Born Steven Edward McDonald in the English Midlands in 1956, McDonald began formal musical training as an orchestral percussionist at age ten, becoming an avid lover of classical music after seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968. A family move to Mandeville, Jamaica, in 1969 opened his eyes and mind to broader musical possibilities. Subsequently, he took up piano and melodica, followed by bass guitar (due to a band situation where no one else wanted to handle the instrument). Cello and guitar followed, to be joined by organ and synthesizer. A brief stint in Ireland saw a focus on guitar and writing, as well as some minor production work, but the majority of the late '70s and much of the '80s was devoted to fiction and poetry, rather than music, as well as a 1984 move to Los Angeles and a first marriage. A period of television writing helped to provide the impetus to begin experimenting with MIDI and working with synthesizers once again, and it was some of these experiments that led to the commissioning of some original music for a festival based on Ancient Egyptian religion and culture. Demand for the music grew so intense that a hasty commitment to a release was made. Three further Inundation releases followed, each one more sophisticated than the one prior. A number of other releases were interspersed, including Meditations and Transports, AutoExotic, and, in 1995, Lakeside, the only title released after a move to Vermont.