9 Songs, 53 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Five years after 2015’s The Direction of Last Things—their longest break between records so far—Los Angeles prog-metal acrobats Intronaut return with their sixth album, Fluid Existential Inversions. The delay was partially due to a personnel change, with Whitechapel’s Alex Rüdinger replacing longtime drummer Danny Walker. “We were used to putting out records every couple of years and touring like crazy, so taking that amount of time off seemed like an eternity for us,” guitarist, vocalist, and lyricist Dave Timnick tells Apple Music. “We wanted to come back with a bang.” As such, the album twists and turns with space-age guitar moves, impossible basslines, and superhuman drumming, making the title seem as much about the music as it is about the record’s lyrical theme. “We always like to be kind of wordy and playful, and we never take ourselves too seriously,” Timnick explains. “But I guess you could say it has something to do with the instability of these turbulent times we live in. It seems like the world is upside down and inside out, and we’re just doing our best to maintain.” Below, Timnick walks us through the maze of Fluid Existential Inversions.

Procurement of the Victuals
“We already had all the songs written when [guitarist/vocalist] Sacha [Dunable] suggested that we have an intro—something almost upsetting that turns your stomach a little bit before it goes into the crisp and brisk pace of the next song, ‘Cubensis.’ As far as the name goes, it’s a combination of a couple of things—‘Cubensis’ has something to do with illicit substances of a psychedelic nature, so ‘Procurement of the Victuals’ could be looked at as getting everything ready. It’s also something that [bassist] Joe [Lester] and I have been saying for years when we talked about rolling a joint or getting ready to smoke some weed, because we lived together for like ten years.”

Cubensis
“‘Cubensis’ was the first song we wrote for the album, and we actually wrote it way back, right after we were done touring for The Direction of Last Things. We were feeling high energy when we got done with that tour, so we wanted to get started on something that was a little more fast-paced, a little crazy—and this song was the result. I’m not really sure why I decided it was going to be about psychedelics—it’s not the most psychedelic-sounding of Intronaut songs. But when the lyrics were coming together, there were parts that reminded me of some life-altering experiences I’ve had in the past. And I think that just kind of made its way into the song.”

The Cull
“This is another one that got written shortly after the last record. We’ve never really had a long spacey section in a song before, but I think that was probably inspired by our love for the music that our buddy Ben Sharp makes with Cloudkicker. He does this thing where he adds like one more little layer every eight bars or so, and then you’ve got this thick wall of sound that’s still really atmospheric and melodic. So that’s what we did with the second half of the song. Lyrically, it’s a combination of some deeply personal self-betterment struggles that I was going through, along with trying to get right with my disillusionment with certain things in the world and then kind of getting mad at myself for using those kind of things as an excuse to not do what I want to do.”

Contrapasso
“This is one that Sacha wrote. The term refers to being punished in a way that is directly related to whatever you did—‘Let the punishment fit the crime,’ which is actually a lyric in the song. If I remember right, we were talking about the many undesirable things happening in the world—not that that’s anything new—but it’s like, is this the first time that everywhere you look, there’s just horrible things being carried out in horrible ways by horrible people? So in the song we’re talking about how the people responsible for these horrible things should be punished accordingly.”

Speaking of Orbs
“For this song, I don’t know how much the title actually has to do with the lyrics—which is something that I think we kind of do a lot. Like the song ‘Fast Worms’ on the last record was all about that guy Robert Durst, which has nothing to do with the term ‘fast worms.’ In ‘Speaking of Orbs,’ a lot of the lyrics have to do with the struggles of life, of hearts being heavy and weary from the climb, and the obstacles we have to overcome. Not us personally, because we live a pretty charmed life. It’s more about being worried about the piling up of seemingly insurmountable obstacles that the human race has got in front of them. It seems like for every one we get close to surpassing, there’s two or three new mountains we have to climb.”

Tripolar
“This is something I’ve done a few times over the last few records, which is I’ve just plucked the idea from a super vivid dream or nightmare that I had. Several years ago, I started keeping a pen and paper next to my bed so I can write down whatever I can remember from my dreams. Sometimes it’s positive, but more often than not, it’s dark and terrifying. This was one of those dreams where you’re being chased by something but you don’t know what, and you’re reaching out for help and you can’t move fast enough. You’re slowing down and whatever is chasing you is gaining on you. So I felt like I could sit and dwell on that or turn it into an Intronaut song.”

Check Your Misfortune
“The title is us having a little bit of fun with—and I hope I don’t get in too much trouble for saying this—but there’s something a bit outrageous about how wildly out of control some of the current politically correct factions are spiralling. And the thing is, we’re all completely supportive of these ideas as far as the evolution of consciousness and the evolution of humanity and progressive ideals. But it’s really, really frustrating when you see people who go so far in that direction that they’re not even progressive anymore—they’re regressing. So the title is a joke along the lines of ‘check your gender privilege’—you’ve got to check your this or that. We were having a laugh one day and someone was like, ‘Dude, you better check your misfortune.’ And I highly recommend that everyone does check their misfortune.”

Pangloss
“This is a Candide reference. I’m not sure what made it pop into my head, because it’s been a long time since I read that book. It was probably indirectly related to the same kind of stuff we were thinking about with ‘Check Your Misfortune,’ but sometimes the content is a little more serious and dark, whereas ‘Check Your Misfortune’ was more playful. So ‘Pangloss’ is pretty much in line with the general idea of Voltaire’s intention with the story of Candide—basically parodying the idea of overwhelming optimism. Like, ‘Hey, everything’s going to be okay. Whatever happens happens for a reason.’ To me, that’s just a load of s**t and deserves to be parodied. Voltaire did it first, but he also gave me the inspiration to write this song for Intronaut.”

Sour Everythings
“Ben from Cloudkicker sent us the main riff and said, ‘This is my gift to you. I love you.’ And we said, ‘Thank you. We love you, too.’ And we just took that riff and built an entire song around it. As for the title, anyone who knows Intronaut songs knows that we like to have fun with pretty much the lowest level of...it’s maybe one step above word puns. I forget what we were talking about, but we were just basically inverting phrases. Instead of ‘long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners,’ it was ‘short walks on the cement and lightless dinners.’ Instead of ‘whispering sweet nothings,’ we’ve got ‘sour everythings.’ Lest anyone think that we think we’re being super clever and funny—we don’t. We’re just having a laugh.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Five years after 2015’s The Direction of Last Things—their longest break between records so far—Los Angeles prog-metal acrobats Intronaut return with their sixth album, Fluid Existential Inversions. The delay was partially due to a personnel change, with Whitechapel’s Alex Rüdinger replacing longtime drummer Danny Walker. “We were used to putting out records every couple of years and touring like crazy, so taking that amount of time off seemed like an eternity for us,” guitarist, vocalist, and lyricist Dave Timnick tells Apple Music. “We wanted to come back with a bang.” As such, the album twists and turns with space-age guitar moves, impossible basslines, and superhuman drumming, making the title seem as much about the music as it is about the record’s lyrical theme. “We always like to be kind of wordy and playful, and we never take ourselves too seriously,” Timnick explains. “But I guess you could say it has something to do with the instability of these turbulent times we live in. It seems like the world is upside down and inside out, and we’re just doing our best to maintain.” Below, Timnick walks us through the maze of Fluid Existential Inversions.

Procurement of the Victuals
“We already had all the songs written when [guitarist/vocalist] Sacha [Dunable] suggested that we have an intro—something almost upsetting that turns your stomach a little bit before it goes into the crisp and brisk pace of the next song, ‘Cubensis.’ As far as the name goes, it’s a combination of a couple of things—‘Cubensis’ has something to do with illicit substances of a psychedelic nature, so ‘Procurement of the Victuals’ could be looked at as getting everything ready. It’s also something that [bassist] Joe [Lester] and I have been saying for years when we talked about rolling a joint or getting ready to smoke some weed, because we lived together for like ten years.”

Cubensis
“‘Cubensis’ was the first song we wrote for the album, and we actually wrote it way back, right after we were done touring for The Direction of Last Things. We were feeling high energy when we got done with that tour, so we wanted to get started on something that was a little more fast-paced, a little crazy—and this song was the result. I’m not really sure why I decided it was going to be about psychedelics—it’s not the most psychedelic-sounding of Intronaut songs. But when the lyrics were coming together, there were parts that reminded me of some life-altering experiences I’ve had in the past. And I think that just kind of made its way into the song.”

The Cull
“This is another one that got written shortly after the last record. We’ve never really had a long spacey section in a song before, but I think that was probably inspired by our love for the music that our buddy Ben Sharp makes with Cloudkicker. He does this thing where he adds like one more little layer every eight bars or so, and then you’ve got this thick wall of sound that’s still really atmospheric and melodic. So that’s what we did with the second half of the song. Lyrically, it’s a combination of some deeply personal self-betterment struggles that I was going through, along with trying to get right with my disillusionment with certain things in the world and then kind of getting mad at myself for using those kind of things as an excuse to not do what I want to do.”

Contrapasso
“This is one that Sacha wrote. The term refers to being punished in a way that is directly related to whatever you did—‘Let the punishment fit the crime,’ which is actually a lyric in the song. If I remember right, we were talking about the many undesirable things happening in the world—not that that’s anything new—but it’s like, is this the first time that everywhere you look, there’s just horrible things being carried out in horrible ways by horrible people? So in the song we’re talking about how the people responsible for these horrible things should be punished accordingly.”

Speaking of Orbs
“For this song, I don’t know how much the title actually has to do with the lyrics—which is something that I think we kind of do a lot. Like the song ‘Fast Worms’ on the last record was all about that guy Robert Durst, which has nothing to do with the term ‘fast worms.’ In ‘Speaking of Orbs,’ a lot of the lyrics have to do with the struggles of life, of hearts being heavy and weary from the climb, and the obstacles we have to overcome. Not us personally, because we live a pretty charmed life. It’s more about being worried about the piling up of seemingly insurmountable obstacles that the human race has got in front of them. It seems like for every one we get close to surpassing, there’s two or three new mountains we have to climb.”

Tripolar
“This is something I’ve done a few times over the last few records, which is I’ve just plucked the idea from a super vivid dream or nightmare that I had. Several years ago, I started keeping a pen and paper next to my bed so I can write down whatever I can remember from my dreams. Sometimes it’s positive, but more often than not, it’s dark and terrifying. This was one of those dreams where you’re being chased by something but you don’t know what, and you’re reaching out for help and you can’t move fast enough. You’re slowing down and whatever is chasing you is gaining on you. So I felt like I could sit and dwell on that or turn it into an Intronaut song.”

Check Your Misfortune
“The title is us having a little bit of fun with—and I hope I don’t get in too much trouble for saying this—but there’s something a bit outrageous about how wildly out of control some of the current politically correct factions are spiralling. And the thing is, we’re all completely supportive of these ideas as far as the evolution of consciousness and the evolution of humanity and progressive ideals. But it’s really, really frustrating when you see people who go so far in that direction that they’re not even progressive anymore—they’re regressing. So the title is a joke along the lines of ‘check your gender privilege’—you’ve got to check your this or that. We were having a laugh one day and someone was like, ‘Dude, you better check your misfortune.’ And I highly recommend that everyone does check their misfortune.”

Pangloss
“This is a Candide reference. I’m not sure what made it pop into my head, because it’s been a long time since I read that book. It was probably indirectly related to the same kind of stuff we were thinking about with ‘Check Your Misfortune,’ but sometimes the content is a little more serious and dark, whereas ‘Check Your Misfortune’ was more playful. So ‘Pangloss’ is pretty much in line with the general idea of Voltaire’s intention with the story of Candide—basically parodying the idea of overwhelming optimism. Like, ‘Hey, everything’s going to be okay. Whatever happens happens for a reason.’ To me, that’s just a load of s**t and deserves to be parodied. Voltaire did it first, but he also gave me the inspiration to write this song for Intronaut.”

Sour Everythings
“Ben from Cloudkicker sent us the main riff and said, ‘This is my gift to you. I love you.’ And we said, ‘Thank you. We love you, too.’ And we just took that riff and built an entire song around it. As for the title, anyone who knows Intronaut songs knows that we like to have fun with pretty much the lowest level of...it’s maybe one step above word puns. I forget what we were talking about, but we were just basically inverting phrases. Instead of ‘long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners,’ it was ‘short walks on the cement and lightless dinners.’ Instead of ‘whispering sweet nothings,’ we’ve got ‘sour everythings.’ Lest anyone think that we think we’re being super clever and funny—we don’t. We’re just having a laugh.”

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