Deferential Drift

The beginning of week three, and the first time this month that I’ve actually hit a wall. I’ve thought I was about to on a couple of occasions, but something always showed up when I got into the studio. For this track, though, I was in rapid-fire, ADD noodle mode for about an hour. My hands kept going for default chord patterns, things I played in high school, I think I even played about half of Bach’s Minuet in G Major.

I spun through sounds. I tried different synths. I threw a drum beat on. Nothing. That’s not to say that I didn’t write. I probably wrote at least 24 measures of four or five different things. But each one ended up in Select-All, Delete land.

  1. Deferential Drift Ray Toler 2:09

Finally, the oil-can drum sound that is the basis of this track caught me at about the same time I was hitting the, “ok, the next thing I start is getting finished” moment. The pattern was interesting enough, and fun to play, and the 8-bar alternation kept things moving along. Low and high end instruments were added to provide a little more variety, and the bell tones were the final touch.

Fine. Done.

It’s taken me a long time to learn, though, that just because I’m not happy with a track means that people won’t like it. There have been a couple of times where I was floored that the track I thought was the worst ended up being a favorite of others.

Part of my dissatisfaction is that this is very similar to tracks I’ve done in previous years. That’s probably inevitable when producing this much music, this quickly. Plus, as noted in the entry for Cask, plenty of composers have made entire careers out of some very recognizable motifs and arrangement techniques.

So this one gets sent out into the world, for the world to decide what it will be. I can see it being an interesting soundtrack for… something. My inner eye goes immediately to documentary-type footage. Wildebeests thundering across the plain. Drift-racing or funny car tires deforming in super slo-mo.

The point of Song-A-Day is to write, write, write. “It doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be done.” Each participant has their own personal measure of what makes an acceptable entry, and even the rawest sketch is worthy and may be the seed for something amazing.. This track reached my internal bar, but just barely.


  • All instruments: Omnisphere

Next up: Paging Mr. Greenberg

1 thought on “Deferential Drift”

  1. Ok, here are the things I visualize. A fast motion clip with machinery, traffic, ants, bees, and rain. Or, people being followed on foot in a spy thriller. I know, I’m weird.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.