If you create music or any other form of art then your passions will inevitably, or ought to, influence your art. Writing music is a way of saying 'this is you I am' or sometimes 'this is who I'd like to be, not just 'this is what I've been through'.

I don't have the time to write everything I'd like to right now so I will try to come back to this page and add to it. But even then there will be gaps. there are passions of mine that have no particular wish to go into here (nothing weird!) that have most certainly influenced my music.

I have sometimes said that my music tastes like my cooking and looks like the inside of my house. And that's a good place to start. I love rich vibrant mixes of colour and flavour, exotic things from far-flung lands etc. and have always been drawn to the cultures of the middle and far East.

'Classical' Music

My roots, so to speak. I will still enjoy music from across the centuries especially the 19th century Russian Romantics and Nationalists I grew up on but the vast majority of the composers who appeal the most, sometimes comparitively unknown, come from the turn of the 20th century.


Russian composer, 1872-1915

I discovered his music when I was 12 and by 13 it was, and remains, my favourite music. I love the intensity, the passion, the magic and mysticism. As a teen I could not understand why my relationship with his music was so utterly different to all other music - it felt like mine
The only conclusion I could come to was that I must be his reincarnation (seriously, that's what I thought!)


In my early 20s I realized that though his fans were few and far between outside Russia, compared to others like, say, his classmate Rachmaninov, but they tended to be as fanatical as me. This lead to further philosophical/religious ruminations and lead to my 'bucket theory' for what-happens-when-you-die. More on that perhaps another time!

It was Scriabin that lead me to explore Theosophy, that spawned my interest in both multi-sensory art and the phenomenon of synaesthesia and that made me think in my teens and 20s that it was possible to 'save' the world with music.

Other composers who particularly float my boat

Not a complete list by any means (or in order!) and a few listening suggestions:

Messiaen - the Turangalila Symphony
Reich - The Desert Music
Ravel - song cycle, Sheherezade, Daphnis and Chloe
Debussy - La Mer
Szymanowski - 1st Violin Concerto, 3rd Symphony (Song of the Night)
Bloch - Schelomo for cello and Orchestra
Holst - The Planets, obviously
Bridge - The Sea, Enter Spring
Respighi - The Pines of Rome, the Fountains of Rome
Prokofiev - 3rd Piano and 1st Violin Concertos
Wagner - Tristan and Isolde
Puccini - Madame Butterfly
Shreker - Der Ferne Klang
Rachmaninov - any of the Piano Concertos
Duruflé - Trois Danses
Delius - Walk to the Paradise Garden, The Mass of Life
Stravinsky - The Firebird, The Rite of Spring
Khachaturian - Spartacus, Masquerade
Griffes - The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Kham, The White Peacock
Sorabji - Opus Clavicembalisticum
Schoenberg (early only - don't get me started on the damage he did later but Gurrelieder is a masterpiece)

Psychedelic Music

I've loved psychedelic though all its generations. I love the sounds, the journies, the mood, not to mention all the accompanying art, fashion and culture. Whereas I can enjoy the darker side of psychedelic artforms I will admit to being firmly in the fluffy camp, with a strong preference for the positive, uplifting ethos of what I consider truer psychedelic ethos.

Psychedelic music, fast and slow, makes me want to dance in the way I wish other music did.

Some favourite stuff over the decades

Pink Floyd were my first love on this side, and remain possibly my all-time favourite band - particularly, predictably, 'Dark Side of the Moon' and 'Wish You Were Here'. In a way rarely achieved by other bands of the time you don't hear the instruments, just visit the places they want to take you.
Jefferson Airplane's 'White Rabbit' also remains a huge favourite and I was lucky enough to produce and do all the keyboard arrangements on a version with Rainbow Nation that got writer Grace Slick's approval.

Steve Hillage, particularly 'Green' blew me away when I first heard it at uni, and still does. It's such utterly positive music and I, like almost every electronic psychedelic musician since him have been very strongly influenced by him.

In the 80s it was the new British psychedelic rock - I loved the Ozric Tentacles, the Ullulators and their somewhat incestuous offshoots. everybody played guitar like Steve Hillage but they brought a new element to the psychedelic vocabulary - Dub - and it worked. Having never been much of a fan of any sort of reggae other than Bob Marley suddenly I got the possibilities it offered!

In the early to mid '00s a friend interested me to the current psychedelic scene and it was one of those occasions when you feel like you've come home. I related instantly to psy-chill from a creative point of view and psy-trance form a night-out point of view! I can't name any psy-trance artists I like/love, though there are plenty. But on the chill side I adore so many - Ott, Trancient Dreams, Terra Nine, Kuba, Tripswitch, (most) Shulman, Shpongle, Entheogenic and of course Miquette Giraudy and Steve Hillage's current projects System 7 and Mirror System, plus many more.

Special mention to for Portuguese singer/songwriter Teresa Gabriel who proves that music can be truly psychedelic without anything other than acoustic guitar and voice and amazing song-writing.

World Music/World Fusion

I started to get interested in World Music in my teens, particularly the sounds of the middle east, India and Bali.
My interest was stirred as much by world fusion music as the original stuff, but not world fusion as we know it now but that of classical composers, particularly Russian and French, and of Hollywood film scores.

My introduction to 'proper' world fusion music came in '93 at the hands of Whirl-Y-Gig's DJ Monkey Pilot and as would later be with the resurgent psychedelic scene it was a coming home moment - there are people actually writing music like this so I can too!
Never a purist I loved the mix of traditional and modern, exotic and familiar, of acts like Transglobal Underground, Natasha Atlas and of course Afro Celt Sound System with whom I have a burgeoning relationship now.
It also helped widen my appreciation of other national styles and colours I was previously less familiar or less enamoured with.