Molten Salt Reactor

We’re on the home stretch now, and sort of in a groove – that part of the marathon where you know you’re going to finish. It’s not any easier, but mentally, there are only a couple more hills to climb, a couple more turns to make, and then you can stop running, at least for a few days.

There’s not a whole lot to say about this one, in either the production or composition sense. I sat down, some sounds caught my ear, I recorded them. I thought this was going to be me heading down the road to experimentation town again, but it became more straight-forward space music electronic. And that’s fine.

  1. Molten Salt Reactor Ray Toler 4:26

There are a few interesting bits along the way – my favorite is that four-beat bend I put into the bass notes so that they’re sliding into the next bit every time they change. That came about as me having made a mistake and then adapting to it rather than fixing it. I had recorded and quantized the bass part, but somehow grabbed it and moved it a measure ahead of where it was supposed to be. The patch already had a bit of portamento on it (the bit that slides between notes) but it was too fast. I went in and adjusted that to be about one measure long and it worked out really well.

This does two things – one, it provides some sonic interest and contrast. The high synth arpeggio is pretty sharp and clicky, while the bass is just sliding around on a plastic sheet covered in oil. I think I had already added the main kick sections as well, but when I changed the bass, I also heard a bigger boom in my head.

I duplicated the kick track, erased most of it, then placed kick hits at very specific parts. But there’s none of the kick itself on those – it’s entirely reverb with none of the original signal passing through. This also does two things – it creates a more dramatic boom effect, and it doesn’t interfere when the regular kick track is actually in play.

Next were some additional arpeggios and the spacey lead sound. For the mix, I worked similarly to the way I did on Constructive Interference, manually bringing things up and down rather than relying on sine or saw wave automation curves. Most of the time, I’m fine with the happy accidents that approch brings, but on this one I wanted more control over when different things were highlighted in the mix.

Maybe the only negative about this track is that I think I may have burned a fantastic title on an average bit of electronica. Molten Salt Reactor is a great title, and I can’t decide if I’ll steal it and put it on something more iconic down the road, or just look for a similar cool name when that future one shows up.


  • Bass: Trilian
  • Kick and all other synths: Omnisphere, Cycles
  • Effects: Valhalla Vintage Verb
  • Mastering: Ozone 9

Image Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory (CC BY 2.0)

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