The Ex Nihilo Cycle

by Instar

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Sven B. Schreiber
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Sven B. Schreiber For now I can say that "Stepping Stones" is an exciting teaser, floating somewhere between fusion, post-metal, and math rock. And Travis Orbin's drum work is splendid, as always. I'll write a more detailed comment as soon as the full album is released. Favorite track: Stepping Stones.
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about

The Ex Nihilo Cycle is based off of Ex Nihilo, a science fiction story suite by Eden Kupermintz, and includes shortened versions of the various poems and short stories which are a part of it. The original work can be found here: bit.ly/2mZ8uvN.

credits

releases September 15, 2017

All music written by Instar, which are:

Bass and Synths: Greg Greenberg
Guitars: Doug Van Bevers
Guitars: Nick Maini
Lyrics and Narration: Eden Kupermintz
Session drums: Travis Orbin

Mixing & Mastering: Anthony DiGiacomo of Encircle

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about

Instar Austin, Texas

Narrative prog. Space synths. Star-death beats. Austin/Tel Aviv.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instar

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Track Name: The Waters of Excess
We are fat with the waters of excess. Running a cool hand across my shoulder, I shudder not unpleasantly in the lukewarm breeze blowing from the ocean. It’s hard to even think that word, ocean. Gazing upon the rough, scarred skin of my hand, I remember the basin of cold water that had cooled it, not more than a few minutes ago. Those scars tell the story we are forcing ourselves to forget, a story whose verses, letters and songs claw at our throats like rivers of sand, pushing against the cliffs of our newly erected social structures.

The ocean, here on Black IV, is the ocean of dreams. The water, oh the sweet, beautiful water which even now brings a shudder of ecstasy to the small of my back, is ice-cold, remembering its mountain source. The people of Black IV are much the same: timid, aloof, cold, easy going. Nearly ten years ago they invited us here, to stay. They have enough land, they said. They have enough water, they said. They would welcome us. And, as eager children, newcomers to the Heart’s embrace, we gladly accepted.

But we grow fat with the waters of excess. I see my people’s eyes, I hear their well-disguised sighs. They miss the desert. Tempered within its horrible crucible, they know not what to do without it. Our terrible social muscles, the tendons and ligaments of family, tribe and Hold, move and coil beneath the skin we have sewn for ourselves. Clothed in Galactic customs, shrouded in their words which we have forced ourselves to don, we ache. We remember our home and we ache. We remember our suffering, we feel the rough maps of our scars, and we cry for return. But there is no return. Bow, they say. Drink deep of the water you have been given, they say. Rejoice, for we are the Sisterhood of Man, eternal, they say. And we murmur and nod our heads and drink deep of the water we have been given.

But we grow fat on these, the waters of excess. And I’ve had enough.I reach across with my hand, firmly grasping the crimson sash, and fasten it across my breasts. Only then is the armor donned, by my closest guard. I smile faintly at her, brushing away that strand of hair I love so. With a tight expression, she harshly tightens the last strap. Yes. This is who we are; taut, harsh, scarred, leather, sand. Sand piling into the room, into the street below.

“We are fat with the water of excess. It is time to bring the desert back”
Track Name: Stepping Stones
See, with your eyes which are rapiers, the moons
scattered among the stars. These stepping stones into
forever softly speak our story. Oh, wondrous syllables,
oh, unspeakable cadences, hear them echo in comfort
across the spaces of my heart.

We are alike two solar empires, vibrant, pulsing roads
into the impossibility of space. The silk of our roads is
the lifeblood of civilizations, the knowledge of languages,
the limes of understanding. Lying in the darkness, they trade
the smooth, ion-fueled markings of love.

See, with your eyes which are sabers, the planets
embedded between the stars. These stepping stones into
forever softly unfold our hymn. Oh, sonorous letters,
oh, mellifluous stanzas, catch them echo in joy
across the star-charts of my mind.

We are alike two intergalactic councils, lively, silent beacons
anchored in the impossibility of space. The bells of our prayer are
the humming of commerce, the manuscripts of wisdom,
the borders of empathy. Shining in the darkness, they exchange
the intangible, ion-fueled markings of love.

See, with your eyes which are like épées, the only truth which
shall escape the hunger of black holes;
shall outlast the burning of fusion-stars;
shall imbibe the sickness of forever engines;
shall bind the passion of terran empires;
the stepping stones into forever.
Track Name: Narrative Spire
stinging
gold swarms
upon the spires
silver

chants the litanies the
great bells are ringing with rose
the lewd fat bells
and a tall

wind
is dragging
the
sea

with

dream

-e.e.cummings
Track Name: A Longing For a home
This is the part they rarely tell you about. The memory of solar dominance, of life never in one place, still ran in my people’s blood. Or so I was told; no one was still alive that had set foot in one of the fabled cruisers our people used to make or that had gazed on stars from out of a body unchained by home-gravity. And that was the part they rarely tell you about: space travel operates on more than just three-axis. Most of the journey, at least as far as they eye could tell, was through time. You stepped on to a ship and away from your life. That first step, as the door hummed to a close behind you, that first step was a lifetime.I am a lantern awash in a storm and he is flotsam that I found with me in the stream. How can I hold on to him when he is adrift just as I am, when he has nothing to hold on to himself?

This is the part they rarely tell you about. I can remember when, as a child, I used to press with the throngs against the muscular Port Guard when a ship would land. The hum of the engines was drowned in the murmur of the crowd, the gentle ease of practiced phrases of awe and hope. The Port had been open for nearly five years now and had swiftly transformed the backwater denizens of Episcopal from a people fallen from grace to a people fallen from grace and yet obsessed with hope. The memory of solar dominance, of life never in one place, still ran in my people’s blood. Or so I was told; no one was still alive that had set foot in one of the fabled cruisers our people used to make or that had gazed on stars from out of a body unchained by home-gravity. It must have been true though, even as a child I could feel it: some sort of stirring in the blood, a faint tether hooked into my heart that pulled me away, not only in space but also in time.

And that was the part they rarely tell you about: space travel operates on more than just three-axis. Most of the journey, at least as far as they eye could tell, was through time. You stepped on to a ship and away from your life. Away from a father who had lost an eye in the monochrome fields, away from a mother who worried too much, away from a boy that had had such flowing red hair, it was impossible. Away from all of those. That first step, as the door hummed to a close behind you, that first step was a lifetime. This is the part they rarely tell you about and even when they do, they paint it with the thin coat of love, adventure, compassion and memory. They bridge the gaps left in your humanity, the echoing pools that form on the cavern-floor of your mind. The truth is, I have never been more alone. Sure, the pale flesh of the second lieutenant beside me satiates my drives but he is not enough. I am a lantern awash in a storm and he is flotsam that I found with me in the stream. How can I hold on to him when he is adrift just as I am, when he has nothing to hold on to himself?

Humanity is a chain. It is one tissue which feeds itself, extremities upon extremities that somehow, in the midst of groping hunger, feed each other. And space travel was sold to us, the people of Episcopal and a million-million other planets, like it was the great savior. The great release from the prison of community, the surgeon’s knife that would incise into the common flesh and free the individuals suffocating within. But, to me, it is no such thing. This is space for me: an impossible ocean that separates me from the life I knew, a life I had thrown away thinking it was too small. The irony is that at least the sailor on an endless ocean knows she has a goal, a beacon, a place to return to. I don’t have even that.

But if I’m truly honest, and on this, the eve of my arrival, I would like to be, I was always lost. The problem with my old life, my lost life, wasn’t that it was too small. It was that it was too big.And we dreamed. Oh, how we dreamed and in dreaming wounded ourselves every time we woke up to gaze on our bluish sun. A people of fools, of faint-hearted saps wilting in wax towers. Or so it seems to me now. But when I was there, still a child, the memories were the sweet taste of dripping honey, the faint buzz of a stomach that had gorged itself. Until the ships came, the beautiful, blue, rune-inscribed ships. I thought I could escape my hunger.

But nothing makes you more hungry than the stars. Now, the ship had decelerated enough so that I could make out individual stars out there, in the ocean. An ocean filled with stars, a deep heart for me to fill with starlight. The hunger is stronger than ever. The body besides me shifts and it has red hair, impossibly beautiful hair. In the corner of the room, I can hear my father’s hushed whispers as he speak of the mono-swords of the Late Crusaders. The wish-wish sound of my mother’s brush is his beat as she paints a purple scene of coronation. Thus, the cliche is all too real: the hunger was inside me. Forget the human tapestry, forget the organism which has no end, the body we call humanity. We are endless continuities, fragile repositories of liquid memory, songs, hope, fear and, most of all, longing. A longing for a home that isn’t there any more. A longing for a home that once was but is now separated from us by an empty ocean. A longing for a home that we carry with us and are thus incessantly reminded of its absence. The ship docks. The body wakes. My eyes open. I am alone.
Track Name: One Word At a Time
She wears her boots one at a time
but she is also made of stars and
there is only so much contradiction my mind
can take.
However, I find that diving and swimming at the same time;
an elixirious emotion that is both para and intra-dox;
is both the banishment and the conjuration.

She speaks alphabet one letter at a time
but she is also the effervescent mist and
there is only so much primal words my mind
can speak.
However, I find that dying and living at the same time;
a panacea of feeling that is both extra and sub mens;
is both the sending away and the beckoning.

She puts her coat on one button at a time
but she is also the end and the beginning and
there is only so much cosmic eons my mind
can traverse.
However, I find that asphyxiating and breathing at the same time;
a hybrid of mentality that is both inside and outside chronology;
is both the unfolding and the locking

of my heart.