After finishing up Laska’s Dream in the early afternoon, I had both the time and motivation to get today’s track written and recorded before a reasonable bedtime. I’ve definitely been fading a bit with the reduced sleep schedule so far this month. I didn’t rush back into the studio, instead doing a bit of housework, watching a little TV, having a relaxed dinner. It was around 6:00 PM when I got started.

This one only took about 90 minutes to get into near-final shape, and much of that was listening to specific bits to get the balance between the various instruments correct and drawing in some pre-mixing automation. And yet, I didn’t get to bed until 1:00 AM. Why?

  1. Lapis Ray Toler 5:20

Because this isn’t the track I wanted to write. For five and a half hours, I was going through sounds trying to find something that would spark a Valentine’s Day song for Mary, but the cosmos was having none of it. Everything I started was discarded within minutes, and I just couldn’t find that initial thread to pull.

I was even starting to nod off a bit, so at 11:30 I went into GSD mode and found the organ-based pad that anchors this track. The production of this one really isn’t worth detailing. It’s similar to others I’ve done and is competent in achieving its goal.

What’s In a Name?

Maybe the most interesting thing about this one is its name. Sometimes I have very strong imagery for what something is, other times I can find a cool and obscure word that captures at least some essence of the emotional content. This time, though, absolutely nothing fit. 

How would you classify this one? To me, it’s somewhat happy or softly optimistic, but not overly so. If there’s any mental imagery in it for me, it’s something like time lapse footage of plants sprouting and growing, worms digging in the garden, a renewal of sorts. But any name that indicates those things overstates the content by so much that it’s almost silly. 

Try putting any of the following names to it: Renewal, Whisper of Spring, Love of Things that Grow. See what I mean? And I just made those up. The other ones that I tried out were just as bad. But here’s where the universe, or the human mind, has secrets that it hasn’t given up just yet.

I named it Lapis for the following reason: I was looking around my studio for something that might give me a naming idea, when my eyes fell on one of my guitar effects units named the Rocktron Chameleon. The word “chameleon” made me think of changing colors, and I decided that a color name would be sufficiently vague without being pretentious. I chose lapis because I’d had the studio lights set to a deep blue while writing. That is the entire conscious origin of the name.

Yeah, yeah, I know there’s nothing amazing in that story, but wait, there’s more. While doing some of my pre-archival tasks and preparing to write this entry, I was going through all of the instruments and noting the patch names I used. When I opened up that organ pad, I started laughing to see that the name of the patch: Lapis Meaning. Seriously.

I don’t know that I saw that name for more than a second or two when I was selecting patches, and in fact, this one was selected almost at random when I spun the mouse wheel on the list and clicked whatever the cursor had landed on. I must have read it, but had no recollection of it.

And yet, it had to have gone into my brain at some level. Was it an unconscious choice to choose “lapis” specifically because of that? No idea, and I would never have been able to remember what the name of the patch was if you’d asked me, but it’s a pretty cool bit of kismet. It makes me wonder how much of what we think of as random is anything but.

I hope that a song for Mary shows up later in the month. She deserves many more, not in the least for putting up with my Song-A-Day habit for the last several years.


Instruments & Sample Libraries

Auras, Choreographs, Stratus, Omnisphere, XO


Valhalla Vintage Verb and Delay, Moogerfooger MF-103S Phaser and MF-105S MuRF, PanMan, FilterFreak2

Mixing & Mastering

bx SSL 9000 J, Gullfoss, Pro-L 2

Image Credit: James St. John (CC BY 2.0)

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