Some Alternatives To Your Interpretation
I know it's long but please have a read and see what you think; I reckon it could be worth it but I would, wouldn't I? Anyway, have a go:
Well, so far I think much of this is very well crafted yet unsubstantiated fiction. I only wanted to comment because the song is called Inertiatic ESP whereas you have frequently (always, with a skim read) written inTertiatic ESP. Inertiatic as you know refers to inertia - what wants to slow you down as you move, what pushes against you (I'm not very physicsy). That seems kinda topical when you apply it. It seems pretty weird that you say what it refers to yet write it incorrectly, anyway... now I'm here...
While it seems you've done your research on the subject I disagree:
Firstly, I think you are looking at the meaning of the lyrics too straight (it's late at night and I cant think of anything better), in that you are making the metaphors too concrete and object. I see the ESP as less of an object but an experience he enters in the time he is comatose; this also applies to the comatorium - a place for one to be in a coma, yes, but a place that is dreamlike and vague, in my mind - we must remember it is in his mind - only the figures are there and anything else is non-existent. I make the film in my head as I often do with TMV (and i think they want you to do, with their purported love of cinema) -
Cerpin is sitting in complete darkness whilst the ESP is a gallery shining down a single spotlight upon each figure there to punish/enlighten Cerpin.
Also, it is not to hasten his movements but rather to ensure them - I now feel as though I should have explained my interpretation of ESP:
1. Ecotpic - is something which is in an abnormal location which would refer to the the ESP being inside Cerpins strange comatose 'gallery'
2. Shapeshifting: this refers to the ESP shapeshifting to different figures before Cerpin to give way to
3. Penance - is repentance and sorrow for sins (most commonly in Christianity)
4. Propulsion - it psychologically propels him through the experience to aide his penance.
So ESP is not a vessel but an experience that he has while in the comatorium which is essentially a dramatic way of saying his coma. I think, though, this drama is very effectual as it enforces his confinement.
Secondly, while I agree that he sees figures created by his mind (tremulants? I dunno, maybe - I don't know where that's from but I see that as more of a description of them rather than a terminology - I think that due to its etymology in the adjective tremor, meaning to shake which could refer to frailness, coldness, illness etc.)
I'm undecided whether they were from his paintings - I see no evidence for that.
I see them and the whole ESP system as Cerpin, while his body comatose, evaluating his life. I don't think the ESP punishes him at all, it simply shows him how bad his life is in ugly, true representations, the figures personify his sins which to Cerpin is crushing, I believe the difference is that there is no malice in the ESP, it is indifferent.
Mainly, on this subject, I disagree most with this:
"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."
On my theory, the first three sentences are incorrect. The figures only exist in the ESP experience, and while are created from his actions in reality, they were personified and manifested in Cerpin's mind whilst in the coma.
I disagree with them wanting a leader and wanting to punish him, as I have said. However, I agree somewhat with the sentiments of those sentences; the 'tremulants' were traits and past actions of him which shaped him into being himself and thus attempting suicide, so, yes, they loosely 'planned' this.
Later, you also list some of his tortures, but to me these all describe the figures. The way that he says "Are you peaking in the red?" (This is a question but you missed the q. mark) gives evidence to this notion - he is asking irrelevant, scared questions about the appearance of the tremulants rather than their ideas.
Thirdly, "Now I am lost" neither refers to Cerpin being detached from physicality nor him being confused. To me this line represents his loss of spacial awareness in the ESP experience and the feeling of being dropped into a realm unknown to Cerpin that he is being mentally propelled through as indescribably horrible figures lecture him on his sins.
Fourthly - unhydriate? - again unsubstantiated.
Fifthly, while you mention the riddle and it's foreshadowing, you don't mention what it foreshadows and, yes, you might have it right but I suppose, in this case, I'll never know <- nice eh?
Anyway, I believe that it is one of the figures saying that Cerpin was destined to kill himself from all his past actions and will be the first to know he is going to kill himself and no-one will find him so he will be the last, but, here enters some higher thought, in the that if you kill yourself you'll never know you're dead because of that fact. The last thing you'll know is that you're dying, never dead.
Maybe that's what you think...?
Sixthly, The Music. The heart rate being reflected by the music I agree with although I believe it is a more overall experience - simply Cerpin becoming more and more scared by his decent into his coma.
Obviously, this process isn't instantaneous and the short guitar bursts act almost as a montage before the musical sequence fulfills itself (the final burst at the start of Inertiatic ESP) and ends the montage, representing his full decent.
I don't believe the time signature is strange (Many songs are written in 6/8 or 3/4 (which are only distinguished by their accents), especially by TMV - Roulette dares and Eriatarka spring to mind) and or deliberately so to disorientate, but that may be because of my familiarity with the song.
Also, the lyrics don't really matter the main point is to communicate that Cerpin is lost, the rest only give extra detail for those that care.
How to make a guitar sound like spiders? - Omar mutes the guitar a bit with his fretting hand and flicks his picking hand up and down the fret board with the pick just touching the strings with the action of jangling some keys, then some delay and other wonderful effects he used to own and done - spiders.
I've seen him do this a few times on live performances, for example during the middle sections of Tetragrammaton in the Yahoo!/Nissan YouTube performances on their Vevo. I agree though, this is very well placed and it definitely makes a strange, eerie effect.
On the end of the performance I would also mention the sucking effect of the reverse delay which could resemble the propulsion of Cerpin into the next chapter in his experience whilst also, as you say, making an end to the event.
Finally, when you said "a line that just really get you", I know you meant in the lyrics but I can't help these:
"This video includes both "Son et lumiere" and "Intertiatic ESP". You can see the flawless transition between the two, actually, you can't. Good job Mars Volta. "
The Mars Volta are a world-class progressive rock band for a reason - if they couldn't fit two songs they wrote in the same 6/8 time signature and E minor key together that were written to go together then there would be some serious problems. There are more worthy things in this performance to praise than this.
Also, I looked at the section for Roulette dares and I stopped very disappointed. I find the whole story (word of the day ->) unsubstantiated. I then moved to the music section and again was disappointed.
Just quickly: This was due to the fact that the whooshing sounds at the start are a phaser not a wah. That's fairly basic and (this will sound harsh) I don't want to hear the opinions of a "Real Musician" that doesn't know this and if we want to go there, the drums are effected by reverb not echo (echo is more distinct).
Plus, in the chorus he plays guitar like everyone else but just puts a high tone version to the right and a low to the left, probably one with straight and one with a harmonizer set to an 'above' harmony to get more difference. There's harmony but that's no big deal, again, there are greater things to praise.
Again quickly: Overall, my interpretation of the album is this, Cerpin takes drugs, goes into a coma, has all the figures speak to him which scares him they then continue to take him on a psychically stationary (even in the comatorium realm) but psychologically far and expeditious journeys through the ESP.
In these experiences he comes to the full understanding of how bad he is (whether he is or not is debatable because after all he wants to kill himself and it is his mind that controls these experience - he could have been a fine person that hates themselves and uses the coma to facilitate motivating himself to commit suicide - but then again not).
The ESP does it's job and propels him to penance. Cicatriz chronicles Cerpin's decision to perform the ultimate act of penance in his eyes and then This Apparatus Must be Unearthed shows him waking up from the Coma and going to kill himself while Televators and Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt are once Cerpin is dead.
I would explain this more in detail but this too long already.
Anyway, that's it from me, happy reading! I really can't be bothered proof reading this, it's almost 4 in the morning, so excuse the poor syntax. A night well spent nevertheless, I felt that in taking ideas that I had and writing them out I learnt a lot about what I really meant and how this spoke to me which is great.
About The Writer
My name is Andrew 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'neils home cooking 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. Take a listen to the latest sound here.