The Mars Volta Intertiatic ESP Lyrics & Meaning (The Beginning Of The Comatorium)

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In this article I explore the meaning of track 2 on The Mars Volta’s album ‘De-Loused In the Comatorium’. This chapter (track) is called ‘Intertiatic ESP’ and marks the beginning of Cerpin Taxt’s journey through the Comatorium (get an overview of the story behind the album here).

In Intertiatic ESP Cerpin is sentenced by a judge in his dream world called the “unhydriate”.

He is forced into the Ectopic shapshifting penance-propulsion. This is the vessel that transports Cerpin to different parts of the Comatorium.

In this vessel horrific things are done to Cerpin in order to make him worthy to be leader of the Tremulants, creatures he created in his art which subconsciously manifested in his mind (the Comatorium).

(This video begins with Son et Lumière and transitions into Intertiatic ESP)

 

The Tremulants

Before Cerpin’s attempted suicide, he put all his work and faith in his drawings. Nothing in the world was ever so important as those drawings. He made art out of everything, art that was dark and most often disturbing.

This is where the Tremulants came from. Out of his pictures, they made a home for themselves in his mind.

Of course, he never knew they did.

They created their own community, their own religion. So when Cerpin finally decided his life wasn’t worth living, it was by no accident. The house of Tremula Metacarpi (the Tremulants) had planned for him to do this all along. They worshiped him, and needed to make him a worthy leader.

That is why they are punishing him, to prepare him. That is why he had to go through the Intertiatic ESP, even why he injected himself in the first place.

 

The Lyrics Meanings

“Now I’m Lost”. The tale of Cerpin taxt becomes stranger yet as he describes a creature called the “Unhydriate” whom sentences him to extreme punishment due to his attempted suicide.

Last night I heard lepers
Flinch like birth defects
It’s musk was fecal in origin
As the words dribbled off of its chin

There have been arguments saying that “Now I’m lost” is referring to Cerpin Taxt losing the connection between his body and mind. I disagree. Based on findings from the De-loused in the Comatorium Storybook it is certain that “Now I’m lost” is referring to Cerpin not knowing what he is being sentenced for, and not understanding the punishment.

The expanded song name is “Intertiatic Ectopic Shapeshifting Penance-propulsion”. To help understand the story, understanding the title of this song is a must.

  1. Intertiatic is a made up word, deriving from the word “Inertia”, which is the resistance to any alteration in a body’s state of motion.
  2. ESP (Ectopic Shapeshifting Penance propulsion) is the vessel in which Cerpin taxt travels in. The Purpose of this vessel is to speed up his punishment (or his “penance”), while still bringing him where he needs to go in the Comatorium. While in the vessel he is held down by spiders, which crawl around his insides, coming out every orifice and leaving larvae that burst out his spine (And yes, this makes me want to up-chuck as well…). There are also Amoeba type creatures who drive the vessel.

So to put this together, the song is about Cerpin’s struggle inside the Intertiatic ESP and some of the horrific things that happen to him.

The extent of his torture is included in the following lines from the song. Each of these lines has something to do with his torture.

Dolls wreck the minced meat of pupils
Cast in oblong arms length
The hooks have been picking their scabs
Where wolves hide in the company of men
Are you peaking in the red
Perforated at the neck
A broken arm of sewers set

After he describes his torture, Cerpin repeats a line from Son et Lumiere:

Clipside of the Pinkeye Fountain

In this line, he is stating that the punishment he received is a result of him trying to kill himself.

At the end of the song, Cerpin makes a reference to death through a riddle:

It’s been said
Long time ago
You’ll be the first and last to know
You’ll never know

This is foreshadowing what is to come later in the album. Along with that, it is also possible that Cerpin believes that he is going to die, and those are his last words.

Now let’s move on to the music.

 

The Music

The beginning of the song continues the erratic heart beats of Cerpin taxt, but only for a second. It quickly digresses to the intense rhythms of all the bands instruments you could think of.

The intense music relates to what Cerpin is saying in a great way. He says “I’m Lost”, but at the same time the music is confusing and produces similar feelings. The strange time signatures help to emphasize how lost Cerpin actually is. This is important, because it can help you or I understand the meaning of the song, even if we can’t understand the lyrics.

I really just have to mention to you. When the song breaks down in the bridge, there are the sounds of a bunch of guitars falling, and it sounds like spiders. I just want to know, how the hell do you make something sound like spiders? Because that’s obviously the part where the spiders crawl inside of him. Just thought I would mention it.

At the end of his journey (and the song) the sounds of fading guitar bring about a great sense of disorientation. This really does sound like he is falling asleep or passing out. It does a great job of marking the end of this chapter.

 

Full Intertiatic ESP Lyrics

Now I’m lost
Now I’m lost
Now I’m lost
Now I’m lost

Last night I heard lepers
Flinch like birth defects
It’s musk was fecal in origin
As the words dribbled off of its chin
It said I’m lost
I’m lost

Now I’m lost
Now I’m lost
Now I’m lost
Now I’m lost

Dolls wreck the minced meat of pupils
Cast in oblong arms length
The hooks have been picking their scabs
Where wolves hide in the company of men
It said
I’m lost
I’m lost

Now I’m lost
Now I’m lost
Now I’m lost
Now I’m lost

Are you peaking in the red
Perforated at the neck
What of this mongrel architect
A broken arm of sewers set
Past present and future tense
Clipside of the pinkeye fountain
What of this mongrel architect
A broken arm of sewers set
Past present and future tense
Clipside of the pinkeye fountain

Now I’m lost
Now I’m lost
Now I’m lost
Now I’m lost

It’s been said
Long time ago
You’ll be the first and last to know

Aaah
You’ll never know
Aaah
You’ll never know
You’ll never know

Now let’s continue to The Haunt of Roulette Dares.

 

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Andrew 'The Real Musician' Muller

I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story. If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O’Neil’s home cooking and eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham. Among my friends, it's a "Muller Classic Move" to eat McDonald’s at 2am because it's cheap and open 24/7. The joke here is that I'm an idiot. I play drums, guitar, piano, and I write & perform music for My Goal Is Telepathy.