Archive for September, 2014

The New Year (old Death Cab for Cutie cover)

September 29, 2014

On December 31, 2010, I recorded this cover of “The New Year” by Death Cab for Cutie. Still probably one of my best mutli-track video+audio recordings to date. All acoustic instruments. :)

This was before I got my Flip cam and I recorded stuff with my old Canon point-and-shoot.

Four years ago is a strange amount of time.

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Ambient Binary Bass

September 25, 2014

Made this video on Tuesday. I’m thinking the idea needs to be expanded to >30 minutes before the idea will go viral. Not really, but the idea does make me want to cut and paste together a one chord krautrock song of that length. Could probably only have three or four minutes of actual playing in it cut and pasted in weird ways.

The lower bass is counting binary numbers from zero to fifteen. Like if it’s playing A A E E then that’s 0011, which is three. The higher bass is playing five-digit numbers, so it’s actually in 5/4 time juxtaposed directly with the 4/4. Not that you hear the metrical mishmash because all the notes sound random anyway. The higher bass counts from 00000 to 11111, or zero to thirty-one. Thirty-two measures of 5/4 is 160 beats and sixteen measures of 4/4 is 64 beats, so I had the lower part repeat the count three times, but 3*64=192, so the higher part finishes 192-160=32 beats early. Math rock? Sort of?

The higher bass plays C# for a 0 and high A for a 1, so at any point you’re just hearing an A major chord: A C# E A, but with different notes missing at any point in time.

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Thinking about psychology and goals

September 24, 2014

Was listening to the Cracked Podcast yesterday. For a humor website their podcast is surprisingly serious. Another podcast I listened to (Hello Internet) compared them, and to a much lesser extent Buzzfeed (in essence hoping that Cracked’s present resembles Buzzfeed’s future), to newspapers and magazines in markets where there isn’t really enough news to fill up te pages, so you have the occasional really good feature article being subsidized by a dozen or so articles of fluffy drivel. Without selling people the crap articles, the newspaper wouldn’t exist at all, and without the newspaper at all, you wouldn’t have the better articles.

The podcast was talking about psychology and goals. Saying if you can’t ask yourself “why am I not doing something towards one of my goals this second” and can’t come up with a good reason, to just do that thing instead. Talking about the brain–how your present self does not care about the future self: if something bad will happen to them, that’s their problem, not your problem.

Thinking about blogging at the end of every day: “what did I do today as a step towards being who I want to be.” Who I want to be being a boutique guitar effect, amplifier, and synth builder, an accomplished player (or at least having produced records, whether they’re actually good or not) in those instruments, and also possibly someone with a minor youtube following.

Yesterday I produced a video from start to finish, but it’s not particularly interesting. But that doesn’t matter, what matters is putting in the time and the practice so I’ll know what I’m doing when a good idea actually occurs.

Today I’m showing up for class. Sort of relevant but sort of tangential to my first goal.

Anyway, the Cracked podcast is pretty good. Sorry for the lack of links, posting from the iOS WordPress app is handy, but still sub-optimal.


edit: Here is the episode in question of the Cracked podcast:

Here is the episode of Hello Internet where they talked about Buzzfeed relating to actual physical newspapers:

Polymetric Generative Aleatoric Music

September 22, 2014

The other day I mentioned making polymetric generative aleatoric music. I was able to get the guitar part recorded but I can’t actually play keyboards well enough to actually play the melody. I guess I’ll be working on it and practicing.

Anyway, here’s a camcorder-quality version of just the guitars.

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Tapping Exercise Tab

September 17, 2014

I was asked to tab out my tapping exercise. I didn’t actually have it tabbed out, so I just looked at my hands in the video.

Walker's Tapping Exercise #1

The goal for me was to be able to play it just looking at a chord list.

First eight bars:

Gmaj7 Cmaj7 Gmaj7 Cmaj7 Gmaj7 Cmaj7 Gmaj7 D7

Here's how I arranged each chord:

e ----------------------------------------
B ----------------------------------------
G ----------------------------------------
D -----9-12------9-12------9-12------9-12-
A 9-10------9-10------9-10------9-10------
E ----------------------------------------

e ----------------------------------------
B ----------------------------------------
G ----------------------------------------
D -----9-10------9-10------9-10------9-10-
A 7-10------7-10------7-10------7-10------
E ----------------------------------------

e --------------------------------------------
B --------------------------------------------
G --------------------------------------------
D -----10-12------10-12------10-12------10-12-
A 9-12-------9-12-------9-12-------9-12-------
E --------------------------------------------

Minor part: (0:22)

Am7 Em7 Am7 Em7

These are the chords for this part:

e ----------------------------------------
B ----------------------------------------
G ----------------------------------------
D -----7-10------7-10------7-10------7-10-
A 7-10------7-10------7-10------7-10------
E ----------------------------------------

e ----------------------------------------
B ----------------------------------------
G ----------------------------------------
D -----9-12------9-12------9-12------9-12-
A 7-10------7-10------7-10------7-10------
E ----------------------------------------

Back to first part, but with a secondary dominant:

Gmaj7 Cmaj7 A7 D7

Here's the only one you haven't already used:

e ----------------------------------------
B ----------------------------------------
G ----------------------------------------
D -----7-11------9-12------9-12------9-12-
A 7-10------7-10------7-10------7-10------
E ----------------------------------------

Then end on G like this:

For notes in , tap and then release quickly enough that you don't mute the harmonic.
e --------------------------
B ----------------------
G -----------12---------
D ----------------------
A --------------------------
E --------------------------
*let the last note ring


Coffee Log #14 – Aeropress

September 17, 2014

​​​Wordpress just ate a 1000 word post because it was arguing with NoScript. I actually usually post coffee logs from my phone.

Anyway, shorter version now:

I got an Aeropress. I got a new grinder. Both are good.

I’ve made Brezza and Kati Kati with Aeropress. I do the “inverted” method. I put 20g coffee with plunger at number 1. Then fill with 190-200 degree water to number 4, then stir and plunge after 60 seconds. Most people seem to fill to 3, but I want a longer cup.

It makes a concentrate like espresso, but it isn’t that similar to espresso. I might prefer aeropress to espresso. I can drink the concentrate straight, but usually add water just to make it last longer.

A more important question is can drinking enough coffee, or drinking better coffee, solve my life problems?

It is bewildering how often I am delivered a situation that has no good solution, let alone an easy one.

Nylon String Noodling

September 14, 2014

I just made this video of some noodling around on my cheap nylon string guitar. It’s pretty fun sometimes because I can just pick it up and play it without worrying about the sound too much. Also check out the papasan chair my parents were going to throw away. I kind of screwed up the video editing but I’m getting slightly better at it overall.



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Coffee Log #13 – brezza again

September 14, 2014

36g/20oz 1.8g/oz 2min Brezza

My grinder is on its last leg. The blades are actually breaking. I guess after 7 or 8 years what can one expect? I should finally save up to get a burr grinder instead of blade grinder anyway. I also want an aeropress. Money always complicates these decisions though. :(

The Brezza isn’t as bad this time. It has some nice flavors, it’s just the easiest one to screw up by overbrewing. Mostly its coffee flavor is very light.

Coffee Log #12

September 13, 2014

Today I did 40g/20oz Kati Kati 3 min. For some reason I’m just making random amounts rather than trying to be scientific about it like when I started this. I’m sure I’ll feel more scientific some other time.

Coffee Log #11

September 12, 2014

36g 20oz 1.8g/oz 3min Kati Kati

For some reason seems delightfully smooth today. I made an instagram video.

So much steam. #coffee

A post shared by Walker Shurlds (@cetacean.sound) on

I ruined my note-detecting abilities by wolfing down eggs fried in butter and a banana before tasting the coffee. Oops.