I Don’t Think That Was Me

Another song that started with a sound. The main metallic piano riff showed up while noodling with different sounds and I managed to overcome the inertia of noodling to actually hit record. That’s often the hardest part of any writing project: knowing when to just get to it.

I looped 8 bars of the main riff, added the drums, and then started humming until words started showing up. But they were nowhere close the the words that ended up in the song. I’d guess there were at least five or six thematic first drafts that I’d throw away when they started running down a dead end. There is one line that I kept trying to work in, but it just never fit. I’m saving that one for another day.

  1. I Don't Think That Was Me Ray Toler 5:16

What did show up, though, is surprisingly pointed and specific, although it’s specific about multiple things simultaneously. Songs like this are my subconscious playing at automatic writing.

I recorded a quick temp track for the vocals, but they ended up being ok, so you’re hearing the first take on those. I’ll re-record them if I end up going further with it later. Initially, I had a microshift effect on them similar to Look Away from the Water, but it never worked and I decided to move to a more up-front sound with reverb and delay.

This is a good song to illustrate the highs and lows I go through sometimes when writing. I started off loving the vibe. The lyrics aren’t my best, but they’re passable. After the vocals were recorded, I started arranging the structure of the song by pulling out drums in specific places, and adding some space between the verses.

As I listened, I moved over to not really liking it that much. I didn’t think my voice was suited to the vibe, started disliking the lyrics. This is the third song so far this month that I’ve repeated entire lines or substantial portions of lines. That’s not my normal style, and I’m not sure  I’m happy with it.

When I started adding all of the other textures (bass, pads, the flutey whistle), things started coming together a lot more. With additional context, my voice started fitting the track a lot better.

“Breathe in, breathe out” was always going to be a texture and not a focus, and I’m happy with the result. I probably need to filter out some of the low end in my voice… I’d like it to be a little dreamier. If there were an extended mix, they would pulse back in at least one more time.

By the time I was doing final levels and polish, I had decided I liked the track. I love that bass line, but if you’re not listening on good speakers, half of what makes it awesome is missing.

I don’t know if this one will move beyond this point, but it will make it on my private playlists.


Floating above the chaos
Floating on the sea
Sinking below the surface
I don’t think that was me

Drifting in the deepness
Drifting in the sea
Sinking into the darkness
I don’t think that was me

Suspended in the flashes
Suspended in the sea
Sinking into the silence
I don’t think that was me

Patterns intersecting
Lines disconnecting
Trying in vain to keep the thread

Breathe in
Breathe out

Copyright © 2019 Ray E. Toler, Jr. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2019 Ray E. Toler, Jr. All rights reserved.


  • Synths: Omnisphere
  • Drums: Stylus RMX
  • Vocal effects: Valhalla Room, SoundToys EchoBoy, iZotope Nectar 3.

p.s. There’s an additional ten seconds of silence at the end of the track. I haven’t been able to figure out why. I’ve set my software to end about 2 seconds after the end of the fadeout, but it keeps putting that extra time in there. I’ll replace the file with a corrected version if I can ever figure out what’s causing it.

Next up: Divulsion

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