Diag (Fedivision 2024)


If you're reading this, chances are you're listening to my Fedivision 2024 entry, "Diag", representing the Sacred Municipality of Deez Nuts. Thank you!

If not:

Inspiration / motivation


As you may know, I am musically illiterate. I didn't compose "Diag" with a chord progression in mind. Heck, I don't even know what key this song is in. I just pressed random keys until it worked.

Most of the instruments were synthesized with Helm and Geonkick. For the pitched instruments like the slightly wobbly piano, I played with presets and turned knobs until I got a sound I like. Drums and SFX were made from scratch.

The working title of "Diag" is "fedivision scratch 2". It used to be "fedivision scratch 1" but Ardour crashed around the time I finished my instrumental track and corrupted my file so I scavenged the session folder and pieced it back together. It was around 50 midi files.

I'd describe the song as pretty simple, 2 minutes and 14 seconds, common time at 120 bpm, driven by a kick every beat. There isn't even a snare. This is inspired by Radiohead's "Everything In Its Right Place". Turns out you don't need a drum set to sound great.

I had intended to make a super convoluted prog-rock-ish song with a dozen tempo and time changes, but I never found the right sounds. Maybe next year?


After a sweaty ride downtown, the first line ("Pharmacy, neon lights…") came to me in the shower. It has some Bill Wurtz vibes, which I find poetic. For the rest of the lyrics I chose a few things that I saw that day, plus some that I didn't because they sound cool.

Among the things I saw was the encampment that the TAHRIR coalition set up in protest of UMich's investment in defense companies that produce genocide weapons. They've occupied the diag, and they're not leaving until the university divests. Weeks prior, the principal condemned the protesters for "disrupting" commencement activities. Same guy who refused to divest.

Sometimes you feel guilty just to be alive. I have to pay my tuition despite all this evil shit; I have to travel by air (this year I flew five times); I have to use plastics. Last semester I took a course on sustainable engineering, and it made it worse.

Now that I've lost hope in corporations, governments, and whoever signed the Paris Agreement, there's not much I can do. I could become a vegan, never fly again, and bring my own cup, but it's like bailing a boat with a bamboo basket. You can bet your ass I'm not the one responsible for the mess. Best I can do is to survive, and not make it worse, and probably teach my children to do the same.


All the work was done in Ardour, except de-noising the vocals, which was done with sox.

I sampled "B_MIN01_EU_FN_BEN01_104.wav" from the CatMeows dataset that I wisely downloaded three years ago.

Tools used


  • Ardour: composition, recording, production
  • Helm (hands down the prettiest plugin I've ever seen)
  • Geonkick
  • SoX: de-noising
  • Krita: album cover


  • Interface: Behringer UMC22
  • Headphones: Audio-Technica ATH-M20x
  • Keyboard: AKAI MPK mini play
  • Mic: Shure PGA48
  • Tablet: Wacom CTH-490


[Verse 1]
Pharmacy, neon lights, red cross, big signs
Corner store, overpass and lines
Motorbike, car horn, bus stop
Plastic wrap, tip jar, pesticide

Chewing gum, bubble tea, take out dine in
Stencil spray, red blue green tape
I believe you're not to blame
I believe you're not to

[Verse 2]
The only place in the world that I don't hate
Is my bed when my clock strikes eight
Past ten, gimme two more, might check again
Another day goes to waste, I don't care

Bring it back, I want to be entertained
Just to laugh at the feline impulse to be constrained
Four walls, plus two, take one, that's a well
For us to live in as pennies fell

(You can blame me for everything
But you know what you did)

[Repeat Verse 1]


  • "Sacred Municipality of Deez Nuts" is a play on the "Sacred Municipality of Dema", a fictional city created by twenty øne piløts for their 2018 album Trench.