We all love music. Fact. It has ways of shaping our moods, relieving us of our worries and taking us to places that few other mediums can. For artists this is a very important thing as it directly affects what comes out of our hands and onto the canvas.
I can’t ever recall not painting to music in some form or another, even if it’s a random radio station. I don’t have any preset playlist or particular genre I choose; instead I’m normally happy to hit the Shuffle button and see what comes out. I like the idea of this as music can shape our ideas into something truly inspiring.
At the core of my listening preferences are a few selected artists that will normally end up playing at some point during the creative cycle. For me, these artists and their music form a core of all the things I hold closest to my art. Expression, freedom and an ability to get lost in whatever you’re doing.
In some ways I tend to listen more to the melodies , phrasing and tonal characteristics of a tune over the lyrics. I’m not that good at remembering words anyway so they are often a secondary consideration. However, there are always significant tunes in anyone’s library that hit you at the deepest level every time you play them – both in terms of musicality and lyrics.
Texan-born guitar virtuoso; this guy has influenced me for the last 20 years; ever since he released his Grammy award winning album ‘Ah Via Musicom’ back in 1990. His effortless finger-work, lightening speed and beautiful voice marries to his exceptional compositions and poetic lyrics. His style is varied, his tones are delivered by angels and his ability to make his guitar sound like a voice that sings to you make Eric unique. If you’re a guitar player you’ll understand why he is called ‘the King of the Pentatonics’.
Stand out tracks are: Cliffs of Dover, Nothing Can Keep Me From You, Desert Rose, Trademark, When The Sun Meets The Sky, 12 to 12 Vibe, Zap, Song for George
Legends of the progressive rock scene Dream Theater have been pushing back the boundaries of the virtuoso band for over 20 years. With five incredible musicians and an ability to produce compelling and haunting songs these guys take their style from a myriad of genres; often producing truly memorable tunes. With the searing guitar of John Petrucci, the peerless Mike Portnoy on drums (now departed alas) and the genius of Jordan Rudess on keys they are truly the most technically gifted and influential band of their generation.
Stand out tracks are: The Spirit Carries On, Under A Glass Moon, Peruvian Skies, The Root of All Evil, The Answer Lies Within, Metropolis Pt2, Octavarium, Pull Me Under, Images and Words
Composer, performer, invenotor, pioneer; the list of what this man is goes on and on. For over 30 years he has produced some of the most widely played, anthemic tunes that have weaved their way ino the very fabric of our society. Always an innovator he has become synonymous with massive outdoor shows on an epic scale. I saw him at Docklands in 1986 and can still remember everything about that day. His influence remains a constant in all that I do. He took electronica and made it into a global genre all of his own.
Stand out tracks are: Oxygene IV, Equinoxe (all of them), Magnetic Fields, Rendez-Vous, Revolutions, Metamorphsoses
Despite loving guitar based music I am also a huge fan of proper Trance music too. Sure this is split into other genres but the core of what I’m talking about began in the late 1990’s and can still be felt today. One album changed it for me, Trance Nation 2 mixed by Ferry Corsten. It was the way he took the standard mixes and produced a body of work that was seamless, beat perfect and flowed rhythmically from one track to the next as if it was one complete work. Genius. I love the repetition of the melody and how it is built up from components then stripped away again. In some respects trance music can take it’s roots from classical compositions in it’s construction through a timbrel range. Thumping beats always help a painting become more dynamic and present in the moment. Perfect for when you really need to ‘go for it’
Stand out tracks are: Gamemaster (Lost Tribe), 1999 (Binary Finary), Mat Darey’s Mash Up, Revelation (Electrique Boutique), Synaesthesia (Thrillseekers), Silence (Delirium)
I’ll save Michael Buble, Rachmaninov, Thin Lizzy, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Sugarland, Pink Floyd, Muse, Mozart, Coldplay, Run DMC and Frank Sinatra for another day! Then there’s Irish Folk music plus the Blues… think I need a lie down!