It is almost a decade ago. I am sitting at a desk in my halls of residence at University, desperately trying (and failing) to assimilate a textbook about the Mesopotamian city of Uruk before an exam. I close my eyes and lean back in the chair, blocking out everything but the music I am listening to. My concentration focuses and I relax. Another time, I am older; lying in bed with the woman I love in a dimly lit room on a cold morning, surrounded by her possessions, feeling our chests rise and fall and the world outside rush silently past as we are cocooned in this moment. Older still, I sit bathed in the glow from my laptop screen somewhere past midnight and before sleep, attempting to write something of value, wracked with self-doubt and dredging creativity from the recesses of my mind. All of these memories are mine, and they are drenched in rich sensory cues which I carry with me as souvenirs of a life that I believe I have lived, but sometimes struggle to piece together. They are unified by one thing - the music of Italian composer and musician Ludovico Einaudi.

I call him on a cold September morning as he flies into the UK to promote his new album Elements, released October 16th on Decca Records. He speaks softly and eloquently in perfect English with a heavy Italian accent, considered pauses and guttural musings betraying a deliberate search for the correct words with which to express himself accurately in this unfamiliar language. "I just arrived yesterday from Milano, and today in Milano it is raining, and in London it is sunny, so it is good," he laughs wryly when I ask him how his day is going.

Although most often referred to as a classical composer and pianist, Einaudi's vast collection of work now encapsulates much more than such a restrictive label, something which to truly understand you must explore his beginnings. Often he can be found drawing influence from folk, world music, rock and pop with a spirit of open-mindedness and musical collaboration which permeates the new record, a desire for variety that echoes back to his earliest musical memories, as he recalls; "Talking about this is something that really connects me to my childhood. In my family when I was a child - when I was 8 or 9 years old - I had my mother who was piano influenced playing classical music and folk songs for me and my two sisters. The oldest one was 9 years older than me. Obviously we are talking about the '60s and at that time she was a teenager and introduced into the house all the records of that moment, the music that at the time was exploding everywhere. I remember The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and later Jimi Hendrix, this music was the music that I started to be connected with."

The young Einaudi continued his exploration of different musical worlds in the years to follow, not least studying at the Conservatorio Verdi in Milan and then under electronic music pioneer Luciano Berio, before reconnecting with the rock and pop music which set him on his path. "I didn't want to - or have any reason to - say that my music was this or that" - he explains, continuing "I remember for me that the period at the end of the '70s and beginning of the '80s there was not something that was inspiring me so much in the area of popular music, but then even later I was spiritually elevated by some of the music that came after that period. I have to say I grew up listening to different musical worlds and so I think my very DNA as a musician belongs naturally to different worlds. I feel in a way... richer, being able to attend a classical concert and then go to a Radiohead concert the day after."

Since those humble origins in Turin as a boy, his music has grown to dominate the field of what some have called contemporary classical or neoclassical new-age, earning him global success and a legion of devoted fans around the world, though slow to coalesce, in part due to what he refers to as a "misunderstanding in the idea" that his early piano albums meant that classical was the only thing he was connected to musically. "At the beginning there was a more classical audience and I was, in a way, missing the fact that I was touching other people connected to a rock background or a non-classical background; that they were following what I was doing. I wanted to get in touch with those people because I knew that I was belonging also to that world. So I am happy that after some years this is happening more. I really like to see someone who is a fan of metal music but also at my concerts" he pauses here, chuckling "I like it because I think it reflects my own experience, it's a part of my background and probably there is a little slice of that in the music that connects with other people."

Elements - the latest addition to his body of work - sprung from both a desire not to stagnate creatively, and an insatiable curiosity and thirst for knowledge. "I didn't want to proceed... automatically... in what I was doing. Sometimes you're in the middle of your career and you're writing things... almost like an actor" he says, of going through the motions "It's like you have to build a house and then you build another and every house looks the same. I didn't want to do that. For me every album is important - for myself; for finding a new life, a new perspective, a new point of view."

The theme of the album is essentially an examination of the constituent components of our world, our individual lives, and the interconnectedness of everything which we interact with and live alongside. To try and understand how these elements were important in every aspect of our life. "Talking about architecture you can analyse the elements of a building; the door, the windows, how you create every detail that is part of a general idea. In the end you can read about architecture, geometry, science or philosophy, whatever, and you can exchange the fields, and every thought about those ideas can be interchangeable between subjects. It was a reflection to me that was important; to get a new perspective."

It is, he says, a big theme that he could continue to explore "for years, in a way" and one which has clearly fired his creative imagination to new levels. Einaudi has long had a hand in all the artwork for his records, but this time the sleeve is an original piece by the composer himself. "I was reading Kandinsky's writing about the attraction of points and lines in drawings - and the relation between those themes - and sound. I am always trying to give some direction and inspiration to the person who does the artwork for the album so we discuss together themes - sometimes it's starting from my photography that I took when I was travelling, like on the previous album. This time I started to work with the idea of symbols. I was trying to express with the drawing my direction and then we tried it and we found that it was already there, it was working already, so we kept it for the cover!"

One of the major universally uniting aspects of Einaudi's work is something which many instrumental musicians have discovered and turned to their advantage over the years - once lyrics, or a specific language, are removed from a composition, the music itself becomes the means of communication with the audience, transcending barriers and borders, opening up avenues of interpretation and emotional resonance, with each listener able to attach their own significance and meaning to a particular moment. "I think it's so fascinating that you can talk through music with so many different people," he enthuses as we discuss this. "This is so mysterious and fantastic to me. It's a power that only music or, I don't know what else, can have. I really also like the fact that in a way my changing audience became quite mysteriously even younger over the years - it's usually the opposite that happens! You start with young people and then they grow as you get older and, for me, sometimes it's exactly the opposite and it's something that is so beautiful to have - comments from people that are in their twenties."

His lasting relevance no doubt lies in some part due to his talent for composing such empathic, evocative soundscapes which - apart from scoring a multitude of internationally celebrated movies - are both soothing and mentally stimulating, making them the perfect choice of background music for studying or creative pursuits, as Einaudi himself testifies from his fan's stories; "I enjoy so much to have heard the reactions from young people that tell me what they feel, and also what they do, with the music. It's beautiful to know that people are writing, studying, thinking - to know that music is helping them even through personal problems. It's fantastic."

Still working at a rate of knots as he approaches his sixtieth birthday later this year, the composer's creative output shows no signs of slowing down, something he attributes to his work ethic and a change in his confidence in his own abilities over the years. "I am a bit more confident. When it's dark and foggy and you look back and say 'this piece of music, I don't know if I can achieve again this result' - in a way this has always been happening - now, I can get negative but not so deeply as I used to go before."

I ask him if he ever suffers from writer's block. "Not completely, of course it's not every day which you wake up with the best inspiration. It's coming back and forth like a sound wave. I know that if you follow it, one day the sound wave is going up, and this is the moment where you have to catch it. For me you don't have to wait for inspiration, you have to search for it, you have to work hard."

It's this constant search for inspiration, this drive to create and to understand, that has fuelled Einaudi's spectacular contribution to the world of music. There's no doubt the world, and the industry in which he operates, have changed a great deal since his childhood. He now finds himself if not at odds with, then at least brushing up against, the relentless march of technology, as the UK's most streamed classical artist, with over 130 million streams of his tracks. When I ask him whether this has made any impact on his career he is typically matter of fact; "I think the fact that music became so accessible is very nice because you can immediately listen to any piece of music you like, and this is beautiful. In that process there must be a way of showing respect to the people that are working in music. There must be a reparation, that it doesn't have to be completely considered as something that is coming from the sky, because it doesn't. There are people involved, not only me, but it's the result of work, even when you are using some software, there are people that have made this, but in the end it is lovely of course - the fact that you can listen to everything is fantastic."

We say our goodbyes and I am pulled back to reality, alone in my room watching the red recording light blink and the sound wave graphic on my iPhone bulge and deflate, the physical remainder of our conversation which until a second ago hung in the air and is now consigned to a screen. Every connection we make in turn becomes part of something greater still, an endless human grasping for understanding, and in time all of this will become another element of my life, another memory, another souvenir, and I will wonder if it ever even happened at all.

Elements is released on 16th October 2015 via Decca Records.