When I first started trying to produce I always started with the kick and bass. I knew I wanted to be in the psy ambient realm of music. This starting place simply never went anywhere for me.
After experimenting and discovering some other well established artists who were sharing their own techniques...I now start by creating pads and textural sounds. I decide what key to use then simply spend some time layering smooth/ambient/textural sounds together.
I am in no way an expert but i have progressed rapidly finding a way to start something. The track takes on its own course most of the time.
I have spent lots of time dissecting tracks I want to sound like or create something similar. I think this is important, especially for learning arrangement, but it seems whenever I attempt to actually create a track with similar sounds I fail miserably. The track needs its own place and its own sound. So far starting this way has helped tremendously.
Would love to read what others do.