Never have I found an album that cut so deep to my own experiences. An ode to living an undefined existence, "Embrace Nothingness" has given me a stronger outlook on my own life, and I hope others can find it as meaningful as I did.
Favorite track: Theme from "Embrace Nothingness" (Part Two).
...and day by day, hour by hour, with every beat of the pulse, one lost more and more of one's qualities, became less comprehensible to oneself, increasingly abstract. W.G. Sebald
We’ll never really learn the meaning of it all. Sade
Hello emptiness. The Everly Brothers
Embrace Nothingness consists of twelve new field recordings of natural disasters, two of them variations on a theme, written and performed by FAITH/VOID. All tracks were recorded by John Meredith at Mollusk Studios in Ridgewood, Queens, over the course of two weekends in June 2018, which we survived through the efforts of the industrial-size fan in the studio and the bartenders at the Tiki bar around the corner. Lyrics for “Embrace Nothingness” parts one and two, “Blue Shift,” “Fuck This!,” “Gorge Jershwin,” and “Revised Shoreline” written by Brad Nelson. Lyrics for “Highlander: The Documentary,” “Dig Your Own Grave and Save!,” “Leaves of Grass My Ass,” “Tungsten,” and “Lake Dracula” written by Tim “Rich Uncle Pennybags” Lee. Lyrics for “Three More Beers” written by Matt Lubchansky. Celestial backing vocals on “Embrace Nothingness” parts one and two and “Gorge Jershwin” by Amanda McCleod. Additional guitar drone on “Lake Dracula” provided by John Meredith. Artwork by Matt Lubchansky. Thanks to the following friends who supported us or at least sort of refrained from making fun of us during the writing and recording of this album: Pilot Viruet, Chloe Rickert, Jaya Saxena, Sam Rubenfeld, Matthew Connor. Special thanks to the four cats and one bunny who had nothing to do with this record and are completely indifferent to it: Ophelia, Dot, Superbass, Retsina, Robert Watership Downy, Jr. Several mistakes made in the tracking of this album were left uncorrected. Apologies to Jeff Mangum, James Joyce, Sean Connery, Robert Pollard, Diana Ross, Robert Wyatt, Van Morrison, Teddy Pendergrass, Paul Westerberg, Adam Duritz, former writers of Aqua Teen Hunger Force and The Simpsons—their work informed this recording; they can forward all complaints to the following email address, which we almost never check: firstname.lastname@example.org. FAITH/VOID supports inclusive spaces, blurred categories, and the failure of language to describe us as we are. This record is for everyone who’s gone missing.
released September 7, 2018
FAITH/VOID is now and ever shall be Tim Lee, Matt Lubchansky, and Brad Nelson, world without end.
Track Name: Theme from "Embrace Nothingness" (Part One)
Embrace nothingness. You’re always fighting someone you were. The sound of emptiness roars around the earth. Pronounce your pronouns. Improvise yourself in the mirror. Position yourself between two collapsing spheres. It seems like it’s fine to be in constant redesign, but I ache because I’ll never heal right. “Are you a boy? An inkblot? Are you caught in between two thoughts?” I don’t know. I just know I’m… not. There’s nothing beyond this unfeeling space in which we stir. The stars are screwed into the empty sky at night, and their light wades into your empty glass of wine. The makeup won't hide the weary tremble of my eyes, and nothing ever changes with the weight of my attention. I hear a bird in the beams. Her body stutters and screams, “Can’t believe how strange it is to be anything.”¹
¹ "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea," Neutral Milk Hotel
Track Name: Blue Shift
These are the brake lights bruising the dark, making impressionistic arcs in time with your cigarette. These are the ways that you could’ve hurt me with absolute uncertainty, but you couldn’t let yourself do it. There’s nothing I could say that wouldn’t be lost in translation. (A burning car left in an empty field.) These memories of you and me come back from time to time in rhythms that have never really rhymed—because we’re misaligned. These are the gaps between the trees, intervals in the shape of shark teeth sinking into the horizon. This is the wind blown through your hair, placing a fractured rhythm there—strands in superposition. The drinks I’ve kissed, the deadlines I’ve missed, the things I can’t resist. “I miss you. I guess that I should.”¹ I want to hold you in my arms but you shiver away and are remade in the distance as something good. As something I misunderstood.
¹ "Raining in Baltimore," Counting Crows
Track Name: Fuck This!
At last I am free. I can hardly see in front of me.¹ A crisis of infinite trees—I can’t see the forest. I can only see the seeds grow over fences and flat headstones. They shoot out of the earth like bones to an everlasting giant they’re building slow. Fuck this. It’s just like you said, “We’re no different from the dead.” We lie horizontal for days and slowly evaporate from our beds. It’s a form of self-hurt, of self-care. Plus there’s nothing better to do than to seize up and get scared. At last there’s no choice. There’s no principle. There’s no point. A choir of infinite voices swells through the wires on the ocean floor. I don’t want to be touched. I just want to be loved, or preserved in the perfect distance of someone else’s thoughts, like, “Oh, I remember Brad. They seemed like a lot.” Fuck this.
¹ "At Last I Am Free," Chic
Track Name: Gorge Jershwin
We’re sinking slow into the depths of ourselves. Through the dirt, we could hear them scream. The crystals glow in the guts of your watch. They’re always counting down to when we’re giving up. I don’t even know where to go. I am stepping on the back of a throat. We could save ourselves? Who could’ve known we’d end up quite this dull? I’m coming out.¹ I self-identify as asleep. Is the body as frail as belief? I could shed myself until there’s only past, until I’m the silence that fills up our empty glasses. I don’t even know where to go. I am forming in the back of my throat. We could save ourselves, reclaim ourselves, rebuild ourselves as snow.
¹ "I'm Coming Out," Diana Ross
Track Name: Highlander: The Documentary
Slanting sidewalk gaze. Trypophobic haze. Pock-marked asphalt sprawls. Skin crawls. Lately I've been thinking about looking before I leap. Pretentious intermittent stares that make me half a creep. And if a dream is nothing more than the reflected desires of the dreamer, my unconscious must be tired.
Didn’t matter much at least or not enough to specify. Those last few thoughts ain’t spoke for weeks, but for the record, you weren’t the start. Just a way point, an anchor dropped, floating like a corpse with the tide. They’ll find me in the reeds somewhere with time.
There ain't much behind these eyes, but you'll learn that in time. There ain't much left from now til death of sin and flesh for me to seek. In another life we never met, and maybe there you're happiest. And with bated breath, ain't found it yet. And I've kept all my receipts.
Ethyl flush in my cheeks. The first few songs on Astral Weeks. A broken record, years apart. Right twice a decade. A broken heart imploding like a star that's past its prime, an anti-matter void you'll fill in time. There ain't much behind these eyes, but you’ve learned that in time.
Track Name: Dig Your Own Grave and Save!
Alone in a crowd now, just me. You don't wanna hear my thoughts now, trust me. Rope in a motel for me, yeah me. Who'll disappoint my folks now? Not me, not me! I had dimes for the times I tried, but I pissed them all away. And I tried, I tried, I swear I tried but I can't hear what you say. I just try to laugh it off but it's not that cute to me¹. I wonder if you even see.
¹ A lyric cribbed with all due respect to Mr. Sweet Pete of In My Eyes
Track Name: Revised Shoreline
The sound of the ocean woke me up. It delivered me into the warm and bone-bright glare of the hospital. It blares through my skull. I lift myself upon the sand. I feel its atoms shift beneath my hands. I see it fragment and form into rocks and stones long settled over bones. That’s it, I’m done. That’s it, I’m lost. That’s it, I’m gone. Hissing through the radio: “It looks like another Love T.K.O.,”¹ on the car ride back to the hospital. ...I thought we were going home? In the morning all I see is a body that is incomplete and advancing into long shadows. Another spectral episode! The body is a photograph. The body contains all its past. What made you up keeps making you. You will never be new.
¹ "Love T.K.O.," Teddy Pendergrass
Track Name: Leaves of Grass, My Ass
Sweating, shaking, focused on my breathing. Time slows, pulse explodes. Count tiles on the ceiling. Mindful, keep control, don’t let them see you kneeling. Other side, heave a sigh, and hope you’re not bleeding. Where the fuck am I this time? In a subway station, or outside? An access road? My childhood home? Did I even leave my bedside? Seconds, minutes, an eon. Just finish. I'll never finish. Infinity terrifies me. I want an ending I can see.
Track Name: Tungsten
Always thought I'd flame out bright but I ended up just hanging round. Hail Mary, you know I'm contrite but it don't make no difference now. Burning's burning either way. Barking up the tree of life, my feet won't ever (again) touch the ground. Goddamn, this time I got it right, Paul's party is really swinging now. All over but the shouting, today. When they found me in the park that night it took three of them to cut me down. The leash was always held too tight, but you ain't got no use for it now. It was never gonna end okay.
Track Name: Lake Dracula
“It’s just the nature of the beast,” they said. “Just try to make it out. There’s better times ahead.” I wouldn’t say it matters. I wouldn’t say I care. Everyone remembers me as barely there. They set up a triage in the parking lot. The last few weeks have been extremely hot. I wouldn’t say it matters. I don’t think anyone cares. But a cold front rolled in and put a chill in the air. Sunlight through the windows on the east side of the building. Lost in the corner counting tiles on the ceiling. Stay out of lines of sight. Don’t focus on the sound. Try to get your breathing right, just try to settle down.
Track Name: Three More Beers
Spending the morning on the rocky shore: Stare into the deep, whisper secrets to the bobbing trash, go home and get some sleep. I know what I want but I’m falling down (so if you want to help me). You’re the house I’ll haunt, so come find me now (if that doesn’t scare you). You’d never call it greed, but I just might (if you are feeling generous). I want a lot but you can’t be the price (so i am feeling treacherous). A floating buoy off the rocky shore, a bloated corpse at peace. Another piece for the art collection. Another formless heap.
Track Name: Theme from "Embrace Nothingness" (Part Two)
Anxious fractured whispers on your tongue in the night mixed in with the silence and occasional sigh—components of the dark that you’d rather forget absorbed in the snoring of TV set. Through unremembered rooms, out into the street. The sunlight bakes the sidewalk until it’s blank as a beach. You pour into the muscles of the passenger seat. We drive toward the horizon which is wrinkled with sleep. Awake in the hotel room, you aimlessly stir. You’ve always been at war with someone who you were. The kids all press their faces to the window and slur, all their features melting into monstrous blurs. You said, out of nowhere, “Oh, I’ve never had fun.” It echoed off the buildings between long stains of neon, landing on the shoulders of the boys on their bikes and the girls in their cars screaming punk songs at each red light, barlight preserved inside their eyes. We’re alive, but only by a kind of compromise.
Your body cracks and whispers as you sink into sleep. Your body is preparing for the day that you’ll leave. Life is improvised, a shout in the street¹, and meanings are applied in between heartbeats. Sunlight wades into the lake and softens. I’m trying to not end up in the hospital again. No, I’d never survive the miracle of being alive. If I just keep myself alive and walk back outside. If get totally redesigned, one day I’ll rest. One day I’ll do my best. God bless this mess. Embrace nothingness.
¹ "Stephen jerked his thumb towards the window, saying:
— That is God.
Hooray! Ay! Whrrwhee!
— What? Mr Deasy asked.
— A shout in the street, Stephen answered, shrugging his shoulders." Ulysses, James Joyce
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“One morning this sadness will fossilize, and I will forget how to cry. I'll keep going to work and you won't see a change, save perhaps a slight gray in my eye.” As gut-wrenching as the concept of a second puberty. I'm gonna lie down and cry. Jennifer Gruber