Tori’s Reef

With the bombast and majesty of Hymnos behind me, and being increasingly deprived of a good night’s sleep, I decided to do a more laid-back track. I’ve been listening a lot to what is now called “lo-fi,” but which used to be known in a positive sense as “chill” or derisively as  “Muzak.” It’s wonderful music, especially in the background when you’re engaged in something pleasant.

When Mary and I go on our scuba diving vacations, we listen to a lot of new age, soft instrumental, and nuevo flamenco music, especially artists like Vangelis and Ottmar Liebert (and Luna Negra). Ottmar, in particular, is just the sound of Bonaire to me, and puts my mind in a place of relaxation, ocean waves, a distant horizon, and breathing underwater.

  1. Tori's Reef Ray Toler 3:59

There’s not a ton to say about this one. I started with the opening synth sound and chords – what you hear is the first thing I played – found a suitable drum loop or two, put that progression on repeat, and noodled for 30 minutes or so, trying out different sounds and melodies.

One aspect of Ottmar Liebert’s music is that it’s fairly formulaic and repetitive: Main theme, solo, main theme, solo, main theme, solo. I don’t mean that in a pejorative sense. It works precisely because of its form. There’s something familiar, and something interesting. A tune you can whistle, and a performance you can appreciate. I decided to try my hand at this again, having been down this road many times before in the past with tracks like Existential Transcendentalism and Transcendental Existentialism last year.1I probably have enough of these for an album now. I should see if that’s got legs.

While I wasn’t specifically thinking about Ottmar or Bonaire while doing the initial noodling, I definitely did when I loaded up that nice little jazz guitar patch in Omnisphere. At that point, the destination was set and it was just a matter of capturing the right performance.

This time, naming the track was pretty easy. The dive sites on Bonaire all have fun names, but many of them are a bit generic for a song title. I decided on Tori’s Reef for a couple of reasons: it’s one of our favorite sites, it was both unique and specific, and it’s the place where Mary and I had our first (and so far only) encounter with a pod of wild dolphin while underwater. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.


Instruments & Samples

Omnisphere, Falcon, OP-X Pro II, Stylus RMX


Gullfoss, Pro-L 2


  • 1
    I probably have enough of these for an album now. I should see if that’s got legs.

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