Mare Insularum

Ok, at this point, I’m increasingly sleep deprived. This isn’t entirely Song-A-Day’s fault, I’ve had to be up earlier than I typically am for various reasons. I’m also procrastinating the start of new tracks until almost midnight or later, then working on them in the morning. It’s not exactly the “working a day in advance” process I’d meant to do, but I still kind of like it. Taking that break to sleep allows me to hear what I did a few hours earlier with fresh ears. It’s amazing what you hear after some time away, both technically and compositionally.

  1. Mare Insularum Ray Toler 6:46

In any case, I’m pretty exhausted. My lack of songs in the latter half of this month is less about a dearth of ideas and more about simply not having the energy to attempt them. With that in mind, I decided early on in the day while finalizing Hypnos that I would be doing a deep ambient track next. It had been five days since my last Mare-series ambient track, so I didn’t feel bad about doing it.

It also fits thematically with Hypnos. Go dancing until 4 am, then go hang out in the chill-recovery blue room with comfy bean bag chairs and plenty of bottled water for rehydration.

I was actually a bit more careful and precise with this one than with some of my other ambient tracks. Many times, I come up with a pattern and duplicate that across multiple synths, using volume, filter sweeps, arpeggiators, or other automation to provide the variety.

Starting with the darker texture that opens things up, I was pretty choosy about what got added and where. Each part was played in individually, and I performed much of the automation in realtime, preferring finer control to periodic or randomized oscillations.

This is a type of production that really doesn’t lend itself well to description. It might be interesting if you were hanging out in the studio and watching me make specific choices (or, more specifically, what I didn’t choose after hearing it). It’s definitely a form of, “I’ll know it when I hear it” composition. I certainly have specific textures or frequency ranges in mind, but finding the right thing to fit that need is the main part of the process.

This is the first of my ambient tracks this month to have absolutely no sense of tempo or melody. It’s more Oöphoi than Orb. I’m at the point in the month where I’m not really worried if anyone’s bored by it – everyone’s tired by now, and this will either be a nice respite or it will get skipped. If anyone’s even still listening. I’ve certainly fallen behind in listening to other people’s tracks, but I’ll be catching up as I go back through the month so far to choose a cover song for tomorrow.



Omnisphere, Falcon, Korg Wavestation

Effects, Mixing, & Mastering

Portal, Gulloss, Pro-L 2

Image Credit: NASA

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