying totem. I look at it with admiration, and I wonder if all of this is not the fruit of my imagination.I clap my hands, but the animal does not react. Moments later, it sings a short melody, like a cheerful and jerky hiss. I smile in an uncontrolled way, crossed by a deep feeling of well-being which erases from my mind this pernicious solitude which was digesting me little by little.

My sadness gives way to a new wind of hope. A warm feeling runs through me, from the bottom of my stomach to my heart. I feel it penetrating my veins, passing through my blood. My hands land on the stone of this abandoned creature. I touch it, I contemplate it. Its cracks and the scars in its rock remind me of how similar we are : both of us standing on this earth, but so vulnerable to the environment surrounding us.

I suddenly feel linked to this solid sculpture and my hands continue to slide on its rough and grainy surface. It emanates a strange magnetism which ties me intimately to it. Like loneliness, this ruin attracts me without being able to retreat. My whole body is projected into its material. I feel myself becoming a new piece of its shape, a new crack in its visible contours. I sink into it fully. My conscience seems completely lucid, but I have the feeling that all is once again a dream that I tell myself, so as not to perish in this madness which disintegrates me little by little. With each blinking of my eyelashes, its sublime is transformed, as if it knew what my next desire would be. I navigate through it, floating among the plans of its multiple dimensions. I am weightless, in a form or in a state totally unknown to me.

Am I dead ? Am I in a new delirium that I do not understand ?

This world is like nothing else but I feel good about it. I feel safe here, in this self-informed matter. I feel a lot of things. I feel so strongly that these things seem to be real, although imperceptible.

I perceive :

people getting together...
hands that shake ...
decisions being  made ...
ideas being exchanged …
the essence of an intelligence …
the decorations of a city ...
lives being shared...

I float through these presences, these sensations, entranced with the various reactions they stimulate in me. It is a kind of complete serenity which, by its intensity, consumes me and disperses me everywhere. I feel like being passed through the same way I probe this mysterious entity. But this trip is suddenly interrupted as my body passes through the last wall. My face first, then my eyes, before all of my body slides through this rock, softening under my passage.

When my eyes open again, I find the road that I had left. I feel dizzy and dazed. The ruin is now behind me. I turn and look at it again, breathing heavily. A shadow is there, in front of me.

No, no, it's a silhouette.

The silhouette of a man.

And he walks towards me….