Composing: It’s all in the head……

One of the truly great pleasures of being a musician is hearing the stuff in your head, without needing an instrument.

It takes a few years and a sufficient knowledge of your instrument, but eventually there comes a time when you are able to ‘practise’ your instrument without it being there.

It’s possible to work on new ideas for improvisations, and to arrange sections of music by holding all the necessary info in your head.

I found after a while that Directors or Ad Agencies would give me briefs that needed a little thinking about, and the best way for me to work on these was to leave the studio, and go and do something else, possibly a little more mundane.

After an hour or so, the subconscious takes over , and I’d feel the germ of an idea start to form, and once I had faith that there was enough to be looked at, I’d return to the studio and start.

Once however, this happened to me while I was out and about. I had no way of getting to the studio to record my idea, and was panicking that I might lose it. What actually happened was better than that…

When I finally did return to the studio, I out poured the whole thing to find that during the time I ‘d spent away, my subconscious had already done the necessary editing and re-writing, and the thing was pretty much finished.

This became after a while, quite normal. I stopped panicking about getting my idea down, and relied on my brain to work on the piece whilst I was doing something else.

I’ve read about many writers and poets since, who all describe a similar experience, so It’s not that unusual, however in the Summer of 2007, my family and I set out on a holiday to the Andalucian hills for a fortnights holiday.

All around us were symbols of the old Spain, and I very soon new that I wanted to write something about it, indeed I heard the very first guitar line beginning to repeat in my head as we splashed in swimming pools and ran down beaches….


Almeria is home to some of the most barren desert landscapes in Europe, ( indeed Clint Eastwood filmed most of the ‘The Good, The Bad and the Ugly’ series of films out there) and I find them very alluring.

The New Stone Age, the Neolithic era, which brought new technologies such as the plough, pottery and textiles to Spain from Mesopotamia and Egypt, came at around 6000 BC and was followed some 3000 years later by a culture of metalworking; Spain’s first site probably being near Almería at Los Millares, where local copper was made into tools and weapons.

The Indalo is a prehistoric magical symbol found in the cave of “Los Letreros” (“The Signboards”) in Sierra de María-Los Vélez Natural Park in Vélez Blanco, Spain. It has been customary to paint the Indalo symbol on the front of houses and businesses to protect them from evil. Legend has it that the Indalo was a ghost that could hold and carry a rainbow in his hands (thus the arch over the head of the man).

I had the idea of what I wanted to create, and the main theme running through my head. I wrote other sections as the days and nights went by and committed everything to notes and paper and tablature and got very carried away with the romance of the ‘concept’.

Pretentious, yes. Presumptious, almost certainly, but nevertheless thoroughly enjoyable, for me, and I hope for you.

But , please…. Do me a favour… listen to it in its entirety…..  :-)


beach almeria