Feral Wether , a "narrative soundscape" about a hybrid human-ram who tells his story of exile to a rotten banana called Musa. By Justin M. Knipper.
What is this?
- ‘Feral Wether’ – a narrative soundscape for voice and electronics. It is made up of layers of natural and synthesized voice and various other forms of keyboard synthesis.
- This narrative soundscape follows the story of a hybrid humanoid – half boy, half-ram or goat – that is exiled to a prison landfill on a war-tattered planet called Jord. He “sings” his story to his only friend, a banana named Musa.
- A wether is a term commonly used for a castrated ram.
- Musa is the genus for bananas and plantains.
- This follows a very strict narrative structure. It is formally divided into chapters, not unlike those found in short stories or novellas. It is, quite literally, a sound poem.
- Voice as a focalizer – a device meant to allow the conscious mind to “see” the narrative. This is why I opted for a spoken word performance instead of melodic singing; the monotone text is now a focalization device, not a melodic device.
- The Work:
List of Chapters in Feral Wether:
i. An omniscient narrator depicts a hot and wet prison planet, Jord. We are alone in swampy, refuse-filled area. Dense, oozing droplets of thick rain smack against marble or linoleum. “This is where our story begins” is quite literal in this sense
2) A Wether Lives in a Landfill Prison and Sings to a Rotten Banana
i. We are 24 years in the future from the rest of the story. Our main character, Wether, “sings” the same story to his only friend, a now-rotting banana called Musa.
3) Foreshadowing a ‘Death March’
i. A short transition section that foreshadows Wether’s ‘death march’ from Norbottenia, his original home, to Jord.
4) A Wether’s Family History
i. We travel back 24 years in time as Wether describes how he’s arrived on Jord. We find that he is the child of a forbidden bestial love. His local community (the komunerna) locks him in the local jail (the lada) as he awaits the “nice men from JASA (Jordian Aeronautics and Space Administration)” take him to his new home.
5) Lock-Up and Lift-Off
i. We aurally witness Wether being put to sleep with Laser Barbiturates as he’s thrown into a Titanium Tube and sent to Jord.
6) Welcome to the Rest of Your Life (In a Prison Landfill on an Alien Planet)
i. Wether arrives on Jord. He enters the prison and meets his “welcoming” new family of prisoners. The prisoners scream at him, describing him as “fresh fish”. They’re rather excited, for some reason.
7) A Short Walk Across the Prison Yard & The First Meal
i. Wether takes his first walk across the prison yard, taking in the atmosphere. He is served a plate of hot flowers from the electric soil that causes him to hallucinate and “transform” into something new.
8) Hallucination and Enlightenment of a Wether, or, A Revelation
i. Wether’s voice metastasizes, implying a complete transformation of character. He begins speaking in an abstract, aphasic tongue, communicating a chain of unrelated ideas, images, and, emotions, memories and revelations.
- This is a pyramid poem I wrote asemically, without conscious recognition of language or logic. It is, in the words of Andre Breton, “pure psychic automatism.”
ii. Wether claims he is now Pan, the Greek half-man half-goat god of god of the wild (among other things). Before this, though, he speaks the phrase “Time-maggots in two-dimensions”, expressing his belief that time is two-dimensional and linear. It implies that everything is happening simultaneously, which in turn implies that the piece is occurring as a whole simultaneously – the piece is a 2D simulacrum of an event, a linear vortex we can visualize in our conscious minds.
Feral Wether Justin M. Knipper
Jord was a prison planet. Its climate: sweltering hot, rainy, unchanging. The rain was viscous and tepid. It defined the planet.
This is where our story begins.
II. A Wether Lives in a Landfill Prison and Sings to a Rotten Banana
Loggia. Here I stand in The Loggia. (Or what I've been calling The Loggia - Most call it a landfill but I call it the Loggia).
All I can do, Is sing for you, Musa.
24 years ago, today, I was exiled into Cygnus.
Destination: Jord. (Or Kepler-22b, Whichever you prefer, Musa) Jord, near the star Deneb.
I was sent to The Loggia in a Titanium Tube. The Loggia. My new home; sublime.
I'm surrounded by treasures: Detritus, ammonia, Excreta and methane.
Citizens come to stare; They speak to me, but I don't understand the language.
You are the only understands, Musa. This is why I call to you, Musa.
III. Foreshadowing a Death March
IV. A Wether’s Family History
I was conceived on the terra nullius of Norbottenia, In the sty of a pig farm.
My father had a long white beard – As did my mother.
This was the problem.
Mamma was a kvinna get, Pappa was a starke man.
And I was the product, Of their pure, unwieldy love.
This revolted the village locals; Norbottenia despised us.
They protested to the kommunerna And had me sent away.
They jailed Mamma and Pappa For tidelag.
V. Lock-Up & Lift-Off
The locals locked me in the lada Until the nice men came from JASA To take me away, To send me to my new "home".
They told me it's a better place Filled with finer things and similar people.
They put me to sleep With laser barbiturates;
I awoke approximately 46 hours later, My eyes wide inside the Titanium Tube.
VI. Welcome to the Rest of Your Life (In a Prison Landfill on an Alien Planet)
I woke up and looked around; I looked at the void up above. I sensed I was very far away
They said I was in a prison, Next to a landfill. But the inmates sounded friendly; Their voices – they welcomed me.
VII. A Short Walk Across the Prison Yard & The First Meal
I walked across the front yard; A beach of bones with precious stones.
My first meal was a plate of hot flowers That grew from the electric soil.
VIII. Hallucination and Enlightenment of a Wether, or, Enlightenment
Machine. Fruits, gnosis. Propel discus scissorman. Fortunate processes after growth. Hypertext, close-up, changing, monologue, hologram. Stone hidden, it breaks all hearts. Folic acid liquid girl; Alpha Centauri after-party. Sumerian, happening, Olympus, Book of Dada; more machines. Sand, layover, clouded, nostalgia, formless mass floats over it. There is no reason to end things: Eye, accept paradox.
Time-maggots in two-dimensions: I am Pan.