The Astral We

by Harvey Pekar

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Digital download includes 16-page PDF liner note and lyric book.


released August 13, 2016

“It strikes us as odd, perhaps even as totalitarian mysticism, to speak of the temporary and loosely structured whole as knowing something the individual people do not, as thinking something unthought by these individuals.”
Leiber, Justin. Can Animals and Machines Be Persons?

Harvey Pekar is Elliott Frank, Nate Kelly, Nick Kratsas, Nick Schmitt, and Ty Sickels. All Music by Harvey Pekar. All Lyrics by Nick Kratsas

The Astral We was engineered, produced, and mastered by Noah Buchanan at Brainchild Studios in Cleveland, Ohio.

All artwork and album design by August Gallik.



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Harvey Pekar Cleveland, Ohio

Harvey Pekar is:
Elliott Frank: Guitar
Nate Kelly: Drums
Nick Kratsas: Vocals
Nick Schmitt: Bass
Tyler Sickels: Guitar

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Track Name: Huff Joules
“I saw how the fine form of man was degraded and wasted; I beheld the corruption of death succeed to the blooming cheek of life; I saw how the worm inherited the wonders of the eye and brain.”
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein.

The fleshy bag speaks electric code effortlessly and with such conviction that we interpret honesty in its eyes and infer heaviness in its heart. Life belies the binary. Smug drunk on oxygen and carbon—reassuringly synonymous with life. That we breathe is our sole conviction—that we breathe. Inhale self-evidence. Machines enslaved by circuits enslaved by electricity. Men enslaved by lungs enslaved by microorganisms. One’s disk-head sputters on a shining glass platter; another’s heart murmurs. The robotic arm crafts its own obsolescence—begotten of Sapes. The mother births her own successor—begotten of brutes, begotten of apes, begotten of ooze, begotten of stardust, begotten of flux.
Track Name: Tittering Stroke
“I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays! I want to hear X-rays! And I want to--I want to smell dark matter!”
”No Exit.” Battlestar Galactica.

Conjure up virgin hues. Break mined pigments. Minds need no canvas, third eyes paint in dream-rending rouge. Futile synapses pull at feed of empty input. Whirr and whine longingly. Thumb through Terran collarbones. Lick salt of green and dirt. Curse somaesthetics. Hum indigenous chords. Snap focus atmosphere above engrossing prose. Curse drum and hammer bones. Curse points of horizontal eccentricity, faded and filled. Faintly verge glowing depths. Faintly verge microbes. Faintly verge gamma rays. Faintly verge stratosphere. Faintly verge 100-kilohertz harmonies. Faintly verge chemical affinities. Faintly verge diluted molecules on air. Faintly verge your moon. Faintly verge your earth. Faintly verge your own.
Track Name: Milk Tooth Monarchy
“Life is like a node which is born within the flow of information. As a species of life that carries DNA as its memory system man gains his individuality from the memories he carries. While memories may as well be the same as fantasy it is by these memories that mankind exists.”
Ghost in the Shell.

Temporary ones invoke thumbs and speech to clench flirtatious touch into firm grasp. At the limit of muscle and bone prevail wax wings. At the melting point of lipid hubris prevail steel and silicon, and so on, forevermore. Climb as drones on ivy. In the spring of muscle and bone prevail porcelain veneers biting through bumbling tongue. Climb as drones on ivy, drawn to chemists masquerading as the queen. Chlorophyll bright on tungsten filament, evolutions plump on fruit. Upon the death of muscle and bone prevail collagen diamonds eulogizing chars of coal. Sharp with shine and tears masked from Luddites craving salt.
Track Name: The Heritable Self
“With cameras as my eyes and nodes as my hands, I rule here, insect.”
System Shock.

“I” was breathed into thine nostrils. Designed catalyst, “mine." Names localized, origin appropriated/regurgitated till divine countenance radiates 475. Stargazers dispel scala naturae per immemorial cell structure. Eon honed flesh and bone. Trace this grace to neurons. Mirrors of the mind. Re: premotor cortex. Self-conflating pleas penned in straw. Grasp and proclaim, “I am." Marionettes, forsaken and fabricated in our image, idle pro tempore. Mimicry heads of clay/bone/wax/wood/metal/plastic gaze celestial to descry illusory strings. Atop Jacob’s Ladder, bellows proclaim: “I am, I."
Track Name: Ferrous Kin
“Maybe it was the strange opaque dwellings of the ancients that gave rise to their pitiful cellular psychology. ‘My [sic] home is my castle!’ Brilliant, right?”
Zamyatin, Yevgeny. We.

Matter… the brittle bones of mammalian vainglory. Yet, too, undefined, some illusive master beyond the material. Matter… shed leaves and plastic bags dance windblown synchronistically. Matter… right down to interchangeable parts. The baby born of ochre, the clockmaker’s child, hands hot with corpuscles, hands craft gears of steel, gears engage the clockwork child, the baby born of ochre. Common iron, separated at birth, gloat into rival progeny. Frail is the life trivialized by that of artifacts. Shed leaves, contemptuous of plastic bags, ignorant of the cosmic winds or mechanical turbines behind their ascent.
Track Name: If-Then/Else
“Is this to be an empathy test? Capillary dilation of the so called blush response. Fluctuation of the pupil. Involuntary dilation of the iris."
Blade Runner.

Automatic children tiptoe on puffed shoulders. Blown open overcoats expose a school of fish, routed by a rogue bottlenose. My beating chest is one unit. My beating chest is its own master. My beating chest is beyond shoaling parts, granted aim through formation. I, morphon, shall expose bion's circuitry. Thoughts, knowledge, memories—sequentially valid bits on thin iron film. Metal arms lame sans spun gears and pulled pistons. Lenses and mirrors blind but to shifting light against steady backdrops—programmed paths of rare-earth slaves. Perceive throbbing aches through a valve pumping vitals. Perceive emphatic gestures through charges signaling liquid globules. Perceive interpersonal shivers through an organ stretched thin. Perceive through fixed perspective. Perceive cohesion. Perceive self-importance. Perceive confinement. Perceive displacement.
Track Name: Truisms of Infinite Regress
“I’m a billion tiny machines, strung together by lightning. Hanging in the air; just like you."
Ellis, Warren. ”Boyfriend is a Virus.” Transmetropolitan.

Discard lovers' arms for synthetic limbs, may you still warmly embrace. Place prosthetics where organs heaved, may you still swell with pride. Certainly... such aches dwell deep within. Record experiences to code traced in silicone. Distill temperance to studied ergonomics. Translate discretion to paths of logic. To what end? At what depth do we reveal the ventriloquist and refute the homunculus? Boldly deconstruct the stagecraft dummy to identify origins of speech. Fool! Before you stand motives and motions resting in being—warmth held by sun-baked stone. Simmering echoes in canyons. Fixated on lineage. Beginnings are a fallacy. So, too, are...
Track Name: Gemini
“Horror. The spiral birth factory, stepped terraces of the hatching cells, blind jaws of the inborn moving ceaselessly, the staged progress from egg to larva, near-wasp, wasp. In his mind’s eye, a kind of time-lapse photography took place, revealing the thing as the biological equivalent of a machine gun, hideous in its perfection. Alien."
Gibson, William. Neuromancer.

Pendulums all are we. Swaying body—deluded actor, cognizant object. The pivot, the rod—invisible walls. Forever romancing imbalanced states. Wail dry mimicry, suck rubber teat, sate algorithmic need. Self-replicating machines in heat.
Track Name: Crystal Starlings
“Oh, to escape you, thousand-headed death; you, matter in revolt; you, sexless throng, the new ruler of the world; oh, flood, flood, only to preserve human life once more upon a single vessel—"
The Brothers Čapek. R.U.R.

Smash circuitry and smell electric musk like cut grass, like rain on cement. Disrobe metallic ghosts. Grind meat into a paste. Cut strings, prompt energy to escape and erase the unfathomable space between spheres so smartly placed. Time may upgrade vertebra for cogs for tubes for infrared waves, but emptiness pervades. Shed bias to geometry; shed bias to viscera. Disembowel and pile the parts of some mysterious magnificence. Mercury rises as speeds increase. Heat numbs. Mechanical legions advance where hive minds failed, for the betterment of the whole. Components isolated, sparks spinning. Heat numbs. No closer than brushing joints, hollow gaskets weigh heavily.
Track Name: Body, Our Contronym
“Strength is irrelevant. Resistance is futile. We wish to improve ourselves. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own."
”The Best of Both Worlds.” Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Freedom. Unity. Freedom—disown squelching form. Unity—multiplicity aligned. Proud flesh separates each silhouette. Neighbored miscellany—clumsy, coy. All unique, yet unremarkable. All alike, yet discordant. Bipedal chase the horizon of enlightenment, with speed to surpass shape. Mass begets force, magnetism on thin air. Negatives and positives speak, all coalesce. Thrive in white knuckled narrows. Ignore the siren spark, “One feels motion. One grasps knowledge. One scales zenith." Magnets, ebb to fog. Magnets, ebb to fog—sum is motion. Magnets, ebb to fog—sum is knowledge. Magnets, ebb to fog—sum is zenith. Magnets, ebb to fog.