This page is really mostly for die-hard enthusiasts! It has a bit about the 2 bands I played in with Pierre and Myo previously and if it interests you may put a few things in perspective and throw some light on when, how and why certain things came together.
I got into music quite late but with instant enthusiasm. I started writing at 11, shortly after my mum started really encouraging me to check out more classical music, which then took over my teens. She started me on piano lessons - a bit late to ever be a great player but essential nevertheless. By that time I'd already formed the short-lived East Bexhill Music Society and organized my first concert.
At school I also learnt cello and percussion which gave me the opportunity to play in school, youth and local orchestras and sang in the school choir which led to some great opportunities to sing at places like the Royal Albert and Royal Festival Halls.
Unlike today composition formed no part at all of the music curriculum but I was lucky to be surrounded by musical friends and with very encouraging teachers, who gave me free access to the manuscript paper cupboard, which I made great use of. I still have school books with one fully orchestrated piano concerto movement from when I was 13.
I got into the organizing side again when I was 16/17 and ran, on my own, a 6 week Festival of Modern Music which included visits from several notable modern composers, concerts and workshops, mostly b'classical' but including, inadvertently, Bexhill's first punk gig, which ended in a riot and the police being called. It also gave the first opportunity to sit in an audience and watch someone else playing my music.
My time at the University of Surrey is something of a haze of missed opportunity during which time I lost much of my interest in the modern classical side - this was still when your music usually had to sound really unpleasant to get anywhere - got distracted by everything around me, decided I wanted to be a comedian for a while and then a rock star and generally didn't achieve much other than get my first elctronic keyboards (actually I had a room full by the time I left)
Vers La Flamme1989-93
This was actually the third project in 4 years I started with this name - the name of a late piece of piano music by my lifelong musical guru the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin - but the one that lasted. Whilst the project had most of my musical trademarks I always referred to Vers La Flamme, much to some of the rest of the band's annoyance, as a pop band, but remember this was a day when there was still a lot of great, well crafted and intelligent music still accepted under the banner of pop, and these were mostly songs around 3m 45s long (radio friendly) with a very standard (V,C,V,C,M8,V,C,C) structure.
|And they were, in my opinion still, great songs, and by the time we stopped it was a great, tight live band, but as a pop band our target competition was the biggest bands in the world but our starting point the somewhat oversubscribed London pub circuit.|
This was also my first major project with Pierre Luigi, who was the band's third guitarist, though he was my first choice as with Orchid-Star.
Glow was like a long awaited apprenticeship as a producer. At the start I had very little in the way of studio skills though I remember the late, great DJ Charlie Gillett telling me I was a lot nearer than I thought. The second album I learnt a lot more about recording and mixing and the 3rd was where I also learnt to master. It was also my longest-standing and most symbiotic writing partnership - with Portuguese singer Maria João Branco.
Glow's musical direction would probably not have been the same if it hadn't been for my introduction to the global dance scene through the legendary club Whirl-Y-Gig. It allowed me to indulge my passion for world music in a way I had not done in Vers La Flamme and over the years Glow became fairly well established as part of the scene, including two very memorable gigs at WOMAD in '98 and '99, breaking their own rule against gigs on consecutive years.
A serious illness in the band prevented us taking up one of the two record deals offered to us after our one trip to Portugal but to this day I do not fully understand why we didn't take up the deal offered on the final album. In 2002 we finally realeased it on our own label with newly mastered versions of the first two
Glow was also where I met and first worked with Orchid-Star's Myo
For more info and lots of extracts from all the released tracks go to the Glow music page
|I'm not going to say a lot about Orchid-Star here as you will find plenty elsewhere on this site, including the Orchid-Star music page.
You can also find out much by visiting www.orchidstar.info
Did my first pro writing about '86 (I think), corporate stuff, mostly for training videos, including for the police (not the band).
Released my first solo album in '87, which later earned me an Hon. PhD from the UK School of Esoteric Crystal Sciences(!). Check it out here
Produced music for or had music used by several art installations, including Maurice Agis's 'Colourspace' in '88 which I released as my 2nd album (here), Algerian singer and artist Houriah Niati's 'No To The Torture' (US) in '94, Simon Rogers' Water Feature, 2006 and CM Films' Collision Course (Australia), 2010.
I worked on another hugely enjoyable project with Houria - the beautiful 9th century Andalusian songs of Syrian composer Ziryab, a staple part of Arab classical tradition which stand the test of time and modern arrangement. Sadly we never finished the recording project and a damaged DAT tape means I have no record of them but we did several gigs, with Karl from Glow on bass and master Derbouka player Salah Dawson Miller, including a concert for peace in the Middle East, where we just performed (twice) Shams Al Ashi, also in Delirium, the soundtrack for the art installation mentioned above, though with the addition of string orchestra and flute, giving me my only opportunity (to date) to conduct at the Royal Albert Hall
In '08 I was asked to do my first remix (Phoenix Rose's Sick and Tired on Archangel) and this is an activity I have taken too with the utmost relish and plan to do much more of.