Steve Reich – Music For 18 Musicians  

A pulsating, minimalist masterpiece- like menthol for the mind.


Miles Davis – Bitches Brew


Listening to Miles Davis, especially his work from the early 70s, it's hard not to think he's channeling some supra-individual force.  Call it God, call it cosmic energy, whatever it is, Bitches Brew takes you somewhere else altogether.

John Adams – Nixon In China  

I'm a great fan of the American composer John Adams.  If I had to choose one piece it would probably be this, his first opera.  Every time I listen to it I'm dazzled by all its different elements- the melodies, the libretto, its huge scope.  Seeing it on stage is even better.  More inspiration than work-along music.


The Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil


A song so great Jean-Luc Godard made a film about it.  Again, maybe not ideal to work to, but all those 'ooh oohs' certainly clear the tubes.


Gil Scott Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Poetry, politics, funk. This is as about as cool as it gets. I saw him in concert once. Sadly never again...

Toumani Diabate – New Ancient Strings  

Ever since I first heard Toumani Diabate play the kora in the WOMAD tent at Glasotonbury when I was 19, I've been obsessed by the instrument's ethereal sound. Once I even went to West Africa to track down other kora players, though Diabate remains the master.

Franz Schubert – Piano Trio Opus 100  

One of the most searing melodies of all time. I first heard it while watching Barry Lyndon, and have had it on repeat ever since.

Antonio Soller – Fandango  

A baroque gem that seems to have its own inner engine propelling it forward- there are mornings when it's as good as coffee.

Igor Stravinsky – Symphony of Psalms  

Again which Stravinsky to choose?  But this has such a self-assured beginning - a perfect first beat - the rest of the piece just flows out of it. It's the work of someone who knows exactly what they're doing. Daunting and inspiring in equal measure.

Alfred Schnittke – Faust Cantata (It Came To Pass)  

Tangoing with the devil to the very gruesome words of the original Faust legend. It doesn't get darker - or more exhilarating - than this...


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