Look Away from the Water

Whenever I listen to music, I frequently find myself trying to figure out what the key little thing is that inspired it. Sometimes it’s a lyric, sometimes it’s a musical hook, sometimes it’s just the beat, but you can often pick out that one cool thing that led to the rest of it.

If I were doing that to this track, it would probably be the line, “Silent shapeless creatures crawl out of our sight.” That just seems like a nice phrase that could easily have led to the overall theme and sound.

But it wasn’t.

It was that four-note guitar line that comes in during the chorus. That melody just grabbed me. I added the pulsing synth sound and then looped that while I wrote the lyrics.

With those finished, I started on the melody for the verses, which initially sounded too boring and repetitive given the tempo. I decided to change the structure from A A B to A B C. This also worked because of the moody instrumentation.

  1. Look Away from the Water Ray Toler 5:04

I recorded a scratch vocal for the first half and then worked on the big chorus harmonies. That’s one of my favorite things to do, and I’ll try to do a video of the process some time this month. Initially, the chorus was just the guitar and pulsing synth, but I definitely heard that giant bass and drum sound in my head. Once I got those in, I added them to the intro, did a little more building in the second half and added the flutey pad to the B verses.

Music finished, I worked on the vocal for quite a while, mostly because I had come into all of this with no plan. Some songs are fully finished in my head before I record a single note. Others start as a giant block of sound from which I chisel things away. This one was more like adding bits of clay here and there until it looked like something.

It’s still definitely in demo territory, but I’m happy with where I stopped.


Wax and dust and memories
Glitter in the sunbeam pouring down
Blackened edges crackle through
The fading light

All these filthy moments
Wash away, flooding back through time
Twisted intentions crackle through
The fading light

Look away from the water

Wax and trust and enemies
Gather in the corners of the night
Silent shapeless creatures crawl
Out of our sight

All these filthy fading thoughts
Wash away, wearing masks of time
Wounded intentions crawl
Out of our sight

Look away from the water
As you drop down

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


  • All instruments: Omnisphere
  • Lead vocal effects: SoundToys Microshift, Valhalla Plate
  • Backing vocal effects: Valhalla Plate, Valhalla UberMod

Next up: I Don’t Think That Was Me

1 thought on “Look Away from the Water”

  1. Love it. I definitely see Floyd Duran. I love the vocal processing. The overall sound is also reminding me of Martin Newell (specifically The Greatest Living Englishman). All of your parts enhance the vibe/pace.


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