The Immateriate

by Ethan Holbrook

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Highly recommended that you download for free to avoid gaps between the songs. The flow from song to song is important.

The Immateriate is a concept album written between 2011 and 2015, and recorded/produced in my bedroom in Keene, NH between the summer of 2014 and winter 2015. Thank you to everyone who gave me feedback, and to my roommates and neighbors who didn't kick me out after even the twenty-fifth take on a part.
Special thanks to my family, to Phil Halpin and Aaron Taub for their endless input, and to Rachel Lanza and Kerrianne Thomas for allowing me to finish mixing in their apartment.

And thanks to YOU for listening.


released January 9, 2016

All music and lyrics written by Ethan Holbrook.

All guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals, and drum programming performed by Ethan Holbrook except where otherwise noted.

Solo piano on "Empty Study Grand", keyboards on "Between Lines", and additional vocals on "Just Roll" performed by Aaron David Taub.
Lead vocals on "Just Roll" performed by Kerrianne Thomas.
Additional vocals on "Just Roll" performed by Phil Halpin.

Produced, mixed, engineered, and mastered by Ethan Holbrook.




Ethan Holbrook Boston, Massachusetts

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Track Name: Under the Streetlight
Immateriate (n) - he who is not.
Track Name: The Immateriate
I passed the back road, said I'd hack it on my own this time because
I saw a moment last two years last time I took the wrong shortcut
You told me you were cautious 'cause if not,
Your vision of the future just might fade
But what's the point if passing time is still an agent of this change?

Two half-lives ago I was whole but you know,
I've decayed, now I'm just empty space
With one clear condition, a dignified mission
This code that I should not erase
So look out through your window
I love the way you point out each new star
But they're dimmer than the dash tonight so,
I see you

My will won't listen to pure reason even though my heart's set to obey
All the ravings of this mad mind fueled by lust and love and rage
Remember I was born to function, bred to bleed just like the rest
So it's time to reinvent my purpose and then put it to the test
Track Name: The Stranger
He leads me away
Drags me through time and space
He'd make me think I'd never known you
I float through the abyss
He checks you off the list
I can't understand using reason

When I come back
My eyes are matte black
They betray not a single emotion
You draw up your charts
Doing research to start
You organize with endless devotion

You said "slip from your pallor
Remember spring showers
Whatever it takes to compel you
To shake off the black,
Bring the older you back
I just can't explain why you're crying"
Track Name: The Elephant
Red leaf season
There's an Elephant in my room
And he wants to see what is on TV
Wants to watch it in the gloom
Maybe I'll go out
Try to change myself since the last time failed
But he says "yeah right, fuck you!"
Days begin to drag
Did an hour pass? When did night come back?
Hard to tell inside this tomb
Throw the curtains wide
Thought I missed daylight,
Thought I missed the sky
But the Elephant told the truth

So why did I decide to break the mold
To care at all which foot fell first?
Since I met you by that streetlight, I have reversed
Everything I thought made me the man
With whom you'd share the sky above
But my new friend made me a monster
With eyes as dark as a heart in love

"It's time that you and I sat down and talked"
You're the Earth writ small or a pearl writ large
"There's something else I think you know I want"
But how could I ever not see you girl?
"Give it time enough and things might change"
Could you repeat that thing I just heard you say?

I'll undo my mistakes with a journey through your brain
Track Name: Mind Dissonance
Informal dissonance
Takes away my innocence
A surcharged, gold-leaf, deadpan lie
Black ink tendrils
Pollen-tongued, vengeful
Always on, never wrong
A fall into the thin-iced pond
You take me out, it goes away
Comes back stronger the next day
I could run or I could hide,
But even then, what's the point?
I'll still kneel tied under the streetlight

A spark flickers next to a vat of gasoline
A sordid reckoning of my entire being
A one way struggle with both my arms cut off

Imagine a snake bite that spreads through your liver

And all that you see are these blue, blue tears
That amplify doubts and multiply fears
A backwards journey and you can't come along

I spoke to the future and saw it was lying
The past and the present have muddled my truths
A rainstorm is coming so cover your skull
'Cause what's real and what's not is dependent on you

If there's one thing I'd ask her,
It would be to call
Analyzing all this crying
There's nothing left that I can do
But break this down
And bring back what makes the truth true

A rainstorm is coming so cover your skull
'Cause what's real and what's not is dependent on you
Track Name: Time Difference
Time means nothing when your brain is bled
Is my memory unfolding inside of your head?
Though nothing looks different, as strange as it seems
I conclude that I must be insane
It's night in the city but why am I here?
The chain links that locked my mind have disappeared
So what could be better than swimming in chronological decay?
Today is yesterday

Every time I see you here
Your smile seems to disappear
Your shadow starts to fade
Like a ghost of yesterday
Are you standing next to me
Or have you left for a while?
Were you here preemptively
For something I have yet to see?

I'm lost in this place
That seems familiar
As it was, were, is, will be someday

Time divided difference
Beneath all of the city's insolence
The dissidents go punished for
Crimes that have yet to happen
Or all in all were no one's fault
Their cause was lost to time

So what was I doing here?
Who was I chasing?

I feel like I'm floating, like I don't exist
There's no use for reason inside of this twist
Though I won't admit it,
I think that everything that I've learned
Will be so sorely missed
It's night in the city but why am I here?
The cracks in the pavement all start to appear
Psychotic time difference, I'm in the midst of this
Year after year, enter a new frontier

To the station
Dim the lights
For every day, a thousand nights
On the way we jump the rails
But my vision splits, we hold the trail
Is what I see what happened though?
This moment's now an hour old
Dissonance controls my mind
Monochroma, black and white
Where could they be taking me?
On this train that rolls beneath the sea
To another void with pain inside?
Or that rocky cove where I can hide?
Show me what it means to be
You when you lock eyes with me
Or rightly call me hypocrite
To try to change you to make me fit
That's what seems to happen though
Every time I get this close
There's something fucked inside of me
Something I want you to see
Track Name: A Memory / Traincar / Inside the Dome
Track Name: Empty Study Grand


Solo piano performed by Aaron David Taub
Track Name: The Elder
"Do you ever dream of forever?" he said
Sitting in his chamber
With ocean overhead
He was a grey and wizened man
With robes of ivory cotton
My rage was glowing red

I asked and he answered with infinite tact
Where did that train take me?
Am I far from the tracks?
The last I remember is ocean spray foam
And the mutter of gullsong lasting moments days long

He said, "I am the Elder here,
But I'm only in your mind,
I'd like to make that clear
You've disturbed a brittle force
You turned your world inside
And mapped a tangled course
You endured a troubled past
But the future will be worse,
If you don't learn to make the moment last"

"I'll teach you a trick to prevent the insane
Thoughts that would squander
The worth of your brain
The past and the present and future are one
You'll travel between them,
Ignite and extinguish the sun"

"A blackening mirror's still showing your face
You were never lost,
You had just been misplaced
So now let the sunlight collect in your eyes
You'll precede your birth,
And live past the length of your life"

"So carry on
Carry on
Try to remember the things that you see
Will never be real unlike what you believe
So go to the future, have a journey through space,
Or open your eyes and exist day to day"
Track Name: Thrown
There you go, you're back to this role
You know I've got to move myself forwards
(But what it takes to make the sun fall from the sky)
Thoughts won't flow, this viscous mind drones
You've got me riding your palm print
(Restore the moon his rightful claim upon the night)

It's always been tradition
If something's wrong or something's missing
Check your head and check your wallet
'Cause the answer might be there
My subconscious seems to want this
Seems to need to feel this darkness
I told her in the moment that the dawn might never come
For the first time in a minute
I could see her start to get it
I could see her understand that I'd been left out for the bears
Though I'm comfortable in warmer weather,
Rain and snow they go together with the way I think
The way I like to be alone
(With the way I think, the way I like to be alone)
But instead of shutting down again
Instead of terming me a friend
She opened up her heart, I felt that love begin to flow
Then I knew that's what I needed
All these times I'd tried to read into it
Caused me to forget that we'd been equals all along
This notion I'd been pouring into all of my exploring with you
Taught me that the problem wasn't me and wasn't you
It was ignorance, indifference, and only ever listening
To calendars and clocks when all their answers were dead wrong
(To calendars and clocks when all their answers were dead wrong)
To calendars and clocks when all their answers were dead wrong

I was left with seasons
As a million moments scrolled within eyesight
It's time to say hello again, to greet you every day
My mind had left the scene
Let it roll, could you be patient with me?
You were the one there when time broke down
When the world cracked through and our dreams leaked out
But you took that pain away
Taught me not to chase today
Now we tear through town with the sound all around
And the notes and the words keep the worst things down
It's time to get to know you, let that glow become my own
You know I'm thrown

We took a single car home
Through the window tint did I glimpse first snow?
I can see your face in the edge of my eye
Is it time to speak my mind?
I know you wanna let things change at their own damn pace
Let the future come once the past's in place
But moments quite like this one only come once in a while
Still you've got the sun up in the sky in the middle of the night
And I can see by the look in your eyes it's still not the right time
So can you see this theme
Born in streetlight beam
Can you please give me a sign?
'Cause I've been waiting long enough and now it's
Track Name: Between Lines
Tonight with you
There was a sharp internal warning
That came after the thrill
And did you doubt this sign?
There's an old rocky cove
In my mind, a place I like to go
I want to show you
Like you showed me
That city you were sleeping on

I wanna bring you back on a memory path
Sinking down to the bottom where my enemy's trapped
Where the worst of me might raise an eye
Will you stare right back this time?
I wrote a letter and erased it
A stupid song could not replace this
This between the lines shit is pointless
Though words once had their use with you


Keyboards performed by Aaron David Taub
Track Name: Just Roll
Oh, you're reminding me why
Would the worth of the risk be denied?
When the width of this table
Is shrinking so surely between you and I
And all my life
I've been waiting for this one to come
The moment I see in your eyes
And I see you
Break the brakes and just roll
Do what you need to let go
To let yourself lose control

And I don't mind
Past the walls of this room we can lie
Leave the truth of the moment denied
Then I see you
Shift your neck and your bones
Let me into your soul

And I'll do what I want, 'cause I want you
And I've been waiting for a long, long time
So if you've got the feeling that you want it too
Then let me give it to you, give it to you right

And I don't mind
Past the walls of this room we can lie
Leave the truth of this moment denied

Oh, shift your neck and your bones
Oh, let me into your soul
Oh, I want to lose control
I want to let you know


Vocals performed by Kerrianne Thomas
Background vocals contributed by Phil Halpin and Aaron David Taub
Track Name: Lightyears in Stasis
You, you, you, you, you

I saw your signal and caught the trace
Erase it they said, knowing what I'd do
Enough fuel in a ship to go lightyears away
But I knew I'd have to wait
For waves of change to set the stage
A shifting of worlds or my drifting through age,
Some colossal disaster reverberates through space
I will still answer your call, though that signal's since lost
I wrote it down on an ancient paper page
But when I arrive, and there's no sign I will,
I'm realizing I won't know what to say

My brain is in this basket
With your coordinates locked in
Third moon is on the rise and I
Begin to sink below my strange subconscious

In circles
Change forms
Crystal groves and

Don't calculate the difference using molecules and mass
It's this planetary distance that might make us burn too fast
Even with precision know that everything might change
Your orbit's an ellipse and you don't want to disengage
So with all these systems that are keeping me in place
If this world wasn't an issue, we could return to distant space
Don't bother writing down the year, it's just like sleep, the stars are near
Though words are pointless, there's something I should say
What could I ask her?
Track Name: Mirror Entrance
The last crop drowned in the first strong snow
Is it winter yet? I can take the cold
With a coat so warm and a mask of steel
I'll reflect on you how you make me feel
The old man said this would have to stop
I was in your head and forgot the clock
But this morning came, now you're in my brain
I'm so stuck on you that every thought's the same

Last night I dreamed a future
Where we both would fly through space
It was so long before we woke,
But still your face had hardly aged
And I think I know why

Every moonrise reflects sunlight
(Brings all this love in tune)
Morning shifts to afternoon
Month to month, a crucial constant
Dreams in check, moments unmoved

Why should you care 'cause you know we're dying?
Take a shot, this is still worth trying
Changing your eyes in your own reflection
What are you? Not a mirror entrance
Time's just a word that you could believe in
I'll remind you that path's worth leaving
All of your hopes, every aspiration
Write them down, don't let this replace them

Let's go back home
I'll take you at face and let your words fill in the rest
Dream of snow
For soon comes the winter
I know how you like that streetlight glow

I was the one in the rain and cold
With the worthless words and the tales untold
Now in the night I can finally see
With a mirror mask and a streetlight gleam