Land of the Living Album Release

Yama music video

We’ve started a new band called Land of the Living. The music has been described as the bastard child of The Allman Brothers and Motorhead.

We put together a Kickstarter to pay for the new album. We asked for $5,000, but generated a whopping $8,300 with the help of supportive fans. We had a record release party at Music Millenium in Portland, Oregon. The album got picked up for an awesome review by the Cascade Blues Association, after it was released.

We’ve started a Facebook page, and are excited that we now have a great place to organize all of our content. Head on over there and give us a Like because we’re going to be updating that page a lot with great new content and giving away merchandise likes these records, shirts, and posters.

We’ve also started a Bandcamp page, where you can listen to some of our new songs for free! We have the record, as well as other merchandise, for purchase on that page.

Our new homepage is, please check that out too because we’re going to be posting shows and special blog posts there.

19. October 2014 by Kiv
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New Tunes

My roommate, Anthony Pausic, and I are trying to forge a new duo type sound. It’s blues-metal-folk-rap-gazer, I guess. Lemme know what you think. These are one take performances, so be kind. :D
Matchbox Blues
Shake For Me

22. October 2012 by Kiv
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News and New Music on Band Camp

Hey Y’all,

Just thought I’d let you know that I have some new music up on

There’s a new album of blues-metal guitar improvisations.

There’s also a full live show at Hawthorne Theatre, and also a bonus track from a new recording I’m doing solo with Anthony Pausic (drums).

Here’s the link…

In other news, I’m having a lot of fun pouring back over the conic sections. I’ll also be posting more stripey paintings very soon. I have a whole new flock of canvases.

21. September 2012 by Kiv
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Digitized Prismatic Painting

An engineer buddy of mine who works at Indeed digitally recreated the mural I have up on a wall there in the Austin office.

Here it is

Here’s the original

28. May 2012 by Kiv
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Finished the wooden landscape abstract

Well, this hunk-a-junk is finally out of our garage here in beautiful Portland, OR. For too long it dominated much of the precious garage floor space, so coveted by roommates in need easy access to bicycles. Done now, though. I’m gonna put a hammock in between the trees in front of it too.

I just painted pieces of wood and nailed them together.

20. May 2012 by Kiv
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Complete Wooden Prism Piece

01. May 2012 by Kiv
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Started a new art project

I can’t afford canvas, but we’ve got all this wood.

17. April 2012 by Kiv
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Bach’s Borrea

This is my arrangement of Bach’s “Borrea.” It’s one of my faves. Jimmy Page plays this at the beginning of a Led Zeppelin song, but he doesn’t play the B part. I wonder why…?? :o seriously…it’s beautiful. Maybe it’s not as memorable as the A section. Whatever.

27. March 2012 by Kiv
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Douglas Mountain cover

This is a cover of Raffi’s “Douglas Mountain,” from the Christmas Album.

27. March 2012 by Kiv
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Loving In My Baby’s Eyes cover

This is a cover of one of my favorite Taj Mahal songs, “Lovin’ In My Baby’s Eyes.” Yes, I know I got the lyrics wrong. I’ll make another one sometime.

27. March 2012 by Kiv
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Blues Riffing in A

Blues Improv in A. What else can I say?

27. March 2012 by Kiv
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Afro-pop Jam-out

This jam-out was inspired by a song from Paul Simon’s “Graceland.” I’m just exploring with my loop pedal.

27. March 2012 by Kiv
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Johnny Winter says…

Goin’ back to Dallas take my razor and my gun
Goin’ back to Dallas take my razor and my gun, oh yeah
Lots of people lookin’ for trouble
Man, sure gonna give ‘em in some.

You know that ain’t evil
just wanna have some fun
There’s so much shit in Texas
I’m bound to step in some.

I load up my revolver
Sharpen up my knife
Some redneck mess with Willy man
I’m bound to end his life.

Goin’ back to Dallas
Gonna take my razor and my gun.

03. March 2012 by Kiv
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Johnny Winter says…

Eat big cat balls with your food. Cause you know someday they could make you smile.

see: “Be Careful With a Fool” off the album “Johnny Winter”(1969).

03. March 2012 by Kiv
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B.B. King says…

I gave you a brand new ford, but you said “I wan’ a Cadillac.”
I bought you a ten dollar dinner. You said “thanks for the snack.”
I let you stay in my penthouse. You said it was just a shack.
I gave you seven children, and now you wanna go and give ‘em back.

03. March 2012 by Kiv
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Earl “Leadbelly” Ledbetter says…

Moses stood on the Red Sea shore;
smote that water with a two by four.

If I could I surely would,
stand on the shore where Moses stood.

03. March 2012 by Kiv
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Robert Johnson says…

When you gotta good friend they’ll stay right by your side. Spend all your spare time to love and treat them right.

Kernels of wisdom from the blues legend himself.

03. March 2012 by Kiv
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26. February 2012 by Kiv
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05. February 2012 by Kiv
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The Sacrament of the Last Supper – Salvador Dali

I’ve never seen this Dali painting before! Crazy. It’s like hearing a hit song by one of your favorite bands, that you somehow missed over the years.

The golden ratio abounds in this painting. It’s in the table, the pentagonal windows, the bodies of the disciples. It’s everywhere in the painting.

Great fusion of art and math if I ever saw one.

03. February 2012 by Kiv
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You said it, brother…

25. January 2012 by Kiv
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What a tremendous waste of paper…cool idea though, and beautifully executed.  Recycle?

25. January 2012 by Kiv
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Tool’s Into Math

Or at least their music would seem to suggest as such…
Here’s a link to an article about how the Fibonacci sequence figures prominently in the album Lateralus, by Tool.


This is definitely one my favorite albums of all time.  Tool made so many leaps on Lateralus.  It was if they had matured ten years in one.

Lateralus was the album that I learned to count rhythm to.  I remember being obsessed with hearing what time signature they were using at different points in the arrangements.

It does not surprise me to find that Lateralus is full of mathematical patterns.  Apparently, the Fibonacci sequence plays a major, thematic role in Lateralus.  I’m glad that the Fibonacci sequence is highlighted.

Manneristic music usually sounds halting; atonal; restricted; confined;  So I credit Tool with their choice of which mathematical mystery to embrace.  The Fibonacci sequence sounds so natural, and flowing.  Sounds hippy, but it’s true.


25. January 2012 by Kiv
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Smokestack Lightnin’ – by Howlin’ Wolf

This is just a sketch, but I’d eventually like a band accompaniment.  I’m thinking about The “T.C. Burnett Blues Band” as a name.   It would be a shout out to an ex’s grandfather, with whom I really connected, and to Chester Arthur Burnett (aka Howlin’ Wolf).  The “T.C.” part would be in dedication to the blues club off E. 12th in Austin, TX.  It was the only place to see good blues in Austin for about 5 years there.  The last time I went, a different band was playing and it just wasn’t the same.  Now I don’t know if there’s anywhere in Austin that you can catch legit blues.  Maybe there is…

24. January 2012 by Kiv
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Korgoth of Barbaria

If you’ve ever read the Robert E. Howard short stories about Conan of Cimmeria, then you’ll love this video.  It’s the perfect satire of the series.  Unfortunately, I think it’s gone unnoticed, as Howard’s original works are not as ubiquitous as the movie starring Awnold.  This cartoon is a masterpiece.  I only wish they’d made more than one.

The score is fantastically well matched too.  The cartoon style conjures memories from Saturday morning cartoons in the late eighties.

23. January 2012 by Kiv
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What is four notes then?

Four notes is also a chord.

The addition of a fourth note just changes the value of the chord, and introduces the need for more accurate taxonomy. It adds complexity.

We’ve talked about how chord tones can be distinguished from one another within the chord by denoting them with the number corresponding to their scale degree. Most of the chord tones we’ll be discussing will be separated from one another by either a major or minor third.


To help quickly determine whether a third is major or minor, ask yourself whether there is a half-step within the intervals between the notes.

For instance, is the interval of A to C a major or minor third?

In other words, if A and C are sounding at once, what interval is sounding?

Well we know it’s a third because of the letters involved. C is two note names away from A.

A – B – C

1 – 2 – 3

Now there is a natural half-step from B to C and from E to F. The reason for this is to create leading tones that enable music to have tension and resolution. It also has to do with the harmonic series and how we as humans hear logarithmically, which I cover a little more thoroughly in “A Single Note.” It’s my first blog entry on this site.

The rule about B-C and E-F being half-steps is one that I normally just ask my students to memorize and accept. And that’s the ONLY thing absolutely requires memorizing in music theory. Much like math, another descriptive construct, most anything can be derived or described as long as you have a few key tenets that have been memorized.

I still absolutely recommend that students memorize other things, but the E-F and B-C situation is the only one that’s required.

The reason that I don’t usually explain why there’s a half-step between E-F and B-C, and not a whole-step like all the other natural seconds between the other letters, is that it’s a very complicated topic.

Some people, myself included, are very unhappy about having to simply accept tenets of any system. I want the roots of the tenets explained to my satisfaction, and their purpose clearly defined. However, in this case it’s so much easier to simply memorize a single, integral fact and build one’s knowledge upon it than to try to swallow the entire breadth of the subject at once just to first explain the fact.

So please just memorize that there is a half-step between B & C and E & F; where there is a whole step between A & B, C & D, F & G, and G & A.

If we were to examine the interval above (A to C) with our new found knowledge of the natural seconds we’d find that A to B is a whole-step, but that B to C is a half-step. We’re examining stacked seconds, within the interval of the third we’re tyring to define as major or minor. We’re looking at the constituents of the third in question. From our previous lesson, we (should) know that a major-third is equal to four half-steps. If there are two half-steps in every whole-step, then can we not say that a major-third is also equal to two whole-steps?


A minor-third is made up of a half-step and a whole-step stacked, or three half-steps. A major-third is comprised of two whole-steps stacked, or four half-steps. Since we know that A to B is a major-second, a whole-step, and that B to C is a half-step, a minor second, we can determine that A to C is a minor-third since there is a half-step involved.

A sharp, denoted “#,” raises a note a half-step. A flat, denoted “♭,” lowers a note by one half-step. The sharp and the flat are opposite affects.

If we wanted to turn our minor third (A to C) into a major third, we would need to widen the interval by one half-step. We can do this two ways. We could lower the bottom note (A) to A♭, or we could raise the top note of the interval by a half-step. Raising the top note of the interval (C) a half-step would result in a C#.

A to C# is a major-third.

A♭ to C is also a major-third.

In the context of chords it becomes important to quickly determine whether a third is major or minor. This is due to the fact that the most common chords are built chiefly of stacked thirds. So to discern quickly what type of chord the thirds are creating, when stacked, their relationship to one another must be well understood.

We’ve already explored all the possibilites for two stacked thirds, major and minor, in “Three Notes Is A Chord.” So what happens if you add another third on top of the two already there.

That exploration resulted in four chord-triad types. These involve three notes, and the spaces between those notes which are the two stacked third intervals.

They are…





There are a few synonymous ways to denote these specific triads.

It’s common to talk about chord as in tones in terms of their scale degree, in relation to the tonic. And common to use these symbols for the triads, when written.

diminished = 1, ♭3, ♭5 = ◦ ,as in D◦ for example

minor = 1, ♭3, 5 = – (minus sign), as in D-

major = 1, 3, 5 = ▵ for “triad,” the most common of which being major

augmented = 1, 3, #5 = + (plus sign)

If it were me, I would have made ◦ stand for minor, and “-” stand for diminished. Otherwise, it should be that the plus sign stands for major, while the ▵ stands for augmented. I almost even like that better.

Oh well, wishful thinking on my part. The precedents are such that C- specifically means “minor triad, with C as it’s tonic.” A minor triad built off of C.

E+ means strictly “E augmented triad.”

But isn’t there life beyond triads!?

Yes, my friend, there is such a life.

We’ve talked about chord tones being denoted by their scale degree from the tonic. 1, #/♭3, #/♭5, etc.

But what if we added another third on top of the 5…a 7. Now we have a whole new dimension to play with.

Now we can talk about triads as foundations with sevenths, and distinguish between them by whether they have a natural 7 or a ♭7.

For instance, a major triad with a ♭7 (a minor third away from the 5), is referred to as a dominant seven chord. The reason for the word “dominant” is a topic for another blog. It would be written “G7,” to choose an arbitrary tonic (G).

A minor triad with a minor-third on top is called a “minor seven chord.” It would be written “G-7.”

A minor triad with a major-third interval on top is called a “minor major-seven chord.” It would be written “G-▵7.”

A major triad with a minor-third on top is called what we already went over a few paragraphs ago. It’s called a “seven chord.” As in, “G7.”

A major triad with a major-third on top is called a “major seven chord.”

A diminished triad with major third on top is called a half-diminished seven chord, since “fully diminished seven” is reserved for a diminished triad with a minor third stacked on top.

I know I was supposed to go into scales in this post, but it turned out a little longer than I thought. So they’ll have to wait to till next time!



15. January 2012 by Kiv
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Spoon in ma mouf

11. January 2012 by Kiv
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Ernst Haas was a hoss.

09. January 2012 by Kiv
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Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott for Pop f/w 2002

09. January 2012 by Kiv
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Three Notes Is A Chord

When three different notes are sounding simultaneously they create the first instance of a chord.  Chords can have many more than just three notes, but I would argue that they may have no less than three.  Two notes is afterall an interval, is it not?

An interval can sometimes imply a chord, as when an artist creates the expectation musically of a particular chord but then only gives the two notes that define that chord most characteristically.  The artist would be fulfilling most of the expectation of the listener, relying on cultural precedent to do the rest of the work filling in the missing tones.

So, there are lots chord combinations.  To count them we have to think about the smallest interval, involving two different notes (the half-step).  Then we need to count a half-step on top of another half-step as our first chord.  A half-step with a whole-step on top of it would be our second chord.  We’re “stacking” intervals here, to create chords.  A half-step with a minor-third on top of it would be the fourth chord.  But keep in mind that we have to exclude the unison and octave intervals as they are just a repeat of a note.  Remember, a chord is defined as three different notes sounding simultaneously.  That leaves eleven different intervals that can be stacked on top of eleven intervals, which makes 121 possible two interval chord combinations within each key.  Multiplied by 12 keys, the number of possible two interval chord combinations jumps to 1,452.  Remember also that chords can be composed of many more than three notes.  For instance, if we consider all four-note combinations in the same manner there are 15,972 possibilities.  Five note chords are very common.  There are 175,692 possible combinations of 5 note chords.

Thank God there are a relatively small number of chords that are much more commonly used than the others.  It helps also to name them in some systematic way.  They’re much easier to reference in your memory once categorized.

There are four main types of triads.  ”Triad” is just another name for a three-note chord.

The four types are…





A diminished chord is made by stacking two minor-third intervals.  So diminished chords have the closest/smallest intervals of the four types.

An augmented chord is made of two major-thirds, stacked.  It has the largest, or most largely separated, intervals of the four types.

Major and minor are easy to remember simply because a major-chord is a major-third with a minor-third stacked on top, conversely a minor-chord is a minor-third with a major-third stacked on top.

We’re only working with major and minor-thirds, stacking them in every permutation, and systematically naming discrete instances of chords when they appear.

There are only four possibilites for stacking major and minor-thirds.

minor-third, minor-third – diminished triad

minor-third, major-third – minor triad

major-third, minor-third – major triad

major-third, major-third – augmented triad

You could of course apply this process to all of types of intervals: seconds, fourths, fifths, sixths, sevenths.  But seconds are too small, and sound very dissonant when played in triads…to most Western listeners.  Fourths are pretty good, but a little too far apart.  Chords in fourths are useful in certain musical situations, but used in excess fourths leave the music sounding empty.  Our ears can discern notes at and above a fourth interval discretely a little too easily.  Thirds are the happy medium.

So these triads in thirds are the basis for almost any chord you’ll see in common use.

For instance, an A-major triad is simply a major triad whose root note is an A.  Likewise, an C-minor chord would be a minor triad whose root is C.  In the triads we’ve been discussing thus far the root has always been the lowest note of the chord.  However this will not always be the case, as when the intervals within a chord are inverted.

The root of the chord is the note in the chord against which all the others are compared.  In theory, every note of a chord could be considered as the root, but the precedents of our musical culture create a situation where considering one chord tone over another as the root makes much more sense.

The notes comprising a chord are called “chord tones.”  It is also common to distinguish these chord tones from one another by what interval separates each note in the chord from the root.

For instance, it’s common to talk about the 1, 3, and 5 of a chord.  The 1 refers to the root.  The first note in the chord, and a unison away from itself.  The 3 is the second note in the chord, but it’s a third away from the 1.  Similarly, the 5 is a fifth away from the root.




08. January 2012 by Kiv
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An interval of space is a length. An interval of time is a duration. An interval of pitch in Western music theory is rather unimaginatively called an “interval.” Intervals are a way to compare the “space” between two notes.

Let’s say a person sings a note, and then another person sings a note such that they are sounding at once. Since two notes are sounding they can be quantifiably compared by using the taxonomy of musical intervals. Even if they are the same note, they can still be compared as being “the same note.” This type of interval is called a unison. A unison is when two instruments play the same note, in the same octave.


An octave is another type of interval. It’s sort of the inverse of a unison. In fact, a unison does invert to an octave and vice versa.

An octave is the doubling or halving of some given frequency. So if the given frequency was 100 Hz, then the first octave above that would be 200 Hz, the second 400 Hz, and so on. The first octave below 100 Hz is 50 Hz, the second 25 Hz, etc. There is a continuous set of frequencies between these octaves, but the Western musical tradition since the mid 1700s has been to divide the octave evenly into 12 pieces. Each of these pieces is called a half-step. We haven’t always divided the octave this way. J.S. Bach was a proponent of equal temperament however, and helped usher in the new tuning system by composing “The Well-Tempered Clavier.”

The idea here is to create a naming system able to describe all the possible relationships between two notes. Twelve was the number at which the Western tradition settled upon, but there are other systems in other cultures that divide the octave into more than twelve notes. These intervals would just sound out of tune to a Western listener.

I can build a list of all the possible intervals within an octave by comparing the first note in said octave to each subsequent note.

For example, if given a note we can compare that note to another note that is a minimum of one half-step above our initial note. We could then add a half-step and compare the note that is two half-steps above to our initial note. We could then compare the note three half-steps above the initial note, and so on. When we reach the twelth half-step, we’ll have reached the first octave above our initial note. All we have to do now is name all of those relationships and we can talk about the two notes in music.

A complete list of the possible intervals within the octave:

unison (0 half-steps apart) – the same note sounded by two separate sources simultaneously

minor-second (1 half-step apart) – also known as a half-step or a semi-tone

major-second (2 half-steps apart) – also known as a whole-step

minor-third (3 half-steps apart)

major-third (4 half-steps apart)

perfect-fourth (5 half-steps apart)

augmented-fourth (6 half-steps apart)

perfect-fifth (7 half-steps apart)

minor-sixth (8 half-steps apart)

major-sixth (9 half-steps apart)

minor-seventh (10 half-steps apart)

major-seventh (11 half-steps apart)

octave (12 half-steps apart)

There are few more little complications that must be addressed to fully understand the Western system of describing intervals. I have given what I believe to be the most commonly used names to the intervals, but to be comprehensive we’d have to give each interval a number of names. This is where the interval naming system can become pretty convoluted, so bear with me.

Seconds, thirds, sixths, and sevenths can be diminished, minor, major, or augmented.

Unisons, fourths, fifths, and octaves can be diminished, perfect, or augmented.

These terms are not to be confused with minor, major, augmented, or diminished chords. We’re talking about intervals here, which are composed of two notes only.


Let’s look at an example. Take a major-third (the distance of four half-steps apart between two notes). If I were to add another half-step to the higher of the two pitches in the interval I would have the interval of a perfect fourth, but I could also call that interval an augmented-third. The augmented-third interval is said to be enharmonically equivalent to the perfect-fourth. They are indistinguishable audibly. The difference is purely nominal. Likewise, if I were to take away a half-step from the top note of the major-third interval I would produce the interval of a minor third, but a minor third could also be called an augmented-second. An augmented-fourth is enharmonically equivalent to a diminished-fifth. A doubly-augmented-fourth is the same as a perfect-fifth. A doubly-diminished-fifth is just the same as a perfect-fourth. A diminished-fourth is equal to a major-third. An augmented third is the same as a perfect-fourth.

Intervals can also be inverted. For instance, imagine two notes sounding at once. There is a higher and a lower night, unless they are the same note. Ok…imagine any two different notes sounding at once. In this instance, there is always a higher and lower note. If you take the bottom note up an octave, or take the top note down an octave you have “inverted” the interval. It’s like turning the interval inside-out. Conveniently major converts to minor, augmented to diminished, and perfect to perfect such that…

unison inverts to octave

minor-second inverts to major-seventh

major-second inverts to minor-seventh

minor-third inverts to major-sixth

major-third inverts to minor-sixth

perfect-fourth inverts to perfect-fifth

augmented-fourth inverts to diminished-fifth

perfect-fifth inverts to perfect-fourth

minor-sixth inverts to major-third

major-sixth inverts to ___________

_____________ inverts to minor-second

______ inverts to ______

If you can fill in the blanks, you’re starting to understand intervals.

Alternatively, if this seems like gibberish to you then read it again! Understanding intervals is essential to grasping the concept of chords, which is the topic of the next installment of this blog.



07. January 2012 by Kiv
Categories: Math, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 113 comments

A Single Note

What is a note?


A note is actually a multidimensional thing.  It has both pitch and duration.

It’s like how a vector has direction, and magnitude.  The magnitude might be zero, but it’s there.

In the case of a note, the pitch might be zero but the note still has duration as the vector maintains its direction.

The duration of a note might be forever, but it cannot be without duration at all.  The instance of a note duration with zero pitch is called a rest-note, or simply a “rest.”

Sound, as we hear it, is about the exchange of kinetic energy.  Some sound “source” jostles the air at a sufficient velocity and the jostling is detected by tiny hairs in our ears which transduces the kinetic energy into electrical impulse, interpreted via nerves by our cerebral cortex.

I believe the use of the word “note,” in any language, puts the sound in question squarely into a musical context.  Described musically, the sound could quite possibly be considerted “out of tune.”

We tune, musically, to a thing called “A 440.”  This is short for “440 Hertz(Hz), which is called ‘A.’”  Our society has simply chosen to call the frequency of 440 Hz  ”A,” and everything else is tuned from that pitch.

What is pitch? What is Hertz? What is frequency?

These terms are related.  When a sound source, such as a guitar string, vibrates it jostles the air around it.  The rippling waves created by these jostlings propagate longitudinally through the air.  If you can imagine a transverse wave vibrating and oscillating through the air in three dimensional spheres of undulating positive and negative pressure then you start to get the picture.  Oh yeah, and the oscillations can happen many times per second.  For human hearing we’re talking 20 vibrations per second minimum, to be heard as sound.  We as humans can detect very many more vibrations per second, however.  The top end of human hearing is 20,000 oscillations per second.  I try to imagine visually the many wrigglings that the longitudinal wave worm would have to perform per second to create the effect of even 8,000 oscillations.  It’s difficult.

Hertz was a guy.  The measure of oscillations that pass through a given point in a second at the speed of sound is named after him.  The more Hertz (Hz), the higher the pitch.  The exact number of oscillations per second in Hertz is referred to as a sound’s frequency.

Waves can take on different forms, but there is a fundamental wave form against which all others are compared.  It is called a sine wave.

This wave form is the building block.

A guitar string playing a note seems like a single sound, but it’s actually lots of sine waves at different frequencies sounding all at once.

Most sound sources are not capable of reproducing a perfect sine wave.  Things like animals, cars, humans, instruments create what are called complex waveforms.  They’re complex because they’re made up of multiple sine waves sounding at once.  The waves interfere with one another both constructively and destructively to create a sound signature that we perceive in amalgam.

To imagine this, ask yourself “how can two people sing the same note, but sound different from one another at the same time?”

The answer is that a single note, unless it’s a sine wave, is not just a single not but the combination of many sine waves sounding simultaneously.  When a person sings a note a whole series of notes sound in resonance with the lowest, fundamental note.  The lowest, loudest sounding note is called the “fundamental” and is what we would call the pitch of the note being sung.  However, every multiple of that fundamental frequency actually sounds, just much more quietly, simultaneously with the fundamental.  Although the higher multiples of the fundamental frequencies are much quieter they still impact the overall sound enough to create an audible signature.  This series sounding in harmony with fundamental is eponymously called the “harmonic series.”  The relative volumes of the upper harmonics as compared to the fundamental is what gives a sound it’s recognizeable signature; it’s timbre.



07. January 2012 by Kiv
Categories: Math, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 comments

First Prismatic Landscape Mural

Just completed a painting.  It’s a mural about eleven feet tall and twenty something feet long.  I haven’t measured the length.  It just looks about twice as long as the height.  It’s a landscape.  Or it’s not.  Whichever’s funnier.

Acrylic on drywall.



04. January 2012 by Kiv
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Gold Magnolias – Pig Fest Tour

I love the photography in this video. Edited in pretty professional way too. Go Magnolias.

29. December 2011 by Kiv
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Goin’ Away, Baby – by Jimmy Rodgers

22. December 2011 by Kiv
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Douglas Mountain – by Raffi

22. December 2011 by Kiv
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Lost Cause – by Beck

22. December 2011 by Kiv
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Beast For Thee – by Bonnie Prince Billy

22. December 2011 by Kiv
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Artist Showcase: Max Voss Nester – Surrealism

Max and I have known each other for almost 16 years now.  I remember he used to do these incredibly elaborate, fantasmagorical, and somehow realistic pencil sketches that he would spend weeks at a time completing.

Well, his work has evolved over the years.  He still creates very detail oriented and often complex depictions, however there are a few key changes that have taken place.  For one, Max’s art seems much more vibrant and colorful than it once was.  The photo-realistic approach is maintained, but the subjects are no longer fantastical.   Rather than creating a creature from his imagination to draw, Max will more likely find an imaginative combination of real subjects that one might not see juxtaposed in reality.

I believe that this is a constraint that Max has imposed on himself, for this style of painting.  Now, Max has other styles that he affects, but the paintings below seem to have a common thread.  They all explore the dialectic of reality versus absurdity.  He combines extremes.  In this style, Max is not interested in exploring where reality and absurdity meet, which could be described as fantasy.  Instead, he seems more taken with the conflict of placing extremes from each category against one another.  You won’t find a dragon, or any nymphs, or even a half-shark-alligator-half-man (although I’ve requested it).  What you will find is extreme realism and extreme abstraction makin’ woopie.

So here’s some ideological porn, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Chaos and Confusion

Air Show

Theatre of the Absurd


Mr. Myxo

Link to Max’s page,

23. November 2011 by Kiv
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Expressing Sounds with Color

I’ve got this idea, but I’m not exactly sure of how to pull it off logistically.  I want to turn the sound of two instruments playing single notes simultaneously into a visual landscape, and I want to build it out of glass.

I believe this will take the painting style I’m affecting now and evolve it both in technique and meaning.

Here’s some context.

Exhibit A:

Out To Sea - 40x30

I love this painting, but it’s very uniform and too primary.  The stripes are all of constant widths, and bordered with parallel lines.  The colors are a just a little too logical, following a consistent gradation from lighter to darker.

These are constraints I have intentionally put on myself, but it’s time to branch out a bit.

Exhibit B:

Our Secret Clouds 30x20

In this painting (Our Secret Clouds, which is a Family Guy/ Bob Ross reference), I’ve tried to break my mold in a few small ways.

1. The stripes are of more complex, earth-like tones that do not follow logically from one to the next in color theory.

2. The brush strokes are angled inward from each side at about 40 degrees to suggest the slope of mountains and hills.

3. I’ve broken the color gradation from blue to black in the sky with white/gray triangular clouds (…and if you tell ANYone those clouds are there…).


Exhibit C:

In this painting I just went all out and broke all my rules, except the essential ones that keep the painting at least looking somewhat similar to the others in the series.

York Family painting 60x48


It looks like a rainy day in the desert, this side up.

York Family painting (upside down?) 60x48

From this side it looks like a dark forest covered by pregnant clouds, with a mountain in the back ground.

I don’t know, most of these paintings work that way…

Anyway, the main difference is that I didn’t use tape at all; just freehand.

- “pushed” the clouds into place from the bottom, but if you turn the painting upside down they look like forests of pine trees

- used the arc of my torso and arm to create both the caricature of rounded mountain tops, or the underside large cumulus clouds tinged with reds and yellows from the sun; depending on what orientation the painting is being viewed from.


It’s fun to branch out so drastically, but my instinct tells me that I need to reign it in a bit more.

Exhibit D:

Would That It Were 28x22

In this painting I’ve done a couple of things to be suggestive of specific aspects of the landscape, however I’ve tried to work within certain boundaries as well.

To be suggestive I…

1.  distressed a dryer, thicker consistency of white/gray paint to give the clouds more texture against the sun

2. added a layer of pink into the gray to capture a wider spectrum of light diffraction through the clouds

3. added a body of water, and a forested hillside…

…partly because I was bored with reds and browns

…partly because my art teacher in high school (Mr. Woody) always told me to add a point of interest in the bottom right corner (as it’s the last place the eye looks when it “reads” the painting for the first time…I guess with Westerners only? Whatever.  I just do it.)

This painting is definitely a step forward in the evolution of the this style.

I’d like to vary the width of the stripes on each side, however.

For instance, as of now the lines of the paintings take on a geometric shape where all of the stripes are of a constant width, similar to this…

line scheme with even parallel bars

Or perhaps even this, which has varying bar widths:


line scheme with varying bar widths

But what I’m thinking of would take on a much more organic form, such as this.

varying bar widths with curved edges

The Proposition (which I’m not sure how to pull off):

The widths of each of the bars have a relative relationship with one another, and the height of each line where it intersects the edge of the canvas has a relative relationship with the full height of the canvas.

The height of the canvas could be thought of as the amplitude of the fundamental frequency, in a whole series of notes that define the “timbre” of a sound.

The above statement references something we’ll call “timbre graphs,” which look a little something like this…





That’s the basic idea.

Here’s a more detailed graph of how the differences in height of each successive harmonic could correspond to the width of the stripes in one of these paintings.

how the graph of a sounds timbre matches up with the lines of the painting

To match the widths of the stripes to the differences in height of the harmonics of a given sound, we’ve reduced the harmonics of the sound one dimension by taking only the amplitude measurement of them. So, to add the lost dimension (frequency) back in we match the color to frequency.  This means the top of the painting would correspond to the fundamental frequency, which would be the lowest note sounding (excluding sub-harmonics) and would be in the violet-to-blue end of the light frequency spectrum.  This works out nicely as the blue side of these paintings (the sky) usually goes on top.  The orange-to-red end of the spectrum would in turn correspond to the highest frequencies in the timbre graph.  Convenient.

Now I’m not worried about doing some arbitrary, mathematical comparison of the harmonic and light frequencies  in order to match the paint mixes exactly to it.  I want my own personality as an artist to come through in the interpretation of that frequency translation.  That’s how I can suggest mood and express the emotion of the sounds I’m hearing.

The Problem:

I can get the graphs that produce the heights of the lines.  That’s not the problem.

The problem is that I want to make this thing a large installation, out of glass, and preferably facing East.

I’m thinking about maybe  What do y’all think?


The Question: Can we go the other way?

Can you think of a way to somehow “read” or “scan” these types of images, and re-interpret them as sound?

For the glass sculpture, could we somehow “read” and reproduce the sounds of the Sun?

Sounds of the Sun?  Band name? …meh.

13. November 2011 by Kiv
Categories: Art, Math, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 comments

3 Paintings I’ve just completed

18. October 2011 by Kiv
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Work In Progress

17. October 2011 by Kiv
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“Good To Me As I Am To You” – Berklee sound-alike

Good To Me As I Am To You - mp3


This is a sound-alike project I did in college with some other Berklee kids in 2004.

I believe the line-up was…

Laura Richards, Vocals

Chris Gagne, horn arrangements and trombone

Matthew Owens, trumpet

Nir Felder, guitar

Tim Butterworth, piano

Jaime Bishop, electric bass

Nick Falk, drums

10. October 2011 by Kiv
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Y u no…?

Damn you chain rule!

29. September 2011 by Kiv
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UFO Guitar Pick

Awesome UFO guitar pick that my beautiful and talented young cousin Juliet Nelson gifted me the last time she was in town. I gotta get up to Dallas and visit her mom Heather, who I adore. Hopefully Andrew, Heather’s husband and all around good dude/dad, will take me rock climbing or something crazy. I’ll bet Santiago, Heather’s little bro, is already better at me than certain sports. Maybe even rock climbing. Geez :\ probably rock climbing. Oh well, such is life. He’s just gonna get bigger and stronger, and then I won’t be able to pick on him anymore. ;)

Heather sent me some photos of their trip to Austin, which was extremely eventful. I only spent a few hours with them, but we ate at Home Slice, hit Hey Cupcake! for dessert, and then stopped by another candy store for double after dessert dessert.

I’ll get those pics up here sometime soon.

Much love guys.

29. September 2011 by Kiv
Categories: Art, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 comments

sin b/ tan b = cos by

This is math and art…kinda. right?


The expression on his face is priceless.

So there’s this…
Trigonometric identity:

sin x = tan x
cos x


sin x = tan x cos x

which means…

sin x = cos x
tan x

Now just replace x with b.  If “b” is now the independent variable…


sin b = cos b
tan b

har har “cos b” = Cosby

Thanks Hud.  Haha.  This is awesome.

29. September 2011 by Kiv
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Blue Back Lady sketch

Some lady’s back.

I don’t know.

28. September 2011 by Kiv
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Patrician face

28. September 2011 by Kiv
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Male nude sketch





28. September 2011 by Kiv
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“Wanna hang out later?!” :D

“Meh, I got better things to do.”

28. September 2011 by Kiv
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“You can’t be serious!” ??



This man is realizing with helpless disgust that he can do nothing to stop this foolishness.

28. September 2011 by Kiv
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28. September 2011 by Kiv
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Geoffro – Smoke Detector mix

Geoffro – Smoke Detector mp3

A project I was on in college at Berklee in 2005 for Geoffro.


I always thought the sounds on this track were so damn good.   By the time I got to this mix it was already sounding awesome.

28. September 2011 by Kiv
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Planting Staff sketch sienna


28. September 2011 by Kiv
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Songs I Can Do…expressed as sets :o

Recently I got out the old guitar, for singin’ with, and went over some old tunes I used to know. As I dusted off the cob webs I found more little jewels I used to own<?>.  Anyway, here’s a running list…

Reconsider Baby – Lowell Fulson
Biggest Lie – Elliott Smith
I Figured You Out – Elliott Smith
Beast For Thee – Bonnie Prince Billy
Bed Is For Sleeping – Bonnie Prince Billy
Lost Cause – Beck
Billy Gray – Norman Blake (great name)
Tore Down – Freddie King
Between The Bars – Elliott Smith
Division Day – Elliott Smith
Down Bound Train – Bruce “the boss” Springsteen


(What I’d like to do) ∩ (What I can do) ~ Artistic Direction?

26. September 2011 by Kiv
Categories: Math, Music | Tags: , , , | 6 comments

How to prove the quadratic formula, by completing the square

You may be familiar with completing the square.  If so, skip down a bit till you see a blue word.

To prove the quadratic equation by completing the square, we must first know how to complete the square.

Consider (x + b)2

Well doesn’t (x + b)= (x + b)(x + b)?

…and (x + b)(x + b) = x2 + xb + bx + b2, which equals

= x2 + 2bx + b2


(x + b)2 = x2 + 2bx + b2

The above is an example of a perfect square.

Ok, keep this in mind…

Now then, let’s say you’re given a weird polynomial that doesn’t obviously factor.  Like…

2x2 + 10x – 2

This polynomial may very well not be a perfect square, but I can use the fact that I know what form a perfect square takes to solve the problem and find all the x intercepts (roots) of the function.

The first thing I like to do is divide the polynomial by the coefficient of the highest power.  The resulting polynomial will have the same roots as the original.


x2 + 5x – 1 is now what we’re working with, but the answers for x will be the same as 2x2 + 10x – 2.

We now have to set the expression equal to zero, in order to find out where the graph intercepts the x axis.  Keep in mind that if y = 0 then the graph has to be touching the x axis somewhere, for real roots.


x2 + 5x – 1 = 0

Your options now are to complete the square, or use the quadratic formula if you have it memorized.

Let’s say you don’t have the quadratic formula memorized.

To solve the problem you’ll need to complete the square, and here’s how to do it.

Remember (x + b)2 = x2 + 2bx + b2?

Could we apply that to the problem somehow?

Well, what if we moved the 1 to the other side of the equation such that…

x2 + 5x = 1

Then couldn’t we take the left side of the equation (x2 + 5x), which looks a lot like the first part of x2 + 2bx, and just find the + b2 that goes with x2 + 5x?

If we did that, we’d set 2bx = 5x which would give 5/2.  This is our b value, 2.5 or 5/2.  Now we just have to square that value to get our + b2.

This gives…

x2 + 5x + (25/4) = 1

…but remember that whatever we add to the left side of the equation we have to add to the right.


x2 + 5x + (25/4) = 1 + (25/4)

Now can we not re-express x2 + 5x + (25/4) as (x + 2.5)2 ?

Since b = 2.5 or 5/2 as we stated earlier, and because  (x + b)2 = x2 + 2bx + b2 ?

Answer: yes, we can.


(x + 2.5)2 = 1 + (25/4)

(x + 2.5)2 = (4/4) + (25/4)

(x + 2.5)2 = (29/4)


x + 2.5 = ±(√29)/2

Then simply take the 2.5 over as well…

x = [-5 ±(√29)]/2

And there’s your answer…

x can either equal [-5 + (√29)]/2, or [-5 - (√29)]/2.



To prove the quadratic formula by completing the square all we have to do is the same process above, on a generalized version of a square polynomial.

So we start with the standard (generalized) form of a square polynomial:

Ax2 + Bx + C

Now the idea is to get from the above to this:

x = [-B ± √(B2 - 4AC)]/2A    …algebraically.

Set it equal to zero, to find the roots (x intercepts).

Ax2 + Bx + C = 0

Then just complete the square!

Let’s put c on the right side of the equation.

Ax2 + Bx = -C

Then divide by A, to get the x2 + bx from x2 + bx + b2.  Remember that (x + b)=  x2 + 2bx + b2

x2 + (B/A)x = (-C/A)

Now we have to complete the square of x2 + (B/A)x.  Just like before we set 2bx equal to (B/A)x to find b.

2bx = (B/A)x

b = (B/2A)


b2 = (B/2A)2


x2 + (B/A)x + (B/2A)= (-C/A) + (B/2A)2

But (x + b)=  x2 + 2bx + b2, remember?


[x + (B/2A)]2 =  (-C/A) + (B/2A)2


[x + (B/2A)]2 =  (-C/A) + (B2/4A2)

Now, let’s find common denominators for the right side of the equation and simplify.


[x + (B/2A)]2 =  (-C/A) + (B2/4A2)


[x + (B/2A)]2 = (-4AC + B2)/4A2

take the square root of both sides…

x + (B/2A) = ± √[(-4AC + B2)/4A2]

simplifying the right side…

x + (B/2A) = ± √(B2 – 4AC)/2A

moving the (B/2A) term to the right side, just like in the former problem…

x = (-B/2A) ± √(B2 – 4AC)/2A

when we combine the denominators to simplify, we get…here it is…

x = [-B ± √(B2 - 4AC)]/2A


22. September 2011 by Kiv
Categories: Math | Tags: , , , , | 8 comments

Artist showcase: Melissa Lange


It seems like Melissa is in the middle of defining a new style for herself.  I love it.


Melissa Lange is an Austin, TX based artist.






22. September 2011 by Kiv
Categories: Art | Tags: , , | 2 comments

This is what advertising should be…

I’ve saved these advertisements from a magazine for more than ten years.  To this day I still have no idea what they’re advertising, but I thought they were so hilarious that I kept them.

I like the dialectic of adult content with a childish theme.  They’re sort of like cute versions of the Garbage Pail Kids.

A dude with a moustache drives up in a van.  ”Hey little boy, dragon, dinosaur <whatever> you want some candy?”

…”What kind of candy?”



Here’s another that’s fairly self evident.



22. September 2011 by Kiv
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Austin City Limits Festival – highlights 2011

Skyline near the middle of the festival

The crowd at Fleet Foxes. 

I was trying to capture the globe, but people kept walking by.


The crowd at the Empire of the Sun show, from back stage at Google+.


Arcade Fire

The crowd leaving.

Friday – Gary Clark Jr. came away as the highlight

Saturday – Gillian Welch and Skrillex

Sunday – Fleet Foxes, Empire of the Sun, and Arcade Fire


Lots of fun.  It’s an exhausting trip everyday just to get to the festival grounds, but it’s worth it.






20. September 2011 by Kiv
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“Phomgrad” by my college roommates



Adam Agati

Aaron Henry

Corey Beaulieu

Nick Falk

Chris Gagne

This is a recording of my friends and roommates playing a Chris Gagne original, “Phomgrad.” It’s best not to ask about the title. He has another song named “Squadro Cat.” Nuff said.

This is a great little piece of modern jazz, however.

I recorded this live to 2, in 2004.

Chris Gagne – ‘bone
Aaron Henry – effected tenor sax
Adam Agati – guitar
Corey Beaulieu – upright
Nick Falk – drums

20. September 2011 by Kiv
Categories: Music | Tags: , , | 3 comments

5 years old sketch

This drawing I did when I was very young, maybe 17 or 18, reminds me of a hilarious advert. I can’t find the pic online, so I’m going to see if I saved it somewhere and take a pic myself. More later.

19. September 2011 by Kiv
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5 years old Batman sketch

mutha f*ckin’ Batman, y’all.

19. September 2011 by Kiv
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My work-space

Bless this mess.



A few things I’m working on. The long one that’s all trippy is called “Obama Lincoln,” and it’s long due to take it’s place at my friend Brian Hudson’s house on Poquito. It’s comin’ buddy, sorry.

And yes, that’s ice cream I’m eating for breakfast.

Don’t judge me.

Preferred drying method.

18. September 2011 by Kiv
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Well, my paintings are officially for sale…



17. September 2011 by Kiv
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Eine Weitere Hand


16. September 2011 by Kiv
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“Would you like this cup?”


Here ya go.

16. September 2011 by Kiv
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Howdy, y’all!


“STOP!…in the name of love…”

Sketch from a life-art class I took when I was 11 or 12.

Thanks Garage, for all the memories.


16. September 2011 by Kiv
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The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword


16. September 2011 by Kiv
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Hands holding banner



16. September 2011 by Kiv
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Art, Math, Music: Connected~ Who knew!? This guy.

Turns out this Benno Moiseiwitsch guy was pretty amazing.

This is his explication on why art, math, and music are all actually the same thing.  Very interesting stuff.


16. September 2011 by Kiv
Categories: Art, Math, Music | Tags: , , , | 9 comments

The Harrow And The Harvest

If you haven’t heard of the musical duo that is Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, consider this your lucky day.  You’re going to love this group.

Gillian was one of the “sirens” in the 2000 Odyssey remake by the Coen brothers, O Brother, Where Art Thou, along with Alison Krauss.  The producer on that record is the great TBone Burnett.

David Rawlings and Gillian Welch met at Berklee College of Music, apparently.  My alma mater!  :P

They’re part of a folk music revival that has been picking up steam for a long time, but that has been reaching a fevered pitch in the last five years or so.

If you’re just getting into Gillian Welch, I’d suggest starting with the album Revival.  My favorite song on it is “One More Dollar.”  It’s the story of a boy who leaves the mountains to work in the fruit orchards out West, but when there’s a freeze on the branches he’s compelled to risk his savings by gambling in order to afford passage home.  He works for a dime a day, and he only needs one more dollar to go home.  So the song is sad, but there’s a hopeful energy that comes from the anticipation of making that last dollar.

Time (The Revelator) is also quite good.  There are many “whistlers” and “toe-tappers” on that album.

However, there is one song in particular that has really caught my attention off the new record The Harrow And The Harvest.  The song is called “The Way It Will Be.”

The music matches the lyrics well in this song.  The tone I come away with from both is that of melancholic resignation, with a little bite of anger underneath.

The opening verse exemplifies perfectly this sentiment.

“I lost you awhile ago
But still I don’t know why
I can’t say your name
Without a crow flying by”

Just that is magical.  I know exactly that feeling.

And then…

“Gotta watch my back now
That you turned me around
Got me walking backwards
Into my hometown”

<Reading Rainbow segue melody>

Welp, I really enjoyed this album for its close and tight harmonies, its lugubriousness, and its verisimilitude.

Butcha don’t have to take my word for it!


New Note:

I’m gonna see Gillian Welch and David Rawlings at ACL 2011 this weekend.  I’ll definitely be updating this post with further details.

16. September 2011 by Kiv
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A Brief History of Infinity – A Paradox

A Brief History of Infinity - by Brian Clegg

A good little read.  This book taught me a lot of things about set theory and Georg Cantor.  It also taught me about a very interesting paradox within set theory, that was identified by Bertrand Russell.

It goes something like this.

Set theory is something so simple that we take it for granted.  It merely points out that certain things, although not identical to one another, are similar enough to be grouped into a “set.”

In fact, set theory is where the working concept of numbers in general finds canon.  For instance, the number one looks like this in set theory:


The symbol we as a people have for the concept of the number one (1) is a “set,” which is contained by brackets.

The “Ø” is called the empty set.

Brackets contain the emptiness of the empty set, and it is denoted by {}.  The empty set being “Ø,” and Ø being equal to zero for most intents and purposes.

{} = Ø

The number two in set theory could be written like this:


The number two contains the number one, which contains the empty set.  The pattern here is that the number three would contain the number two, which contains the number two, which contains the number one, and so on.  This can be repeated to infinity, in nested brackets form.  Cantor considered numbers this way.  And came up with the whole idea of transfinite numbers, which are numbers beyond infinity.  The book above goes over this concept quite nicely.

Now that we have some contextual knowledge of set theory, the foundation of all mathematics.  Here’s what’s wrong with it!

Consider the set of all <somethings>.  <somethings> could be anything you want.

Let’s say “llamas,” the set of all llamas.

I denote this set, the set of all llamas, in red for easier reference.  Trust me, this gets kinda twisted.

So please consider the set of all llamas.  Now the fact that there is a set of all llamas implies that there is an inverse set, a set of all NOT llamas which shall henceforth be denoted in green.  Now lots of things fall into the set of all NOT llamas category: you, me, a planet, electrons, horses, etc.  Anything that isn’t a llama falls into this category.  You’re not a llama.  I’m not a llama.  Planets aren’t llamas, and vice versa, even though a llama might exist on a planet.  And the same goes for electrons.   There  are obviously a lot of electrons that might be considered “in” or “part of” a llama, but a llama is definitely NOT an electron and vice versa.  The same goes for the set itself.


The what?

The set itself.  The container.  The thing that we named “set of all llamas.”

A set is a concept, it’s a thought.  Isn’t that a thing?

But wait, thoughts and feelings are ephemeral.  They’re not real things.

Are then none of your thoughts real things that can be considered part of a set?  And how do these non-things keep making and changing real things?  I mean, if you want to get technical about it, thoughts  are a bio-chemical reaction and that’s definitely about as physical and real as anything.

So anyway,

Please consider the fact that the set of all NOT llamas is a member of itself?

A member?

Yes, an element, a constituent, a part of the whole.  The set itself is not a llama, and so that set is a member of itself.

So let’s generalize, and consolidate, what knowledge we’ve gleaned.

There are at least two types of sets.  There are sets that ARE members of themselves, and sets that are NOT members of themselves.  For instance, the set of all llamas is not a member of itself, but the set of all NOT llamas is a member of itself.  And this general rule applies to all sets.  That’s why we chose “llamas,” arbitrarily.

So let’s just consider the sets that are NOT members of themselves, for a second.  We’ll call this super set the set of all sets that are NOT members of themselves.  

Now let’s ask ourselves the same question we asked about the other sets to categorize them.  Is this set a member of itself, or not?

Let’s explore both possibilities.

The set of all sets that are NOT members of themselves IS a member of itself.

- Well then it’s actually not a member of itself by definition.  If it’s a member of  the set of all sets that are NOT members of themselves, then it can’t be a member of itself…if it is a member of itself.

The set of all sets that are NOT members of themselves IS NOT a member of itself.

- Paradoxically, it IS a member of itself since it’s NOT a member of itself.


Bertrand Russell pointed out this paradox within set theory, and proved it mathematically.

He doesn’t propose a new theory of “the way things work,” but merely points out that set theory albeit useful might not be the way things actually work.


15. September 2011 by Kiv
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Someday my “prints” will come…




Someday my prints will come - 60 sec spot for Walmart One Hour Photo

A silly project, along the lines of the Bud Light Beer Ball commercial spot, I did in college for Walmart One Hour Photo.  A bit tongue in cheek version of “Someday My Prince Will Come” from the 1937 Disney movie “Snow White.”



14. September 2011 by Kiv
Categories: Music | Tags: , , , | 2 comments

College Marketing

Exhibit A

01-1 feel like drinkin bud 60 sec

In college, I was assigned the project of creating a 2 spots for a commercial, the product of which we could choose.  My friends and collaborators had the good idea of marketing to the Bud Light Beer Ball with the song “Feel Like Makin’ Love” by Bad Company.  And yes, there really is/was a Bud Light Beer Ball.  See exhibit A.

14. September 2011 by Kiv
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Triangle Paradox

My friend Shi introduced me to this problem.  When the answer dawns on your understanding, you feel ridiculous.


14. September 2011 by Kiv
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Say “maths” not “math.”

If you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about, apparently you have to say “maths” instead of “math.”

Go figure.  Tell me what you get.

13. September 2011 by Kiv
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Guitar Chord Dictionary


I was so sick in this picture.  Literally…ill.

At this link you’ll find the remains of a Guitar Chord Dictionary I created with Ryan Vaughn, for  Expert Village was started by the dude who created  He sold his company to Rupert Murdoch, News Corp, and started Expert Village.  I believe he ended up selling Expert Village to   These videos went everywhere as a result.  There were something like 5000 one minute videos, that illustrated all manner of chords on each set of strings.   I never went over spread voicings though.

The above video is an instructional video on how to play part of a Wes Montgomery solo.  The solo in question is from the D Natural Blues.

13. September 2011 by Kiv
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The Nasty Clan live at The Saxon Pub


Art by Max Voss Nester, at

The Hudsons/Kivett rock project, The Nasty Clan, at Saxon Pub in Austin, TX.

The Nasty Clan – Never Change


This is actually a song I wrote, which is relatively rare.


Good times.  :D  And…bad times. :P



13. September 2011 by Kiv
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Born Again Virgins live at Dolce Vita

Billy Gray covered by The Born Again Virgins on youtube

The Hudsons and myself jam it out on “Billy Gray,” originally written by Norman Blake but more famously performed by Robert Earl Keen.  The singing is good and bad at certain points, but I’m proud of my solo on this tune.  Is that wrong? lol.  B does a nice intro/outro and Hud iswiki  right there just like always.  We’re playing as the Born Again Virgins, at Dolce Vita in Austin.

13. September 2011 by Kiv
Categories: Music | Tags: , , , | 13 comments

Cross Cultural Bowsher

Cross Cultural 30x30

A painting for my friend, Andrew Bowsher.  This dude is such a badass.  Hope you’re doing well, old friend.

11. September 2011 by Kiv
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Tree for Melissa

Tree for Melissa 30x48

11. September 2011 by Kiv
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Pipe’s Plus Mural

A mural I did for Pipe’s Plus on the “Drag” in Austin, TX.

A gesture of God’s hand that seems to say “Hook ‘em” and “Rock unto thee” as well.

That’s my friend Ryan who works down there.  If you make it into the shop, be sure to say “hi” to him for me.

11. September 2011 by Kiv
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Ryan Rooster

Ryan Rooster 20x30

If you seen my little red rooster, please drag him home
There ain’t no peace in the barnyard,
Since the little red rooster been gone.

11. September 2011 by Kiv
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Oatman Abstract

Oatman Abstract 30x50

This is both abstract and overt.

11. September 2011 by Kiv
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Amanda’s brown and blue painting

Abstract In Blue And Brown ~30x23

I didn’t do this one.  My friend Amanda sent me a pic and I fell in love.

11. September 2011 by Kiv
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Flowers For Sarah

Flowers For Sarah 15x20

I painted this on a sublime afternoon in the sun.

11. September 2011 by Kiv
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Rainbow Color Experiment

Color Experiment 46x13

11. September 2011 by Kiv
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Back of Painting, John the Baptist

back of a painting 36x36

The back of a painting that I thought was more interesting than the front.

Is that John the Baptist in the bottom right?

11. September 2011 by Kiv
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Macro/Micro for Blakers

Macro Micro 36x36

Macro and micro.  Same thing.

11. September 2011 by Kiv
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Mr. Woody’s Back

Mr. Woody 17x23

This is my high school art teacher, Mr. Woody circa ’96 or ’97, personifying America.  He’s turning his back on a world in crisis.  He reads about it in the news paper, right in front of him. What an idealist I was…

It’s done in oil pastels.

I think Mr. Woody is now a professor of art at the University of Texas, Austin.

11. September 2011 by Kiv
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Evil: Sad and Resolute

Evil: Sad and Resolute 20x30

He’s an imp. This man must carry out something horrible.

10. September 2011 by Kiv
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The Ghost of Kyle Fisher

The Ghost of Kyle Fisher 16x24

This is the “Ghost of Kyle Fisher.” I think it may be my favorite.

10. September 2011 by Kiv
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Soft Lightning

Soft Lightning 20x30

When is a door not a door?


When it’s ajar. :P

10. September 2011 by Kiv
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Maybe Me

Maybe Me 36x36

Maybe me, maybe not. Either way, I thought it looked kind of Lempicka-esque, so now it’s Devon’s.

10. September 2011 by Kiv
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Koesterspice Tree

Koesterspice Tree 30x20

For Steve and Cinderspice.

10. September 2011 by Kiv
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Bednarbaum 30x50

My brother Dan Bednar made this canvas for me when I got back into painting after college.  It was the first large format painting I’d done in almost a decade.

10. September 2011 by Kiv
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Would that it were

Would That It Were 28x22

One of my favorites, cause it has a little lake between the hills.

10. September 2011 by Kiv
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Red Earth

Red Earth 24x24

Experimenting with different palettes to represent different times of day, and locales.

10. September 2011 by Kiv
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Listing Boat

Namibian Beach 60x48


10. September 2011 by Kiv
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And God Said

10. September 2011 by Kiv
Categories: Math | Tags: , , | 297 comments

Fields of Asphodel - 20x30

Even the bravest that are slain
Shall not dissemble their surprise
On waking to find valor reign,
Even as on earth, in paradise;
And where they sought without the sword
Wide fields of asphodel fore’er,
To find that the utmost reward
Of daring should be still to dare.The light of heaven falls whole and white
And is not shattered into dyes,
The light forever is morning light;
The hills are verdured pasture-wise;
The angel hosts with freshness go,
And seek with laughter what to brave;–
And binding all is the hushed snow
Of the far-distant breaking wave.

And from a cliff-top is proclaimed
The gathering of the souls for birth,
The trial by existence named,
The obscuration upon earth.
And the slant spirits trooping by
In streams and cross- and counter-streams
Can but give ear to that sweet cry
For its suggestion of what dreams!

And the more loitering are turned
To view once more the sacrifice
Of those who for some good discerned
Will gladly give up paradise.
And a white shimmering concourse rolls
Toward the throne to witness there
The speeding of devoted souls
Which God makes his especial care.

And none are taken but who will,
Having first heard the life read out
That opens earthward, good and ill,
Beyond the shadow of a doubt;
And very beautifully God limns,
And tenderly, life’s little dream,
But naught extenuates or dims,
Setting the thing that is supreme.

Nor is there wanting in the press
Some spirit to stand simply forth,
Heroic in it nakedness,
Against the uttermost of earth.
The tale of earth’s unhonored things
Sounds nobler there than ‘neath the sun;
And the mind whirls and the heart sings,
And a shout greets the daring one.

But always God speaks at the end:
‘One thought in agony of strife
The bravest would have by for friend,
The memory that he chose the life;
But the pure fate to which you go
Admits no memory of choice,
Or the woe were not earthly woe
To which you give the assenting voice.’

And so the choice must be again,
But the last choice is still the same;
And the awe passes wonder then,
And a hush falls for all acclaim.
And God has taken a flower of gold
And broken it, and used therefrom
The mystic link to bind and hold
Spirit to matter till death come.

‘Tis of the essence of life here,
Though we choose greatly, still to lack
The lasting memory at all clear,
That life has for us on the wrack
Nothing but what we somehow chose;
Thus are we wholly stipped of pride
In the pain that has but one close,
Bearing it crushed and mystified.

The Trial By Existence

-Robert Frost

09. September 2011 by Kiv
Categories: Art | 4 comments

Out To Sea

Out To Sea - 40x30

This painting is now safely in the hands of someone who will take care of it. (G)

09. September 2011 by Kiv
Categories: Art | Tags: , , | 32 comments

Happy Accident (rain in the desert)

Happy Accident - 30x20

Rain in the desert.  A happy accident.

09. September 2011 by Kiv
Categories: Art | 3 comments

Chief Rival

Chief Rival - 36x36

This piece is no longer in existence, except as the under girding for another painting.  I’m not even sure which one anymore. lol.

09. September 2011 by Kiv
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Rainy Day With Ballons and spiel

"Rainy Day With Balloons" 20x30

All of these striped paintings are landscapes.  It’s as if one were viewing these vistas through a prism.

The sun peaks over a verdant pasture.  Once you get a little closer you can see that the color lines, where masking tape met wet paint, can be interpreted as trees, little farm houses, and even grain silos.   It’s raining in this bucolic scene, and balloons released by children abandoning a fair seem to laugh and cry a little like clowns as they go to meet porpoises somewhere on the ocean.

This painting sparked a whole new style for me.  It was sort of the synthesis of two other ideas.  The first was an idea for album art, in CD jacket format.  All the pages of the CD jacket would be clear plastic.  However, the lyrics of each song and the credits would have different translucent/tinted font text, such that when the book was closed either a pattern or some cool color combination would emerge as the front and rear cover designs.  Anyway, maybe I’ll still do something stupid like that one of these days.

The other influencing idea was stripe painting.  I’d heard that a middle and high school friend of mine, Caroline Wright, was currently doing this style of painting in Paris.  I didn’t know what it was, but imagined it to be something like what I’m doing <above>.  Then I googled it. When I discovered that stripe painting wasn’t really at all like what I thought it was going to be, I decided to do what I thought it was going to be.


I tape off sections of canvas and paint them a solid color.  Once I tape off a section of canvas it becomes my zen garden.  Sometimes I paint the sections with straight up and down brush strokes.  But sometimes I paint the sections with angled brush strokes; to suggest the influence of the wind on rain, for example.  The brush strokes should reflect the character of the sky, as well as the earth.

08. September 2011 by Kiv
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The Turn Out

Turn Out 28x22

07. September 2011 by Kiv
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Bob Ross forced to eat own heart out.

Our Secret Clouds 30x20

(…and if you tell ANYONE those clouds are there…!)

07. September 2011 by Kiv
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Friscolating Dusk Light

Night landscape for Chris and Katie Aldridge. 36x36

07. September 2011 by Kiv
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The Necessity of Imaginary Numbers

Today’s mathy thing is about simple factoring.  When you take algebra in high school they tell you about how a2 - b2 can be factored to equal (a + b)(a – b), but that a2 + b2 is prime and cannot be factored.  This is a blatant fallacy.  It just requires that imaginary numbers be used.


i = √-1


i2 = -1 right?

because √-1 * √-1 = -1 in the same way that √4 * √4 = 4

So if i2 = -1 then what if we factored a2 + b2 to equal (a – bi)(a + bi)

(a – bi)(a + bi) = a2 + abi – abi – b2i2

= a2 - b2i2

= a2 - b2(-1) because i2 = -1, remember?

= a2 + b2

The point is that imaginary numbers are falsely eponymous.  They are real, they’re just not Real. They can be measured electrically, in the same way that we use the real number set to measure other phenomena.  This fact seems to suggest that the imaginary number set can describe natural phenomena just like the Real number set can.  In the same way that one can have 3 apples, one could have 3i something elses. hahahaha.  Confused?  Me too.

Either way the the math itself requires that imaginary numbers exist to create the symmetry of being able to factor both a2 - b2 as well as a2 + b2 equitably.


07. September 2011 by Kiv
Categories: Math | Tags: , , , | 3 comments

The Book of Proof

A very bright, young intern at my office named Zac turned me onto this book.  It’s free in .pdf format for all to enjoy.  So far it seems to be helping me speak the language of math more.  Whenever I have tried to go about “proving” ideas mathematically in the past, I get stumped on the taxonomy of math and wonder exactly how much I have to declare as assumed before I can proceed to “prove” whatever I’m postulating.  This is a canonization of mathematical “proof” theory.


Find it here.

07. September 2011 by Kiv
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