When I'm thinking up ideas or writing I usually work in silence. If I play music at all, it has to be calm and contemplative (at low volume) so that it soaks the studio in a quiet, constructive atmosphere and doesn't distract me. After the thinking stage, when I'm inking or colouring, I can play anything. Sometimes, if I'm trying to make intuitive, impulsive work, I'll put on fierce, aggressive music to help get me in touch with my spontaneous side. 

Marc Ramsden – Extra (Above The Clouds)

A tune composed and played by this eccentric and wonderful sax player, accompanied by Steve Loder on organ, and recorded in a church, or some such place. Beautiful.

Peace Orchestra – The Man (Peace Orchestra)

I could have chosen anything off the Peace Orchestra album. Every track is wonderful because of the fact that it sounds like nothing else, so the atmosphere it creates in a room is unique. I love the space between the sounds. 

Massive Attack – Special Cases  

Another band who are brilliant at leaving space. This generates a unique, wonderfully dark atmosphere, too.


Lucinda Williams – Blue (Essence)


Sexy, sad, sultry music. And searingly honest. Not being a country music fan, it took me a while to get into Lucinda Williams, but once I did I've never tired of her. I could have chosen any of about 30 fab tracks.


Neu – Hallogallo (Neu)

Hallogallo is utterly brilliant. I sneaked out of school to evesdrop outside a Roxy Music outdoor concert in the early '70s and heard this track played before they came on. It echoed across the river in York and sounded amazing. Hallogallo is my favourite track on a truly special album which Krautrock duo Neu recorded in (I believe) one night in 1971. I can't praise this too much.

Sébastien Tellier – Le Long De La Riviere Tendre (Universe)  

This is (I'm running out of words already) completely perfect. And its imperfections are what make it perfect. Spine-tingling. I have this on my ipod lots of times so that it comes up on shuffle fairly often. 

Pixies – Hey (Doolittle)  

I love the Pixies but don't often play them in the studio because they're such a powerful force, but when I do it's partly to tap into some of their fearlessness - and Hey epitomises what I mean. It reminds me (I know this but I still need constant reminding) to listen to the murmuring of my 'soul', to trust in my intuition and go where it leads me, even if that place is dark, disturbing and scary. And unpublishable.

Sensational Alex Harvey Band – The Faith Healer (Next)  

This track is as good as I remember it being - every time I listen to it. I like music which goes on and on and on exactly the same for too long, then changes.

Michael Brook – Carving (Into The Wild Soundtrack CD)  

This is wonderfully atmospheric. The whole album is genius. I have it on my 'calm' ipod, and when tracks pop up they're the perfect intermission.

Miles Davies – So What (Kind Of Blue)  

A great track from one of the greatest albums of all time. How can improvised music be this subtle and profound, while being so simple? One of the mysteries of creative work - and a reminder to keep things simple and leave the listener/reader/viewer lots to do.


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