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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 E04 - The Whisperer

My eyes contemplate this odd composition. My fingers run over its surface and feel its round, sharp, colored and smoky crystals with a translucent appearance... It's cold ... It's hot .... There’s something alive inside.

I rotate it in all directions to admire it in the smallest details when I notice a dim light coming from it. Not on its surface, but from its core, from its heart. I take a closer look as the light intensifies, starting to illuminate the thousands of crystals composing it. I feel surrounded by them, as in a cave made of precious stones. I am carried away by their beauty. Even more details are now apparent, as if I could transcend scales and inhabit the void between their atomic bonds. I slowly feel the pressure in my head rising, like if it was being crushed by sediments, but at the same time I feel my body extending in all directions, like if I was floating in space, contemplating the making of matter and energy. I hear voices coming from its heart. They are elusive.

A shiver runs through me and my gaze stops, petrified by the object in my hands. I can not move anymore. I feel something vibrating in the hollow of my bones. It sounds like the strings of a muffled bass. It’s vibrant, evolving, almost musical. It’s alive.

All my attention is on this object, this sonic being seducing me. I have the feeling that its energy is getting stronger, growing, expanding until reaching some sort of pace, like one of a breathing chest. It’s elegant, calm and warm. I don’t perceive anything other than this sonic energy which seems to come from the depths of its core. Its sound goes through me. There is a lively, instinctive and acoustic communication between us. Each sound being released instantly comes to inhabit my emptiness, to confront me, trying to become one with me, instant after instant, minute after minute.

My contemplation is such that the world around me has faded away. The enchanting breath of this wonder spreads into my consciousness, like the wind rushing through the ruins of a vacant house. I can no longer take my eyes off this mineral fragment.

I feel like it wants to initiate a conversation with me. It’s strange. The object speaks to me but I don't understand what it says. It is an otherworldly language, far from all known meanings. Another word, another sentence, a last whisper and there...


My gaze leaves the object, my head raises and I observe in front of me. The wind whistles in the distance. I can see a mist of dust rising at the bottom of the valley that I had observed earlier when this old woman was still with me.

I remember that I am alone and lost but I no longer feel afraid. I feel inhabited by a new and boundless vitality that seems to come straight from the object that I hold in my hands.

Along its edges, the object sparkles several times. It tells me something. I get up and, guided by its bright indications, I instinctively take the road again.

I'm leaving the hill. My hands carry in my palms this figure with infinite contours. It shows me a path to follow, sometimes lighting up on the right, sometimes on the left. I follow its gestures with a blind obedience. We enter a thick forest. Its depth seems to me full of wonders in which I would have liked to immerse myself. In a short moment of consciousness, I realize that I am no longer in control and that my steps are directed by the object. My hands can no longer detach from its surface. I am bound to it.

The rain begins to fall. The object takes me forward, following its commandments although my mind is still completely mine. We share a connection, a sort of biological adaptation, a symbiosis in which I am fully aware of the actions and gestures actuated by my host.

After a long walk in the rain, a storm starts to rumble over us. The enchanting object stops by a huge leafy tree, sheltering me from the elements. And there, slowly, I feel my consciousness regaining control over my whole body as the object darkens gradually, until it turns completely black. An ivory black of infinite depth. Suddenly, a powerful light burst. It’s dazzling, blinding, discharging a halo of light spreading in a fraction of second through the whole forest. The intensity of this flash is so powerful that I get completely dizzy.

I feel myself wobble. As everything seems to blur around me, I feel the object getting hotter at my fingertips. My conscience is still numbed by the extreme light that had just burst the second before.

I feel invaded by a sweet intoxication. An exalted vertigo makes my head spin, and gently, I feel floating around me, like a soft and warm garment, a nonchalant aura, which comes to wrap itself around me like a second skin. My eyes close and I feel totally protected, belonging to a whole, a mere component of the forest around me. I feel possessed by a natural force, like a new sap coming to travel through my veins.

When I open my eyes, the trees in front of me seem bright, cottony, soft. I feel out of reach. After each blinking of my eyelids, the decor changes. The sooty trees now look like phosphorescent creatures releasing sporadic dust, like microscopic fireflies spinning in the darkness of the forest. The heat at my fingertips rises from my wrists to my shoulders.

I blink.

Now the tree trunks dance with each other in a haunting slowness. I have the weird feeling the object starts deforming in my hand. I feel its pulses getting stronger, its shape getting more loose. Its aura is tightening around me. I hear notes from a piano.

I blink.

My whole body is warm, my eyes discern the same forest, but it is motionless. The contours of its branches are vague, as if I was drunk. I try to move my hand in order to split the air to catch a breath, but I can't. I only feel extremely good. I feel I’m a part of a strange and reassuring force. Could it be this object which continues to give me all these gracious and benevolent emotions ?

I feel myself falling asleep gently, plunged into a dream that is not so different from what I was experiencing seconds earlier. I could no longer tell the difference between real or subconscious, between my own thoughts and the charming sounds traveling through my body.

When I open my eyes again, it's raining on my face. I try to wipe it with my hand when I feel a strange shape on the right half of my face. I sit up, the object is no longer in my hands. I feel it, stuck to my skin, like a mask going from a quarter of my jaw to the top of my ear. Like a helmet, like a bark, like an outgrowth that has taken the right side of my face for compost.

I panic. I try to pull it off, first gently then more strongly, but every attempt feels like my soul is coming with it. I hear bright and crystal clear noises at the bottom of my eardrums, like the rain but stronger. The sound of my heartbeat echoes through my whole body. I could not help touching half of my face, embodied by this misshapen and living object. I realize I'm still myself, just different. I'm no longer panicked, nor surprised, but I'm curious to understand what it wants from me.

My feet start to move on their own, the object has taken control again. I get up and I let myself be guided. Everything feels like being perceived a hundredfold. The noises, the smells, the textures… I feel like being part of this nature we are going through. I belong to this forest. I am part of its ecosystem. I understand its complex and dynamic balance, its invisible presence. I am myself a spirit. I feel bound to everything. I am a clean energy, nourished by external sensory excitations. My ideas are spontaneous, occupying the interior and exterior space.

I continue to walk around, leaving this thick forest behind me. My perception of time is confused. I don’t know anymore if I am an age-old tree or a short-lived water droplet. The fragment is still with me, talking to me, wrapped around half my face. I understand it doesn’t want to harm me. I feel encouraged, as if its sounds triggered a whole new mindset, as if it helped me assert my new condition.

The more I walk and the more the object moves around my skin. It goes from my right face to my right arm, through my chest, to my left leg... The more I walk and the more I feel we are interacting, my body and my mind answering its solicitations with other ones. I listen closely to what it says : every sound it makes resonate with my other senses. I feel the slightest movement of leaves, the sap in the trees, the worms in the soil and the vibration of small stones under my feet…

As I let myself drift away in this comfortable state, I walk for hours, or maybe days. I do not feel the need to stop, as if I could feed from the elements around me.

At some point, the sounds emitted by the fragment start to change. They get troubling, unsettling. I feel the fragment quickly peeling off my body, as if it was scared. It becomes solid again, back to its initial shape, and falls down. We are two again, but my perception is still heightened. I feel reborn, at ease with myself and with my surroundings. I am no longer afraid. I am not alone anymore. I am part of a whole.

I pick it up and raise my head, when all of a sudden, I hear a noise, a very harsh one. I first think it comes from the misshapen fragment but it’s not. It’s a new one, close to the fragment’s voice, but different… it’s coming from the distance, from a campfire whose smoke I notice up in the sky.