Episode 2: Psychedelics in Science and Music

The Psychedelic era of the mid-60s was a time of social, musical and artistic change influenced by psychedelic drugs, but behind the cultural curtain, a world of research was beginning to open up into the therapeutic potential of these drugs - one that was unfortunately short lived. In 1970, President Richard Nixon called the Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary, famously known for advocating the exploration of the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs as a cure-all for societies woes,"the most dangerous man in America". As a backlash to their role in the cultural upheaval of the 1960s, the majority of these drugs were declared illegal, driving hallucinogenic research and culture underground. But now, these drugs are in the midst of a revival, as new research indicates treatment options for a variety of mental illnesses and disorders, too valuable not to investigate. As psychedelic drug research bubbles back up to the surface in labs across the globe - we ask whether these drugs have a role beyond disease and if their use in creative practice will ever loose the stigma. 




Professor Charles Grob

Dr Charles Grob, Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine talks to us about the turbulent history of psychedelic drug research.

Dr Charles Grob is Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine. He conducted the first government approved psychobiological research study of MDMA, and was the principal investigator of an international research project in the Brazilian Amazon studying the visionary plant brew, ayahuasca.  He has also published the first approved research investigation in decades on the safety and efficacy of psilocybin in the treatment of anxiety in patients with advanced-stage cancer.


Rahel Debebe

Rahel, front woman of folk-prog-jazz band Hejira, talks to us about her experience of seeing colours and shapes when she hears music and how that has influenced her creativity.

Rahel, vocalist and song writer, has performed to sold-out audiences in venues such as the Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House. She plays vocals and bass in band Hejira, whose forthcoming album 'Thread of Gold' will be released in February 2019.


Track listing

Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit

The Human League - The Things That Dreams Are Made Of

Steppenwolf - Magic Carpet Ride

The Moody Blues - Legend of a Mind

Pink Elephants On Parade (From "Dumbo")

The Doors - The Soft Parade

Jefferson Airplane - Embryonic Journey

Marion Brown - Once Upon A Time (A Children’s Tale)

The Chambers - Time Has Come Today

Jimi Hendrix - 1983 (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)

Luis Paniagua - Nanas De Sol

Sun Ra and His Arkestra - Nuclear War

The Beach Boys - Hang On To Your Ego

Zomby - Tarantula

The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows

The Beatles - Come Together

Jon Coltrane - Om

Pharoah Sanders - Astral Traveling

Alice Coltrane - Journey In Satchidananda (feat. Pharoah Sanders)

Hejira - Floating Test (Hejira X Floating Points)

Hejira - You

Polo & Pan - Nana

The Pharcyde - Illusions

The Free Design - Kites Are Fun

Supersempfft - I See Stars

Maxence Cyrin - Where Is My Mind (The Pixie Piano Cover)

Listen to the episode playlist on Spotify



Yewande Pearse