Get Out of the Way took a bit longer to finalize than I’d planned, mostly little fiddly bits that nobody care about but me, but by the time I’d posted it, I had to go to the airport to pick Mary up. Then a quick bite to eat, then a bit of chit chat, then the neighbors invited us over to hang out…
I got back to the house in a less sober state than I’d left, watched some TV, played a little Animal Crossing, then got started on today’s song.
- Continental Transit Ray Toler 5:00
The reason I wasn’t panicked is that I’d already decided while working on the previous track that today’s would be some electronic thing. Lyrics if they showed up, but I wasn’t going to worry about that. And technically, I wrote this song today instead of a day ahead because I didn’t get started until 12:30 AM.
I had an idea in mind and worked pretty quickly. Working the chords out took a good chunk of time, especially the last three of the pattern. I was trying to play things that I wouldn’t normally come up with, so there was a lot of experimentation and many wrong notes before I figured out how to get my fingers to play what my brain was thinking.
With the chords worked out, I started looking for softer arpeggiated patches (“arps”). After getting the first one dialed in, I realized that I was going to leave the piano in, which changed the end goal slightly, but wasn’t a huge departure.
The actual mechanics of producing this track were pretty easy. Well, it’s pretty easy for me now, because I’ve done a lot of these and have worked out some tricks. For this one, so much was going on with the various arps that I didn’t want to do too much extra with effects, panning, and so on.
Right around 3:00 AM, I decided I was done for the night, even though it was missing something. As I was about to close the project, I realized that I wanted some percussive elements that could keep it from getting overly boring about halfway through. I found a patch, recorded the various bits where I wanted them, then went to bed.
Spy Balloon is On the Move!
Late yesterday afternoon, Chris Graecen, one of the Song-A-Day ringleaders, threw out a last minute song-prompt challenge to write something for the headline “Spy Balloon is On the Move.” I hadn’t heard anything about this Chinese spy balloon, but did some quick reading.1The old Ray would have gone off on a tangent for about 400-800 words here. Be glad you’re reading the new, concise Ray.
Obviously, I didn’t write that song. Or did I? My brain popped awake at 8:30 with an opening two lines and a melody. I got up and recorded that, and even worked out the full song structure. I hadn’t finalized the electronic thing, so there was still time to write something challenge-related. Sadly it wasn’t to be; Mary tripped on the stairs last night, hurting her foot, and we decided to go to Urgent Care to make sure it wasn’t broken (it wasn’t). That took up a good chunk of the day, though.
While doing my final mix and special touches, I did get a very peaceful sense from this one. Almost like I were a (spy) balloon floating high above the earth. I almost named this one “Grand Stream Transit” after one of my favorite animes, but that didn’t really capture what I was thinking. While I’m not sure Continental Transit does, it’s still better, and puts the track on theme with the challenge, even though I didn’t write it with all that in mind.
This is a piece that I put in my personal “Contractual Obligation” category – it’s not necessarily a stretch for me, but it does meet the point of Song-A-Day: write something. And I’ve also come to find that a lot of these contractual obligation tracks are the ones that I end up listening to the most in the years that follow, so it doesn’t mean they’re bad.
In fact, I might even do another one tonight.
Instruments & Samples
Omnisphere, Falcon, Phobos, Choreographs, Cycles, Piano in Blue
Effects, Mixing, & Mastering
PanMan, Valhalla Vintage Verb, Gullfoss, Pro-L 2
- 1The old Ray would have gone off on a tangent for about 400-800 words here. Be glad you’re reading the new, concise Ray.