• Mantra Sunrise

  • History

    Written & Produced by John Miner
    1992-Present

    Artist

    Mantra Sunrise was a progressive rock band that performed and recorded in the early 1990s. The band's power trio format featured vocalist and bass guitarist Joel Bissing, guitarist John Miner, and Wayne Garabedian, who doubled on drums and keyboards.


    Their self-titled debut album was recorded during 1992 and 1993 in a converted farmhouse in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Seven years later the album was released on the Las Vegas-based Tributary Music Label in 2000. The twenty-minute epic "Land of Sprinagar" became a favorite of late night progressive rock radio shows.

    Track List

    • Why
    • Time of Year
    • Brudenell
    • Dying Day
    • Sleeping Whales
    • Northern Light
    • Your Heart (acoustic)
    • Your Heart
    • Casino
    • Land of Sprinagar
    • Mantra Sunset
  • "Mantra Sunrise" self-titled release Tributary Label 2000

    Miner and Garabedian had worked together in several local bands before deciding to get more serious and explore the possibility of recording material Miner had written during his recent world travels. Miner's compositions were based for the most part on alternate tunings and the use of odd time signatures, a direction Miner would continue to explore further in years to come, particularly in his work with Art Rock Circus.

    Garabedian found Bissing in a coffee shop in Fresno, California and arranged an audition with Miner upon his return to California. Bissing gave the music a unique voice, a stylistic approach on bass guitar, and also made significant contributions as a songwriter on their album.
     

    The group expanded their live shows by featuring special guests performing on violin and flute. The band also incorporated elements of modern dance and eastern belly dancing at their shows. Visual elements were aided by stage smoke, slide shows and other psychedelic special lighting effects. Mantra's sophisticated staging did find its critics within the grunge movement that favored a more stripped down, no nonsense approach to live music in the early 1990s.

    Mantra Sunrise

  • Mantra Sunrise Lyrics

    Produced by John Miner & Joel Bissing

    WHY
    I never ever wanted to be....
    Some sort of savior
    or anything.
    you put your faith in
    someone else.
    Now Iím afraid I...........
    canít help you any more.
    And when tomorrow......
    is locked inside your brain.
    You will remember.....
    your eyes begin to stare........
    Why?...........
    Please donít say it because Iím not listening.........

    TIME OF YEAR
    Iveí got a time of year for everyone.
    What will I make of it......this time around.
    Lost in a blue sky......the earth below......
    No sense of tradition......the generations tear.
    The birth of our timepiece...... indifferent society
    Reflections of a lifetime.......
    Itís so disillusioning.
    Sometimes there comes a time when hearts arenít aligned
    Where excuses are everywhere and loves hard to find
    Then the seekers who follow some cosmic devine
    Are allowed to behave without conscience in mind
    For the wonderers of life there ainít no better place
    Than a spiraling trail that leads into space
    Though she wonít know the answers for quite a long time
    Does anyone know at the end of the line?
    Iveí got a time of year for everyone.
    What will I make of it this time around?
    Lost in a blue sky the earth below.....
    the generations tears are falling from us.
    The birth of our timepiece indifferent society.
    Reflections of a lifetime.......itsí so disillusioning
    I donít know what to feel
    What will I make of it.........this time around?

    DYING DAY
    Twenty more nights will be crucified
    Until the rivers are turning to grey
    And if itsí over before we go to know the truth
    one knows that something will stand in the way.
    A whimsical notion must pass us by
    Amidst the clearing of circular suns
    And if the tide is just right.....just like the open sky
    Then there is plenty of room for the one...
    Where are we gonna go........what are we gonna do?
    Whoís gonna show us the way......before we get to our dying day ?
    Deserts of sand across the spotted land
    give rise to textures of eternal decay
    And though our bodies are truely a carbon base
    We still return on our dying day
    Itís sad to imagine what the world might be
    If all the people remained on the land
    And if nobody died, and everybody cried
    Weíd be forever feeling bad.
    Where are we gonna go.......what are we gonna do?
    Whoís gonna show us the way.....before we get to our dying day?
    Lifeís like the sea of ever changing tides
    That washes in all the sand from the sea
    And what it gives to the land..... it takes away the sand
    Then leaves a message for you and for me.....

    SLEEPING WHALES
    Visiting this land of love
    Life experienced from above
    The melting of the glacial snow
    Cracks the earth..... the rivers flow
    From the mountains... fill the streams
    Through the valley of our dreams
    Decorate the desert floor
    Warms the sun of evermore
    The pastel forest coats the hills
    The everglades the dafodills
    The pristine beaty of the sea
    Silent turn for you and me
    Clear bright water add the sun
    Force of life for everyone
    Precious life the shell so frail
    Just like tired sleeping whales

    NORTHERN LIGHT
    Through the rolling hills and through the trees
    I seek my sacred dream
    I close my eyes in the dark of the night
    then breathe the life of a small northern town
    Crimson light flowed through her hair
    She gave life to me everywhere
    We sang songs love of love and joy
    And expressed our feelings with truth
    Oh.......magical time......Iím gonna miss you
    Oh.....northern light.....donít let me go
    The pain of moving on.......So long
    Will I be back some day.......With you......For you.......love you
    Iím gonna miss you.......Move on so long
    She took me high to the mountain falls
    crystal pool of water below
    I saw my life reflecting back at me..... all around everywhere
    Suddenly in my lonely room, I saw myself sleeping there........
    Oh.......magical time......Iím gonna miss you
    Oh.....northern light.....donít let me go
    The pain of moving on......so long
    Will I be back some day.......With you......For you......Love you
    Iím gonna miss you.......move on so long
    Please donít leave.............
    Happily, happily, happily, happily, life is but a dream.

    YOUR HEART
    How can I feel your heart
    If I canít feel mine
    Itís a shameful game
    And yet I feel no shame
    Who do you think I am
    Could I be the thunder in the rain?
    Or just the quiver in your plea.
    How many times have I sent the same message
    Just to go unseen
    What makes the sun go around
    Does it bring you down
    And when the night falls
    Who calls within your dream
    Oh canít you hear me scream?
    Iím not your soothsayer no more
    And if you pay the penny poor
    You can sing your own hyme
    He ainít feeling so blue
    Not like you

    CASINO
    Something in the water called to me
    Pearched up on the shoulder of the sea
    Love me.....In ways we (?)
    Youíll have everything
    We can realize your dreams
    Sometimes I feel old
    Older than.......what I am....
    So.... now on this cliff I stand
    nothing holding me
    nothing ties me to this land
    Take me into a deep embrace
    I give everything
    Oh thereís nothing left to waste
    Sometimes I am bold
    not tonight
    I canít stand this emptyness..........

    LAND OF SPRINAGAR
    Go west my young one
    Go west chase the sun
    Spread the word my love
    Tell them everyone
    help them everywhere
    let them feel the one
    breathe on them my love all
    give them hope my friend
    Land of Sprinagar
    Master of my dream
    Song of timeless one all
    help me love my world
    blissful form take shape of
    finder of the calm
    keeper of the dawn
    The son of the caller gave hope to the poor
    He spoke of a time which the old never knew
    His focus relentless a prisoner no more
    The evil indulgence was cast to the shore
    Warm are the shadows up above
    We know no other way
    Ignorance is the clouding of our love
    Weíve gone astray
    Crossfire all the time
    Tortured in a losing world
    Captured in the halls of pain
    This ainít no shallow game
    The second incarnation brought light to the soul
    He spoke of his master with total recall
    His disipline unwavered untarnished unscared
    The science of mind is eternal for all
    Eagerness for worldly activity
    It kills the sense of spiritual unity
    clear the mind of intellectual debris
    Prepare for the grand final journey
    What happens to us in this life is not as important as
    what we impress upon the mind about the things that
    happen to us. To detatch the mind from the senses
    opens us to the infinite. The divine purpose of creation
    is to uniquely manifest the special attributes of the soul
    in the seekers time. For the master, the breathe link is
    severed by choice, not by the rude intrusion of karmic
    necessity.
    Pass the knowledge on
    show them how their wrong
    land of Sprinagar
    The master spoke softly as he passed on his word
    The apprentice gazed clearly at his warm eyes so true
    His words where like magic as they flowed from his tounge
    And hereís what he whispered to the wise and the young.......
    When we lose motivation to commit evil deeds
    The netherword power shall freeze in itís act
    When desire has vanished we cannot go wrong
    For evil is powerless when weí're deaf to itsí call..........

  • Mantra Sunrise

    Mantra Live

    Mantra Sunrise

  • Mantra Sunrise

    Reviews

    Lionks to Detailed Reviews Reviews

    "The 20 minute Land of Sprinagar is an utterly amazing piece of music...Mantra Sunrise is A MAJOR ALBUM OF 2000!"....European Progressive Rock Reviews

    Detailed Review "Progressive Rock at it's Best"....Dmitry Epstein/Let it Rock....Israel

    Detailed Review

    "It is obvious these guys go their own quite original way of composing...well performed electric and acoustic guitar passages, original bass lines and a strongly constructed rhythm section on the whole...all the band members play there roles excellent according to the Spirit of the Time."....Vitaly Menshikov/Progressor...Russia

    Detailed Review

    "Wonderful material here..unlike anything I've ever heard before. The psychedelic Land of Sprinagar captures Mantra Sunrise in every aspect...a true masterpiece."....Rock Net/Netherlands

    "The voice of Bissing is beautiful...Miner is an excellent guitarist (very classical in his approach), and the rhythm section is varied and very dynamic....definetly a group to discover!"....LA VIE EN ROCK/ France

    Detailed Review

    "John has created an album of dark, moody music, almost gothic in nature..." ....Fred Trafton/ Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock

    Detailed Review

    "Imagine a dusty room dominated by eclectic incense, oriental tapestrys and an audience tripping on acid...when Clapton was God...this music is so authentic....Mantra Sunrise has undeniable credibility!"....Marcelo
     

    Progression Magazine Interview with John Miner
     

    Nucleus Magazine Argentina interview with John Miner
     

    Rock Opera Heavens Cafe' Runs six weeks in Los Angeles
     

    Featured Review on American Theater Web
     

    K 2 "Book of the Dead"
     

    American Freedom Interview with John Miner

  • Reviews

    Comments from Around the World

    Progressor, Russia

    Why (Bissing, Miner) Timeof Year (Miner, Bissing, Garabedian) Brudenell (Miner) DyingDay (Miner, Bissing) SleepingWhales (Miner) NorthernLight (Miner, Bissing, Garabedian) YourHeart, I & II (Miner, pt 1) (Garabedian, Miner, Bissing, pt 2) Casino (Bissing) Landof Sprinagar (Miner, Bissing, Garabedian, Newmark) MantraSunset (Miner)

    Line-up: John Miner - electric & acoustic guitars, vocals; Joel Blissing - lead vocals, bass; Wayne Garabedian - drums & percussion; keyboards

    Guest musicians: Gary Newmark - drums on tracks 1,4 & 9; Ann Jorgensen - flute on 4

    Lyrics by Miner, except 5 (by Miner, Wilk), 8 (by Miner, Bissing), 1 & 9 (by Blissing), Tracks 3,7(pt 1) & 10 are instrumentals.

    (Sad to say this, I wrote reviews on "Mantra Sunrise" and "Heaven's Cafe" CDs a few days after a promo package from a new label in Las Vegas had arrived. But as I rushed to the hospital, my wife trying to send these materials to my only colleague on the site (since its birth on October 1, 1998) did not know how to operate the PC, and unpurposely caused some damage to the HDD and the mother board, so they had to be replaced.)

    Prologue. IMO, this label was named "Tributary" not at all accidentally. As I guess, a significant part of its releases are and will be as if dedicated to those wonderful, truly good old (old'n'gold!) times that we remember as the years of Love and Flowers, Free Sex, Hippies - those honest children of their own internal Freedom, who rejected any traditional religious teachings (oh well, I still reject them, though I am rather a 'child' of the 70s), Woodstock, and of course, those were the years of the birth of Progressive Rock. Some music from "Tributary" that I heard until now fully corresponds to such terms as early Progressive or pre-Progressive Rock.

    The Album.

    I think, the guys of Mantra Sunrise well know such words like Karma, Reincarnation, Previous and Future Lives, Material and Spiritual World (that's for sure, as I've listened to "Heaven's Cafe"!). They also must be familiar with the Music Legacy of the same old'n'gold years in the second half of the 60's, and of course with its progressive manifestations in the face of Cream, Barclay James Harvest, etc, and especially of Procol Harum. Despite the fact I hear some traces of the structures that are more or less inherent to early Procols in the music of Mantra Sunrise, it is obvious that, on the whole, these guys go their own quite original way of composing. With the music of Mantra Sunrise a true Spirit of the Music Legacy of the last years of the sixth decade of the century, already totally forgotten, is born again. The Mantra Sunrise debut album is a real work of nothing less than early Progressive Rock. This is not blues, neither rock'n'roll nor some other style, as the main 'formula' of "Mantra Sunrise" is typical for what we call "our Genre": concrete Rock structures (maybe, with just a few rhythm'n'blues elements) and simple yet once again concrete arrangements on the basis of any theme. Acoustic guitar passages are very nice and at the same time quite complex. All the band members play their 'roles' excellent - according to the Spirit of Time - being as if the musicians of the Past, that comes out from our Future to be our Present each new moment of Life. While all the vocal parts are done very well, I like the instrumental palette of this album even a bit more thanks to the well performed electric and acoustic guitar solos and passages, original bass lines and strongly constructed work of the rhythm section on the whole.

    Summary. I can just guess that some of the Tributary stuff are those 'Dead' Stars of the 60's, who were born on the same shit planet according to their own karma. But I know exactly the Reincarnation of Early Progressive Rock has really taken place thanks to the same Tributary stuff. I've rated the Mantra Sunrise debut album as 'simply' a good album from the standpoint of a 'profound' Prog-lover, though of course it is in general really great to listen to such original and at the same time such nostalgic music. I'm sure a lot of (even mature) Prog-heads will fully agree with me, if they really want to remember how it all started. Are you ready for some 'old' yet very refreshing music? Then please go to: http://tributarymusic.com/.

    VM. October 11, 2000

     

    Arlequins Magazine

    Bah... se dovessi dire che questo disco mi ha ben impressionato, direi una bugia. E' una sorta di AOR con qualche atmosfera appena un po' più elaborata, ma niente di speciale. Fortunatamente, dopo una sequenza di canzoni abbastanza anonime, in coda al disco si trova la mini suite "Land of Sprinagar", che rappresenta il punto più alto dell'album. La canzone parte con un incedere marziale e oscuro, per poi lasciare spazio d alcune soluzioni che hanno molto di marillioniano (per via della chitarra carica di eco che fa molto "Misplaced childhood"). E' in questo brano che sono presenti le parti strumentali più belle (ma non molto...) e i momenti più meditativi di un disco altrimenti inutile. Per il resto non c'è molto da dire. Se una volta mi volete ascoltare, lasciate perdere...

    LA VIE EN ROCK

    MANTRA SUNRISE [USA]

    Updated 9/21/00 LA VIE EN ROCK / FRANCE (KOIDA9 LE BOUCHE A OREILLE)

    This new project from the all new American Label Tributary Music is a trio composed of Joel Bissing (vocals, bass), John Miner (acoustic-electric 6 and 12 string guitars) also creator of the rock opera Heavens Cafe'...to be found on two CD's croniciled in these pages by me, myself and I..in other words by me! The drummer-keyboardist is Wayne Garabedian (does that exist? how does he do it? How many hands does he have?!) Also a few invited performers include Gary Newmark on drums Ann Jorgensen on flute and even a voilinist at live shows...hmm..I wonder why not on the album?

    It's difficult to classify the music here, very rock (but in the good sense) with superb guitar work (Miner is really an excellent guitarist, very classical in his approach) with a very varied and dynamic rhythm section. The vocals are very present (three instrumentals on eleven compositions, deep lyrics and the voice of Bissing is very beautiful and aided by the higher voice of Miner. Most of the compositions are relatively short with the exception of the 20 minute Land of Sprinagar which is divided into six sections. The music is clearly 70's progressive oriented The guitars are up front and keys are not so prominent...but despite that the music is particularly savory. The track "Casino" is a little different in that the group is much cooler and helps progress the music in a great moment of anthology.

    Swedish Rock Reviews compares the group to Pink Floyd and this I can see but not to Yes or Marillion. All in all definitely a group to discover!

    Tributary is a label to follow!

     

    Renaud Oualid LA VIE EN ROCK/ FRANCE (KOIDA le bouche a oreille!) LA VIE EN ROCK

    European Progressive Rock Reviews: London, UK

    We now come to John Miner's involvement with the band Mantra Sunrise. This needs to be split into three sections starting with the tracks "Brudenell", "Your Heart (acoustic version)" and "Mantra Sunrise" all being superb examples of acoustic guitar instrumentals that give this album a bit of variation. The acoustic guitar continues on the excellent mood creating "Casino" which gives the feeling of hot sultry nights, the music and vocals are a dead ringer for The Triffids meeting The Go-Betweens. This is high quality music. Again the Triffid sound can be found on "Your Heart" and the superb "Northern Lights" and "Why".

    We now come to section two with the utterly amazing 20:00 min. progressive track "Land Of Sprinager". This is deep, mood creating, atmospheric, progressive, dark and complex, again I have to say an utterly amazing piece of music with good acoustic/electric guitar passages and spot on vocals.

    Finally, and unfortunately, we come to section three with "Time Of The Year" where the guitar gives the impression that it's dragging its feet as if it's struggling to keep time and is a bit over powering and out of tune, apparently deliberately, to fit in with the concept of the song but this track has nothing going for it. On "Sleeping Whales" and "Dying Day" we find the guitar being repetitive and simplistic and too up front and distracting although the entry of the flute on the latter just about saves the (dying) day.

    So, what a strange mixture of styles, rock/progressive and Australian indie music, "Triffids" style that is. I love equally both these categories of music so I have no problem with the contrasting styles, both are equally superb. All the vocals are spot on and the amazing progressive epic is worth the price of admission. As for the three tracks that I find a bit simplistic, don't let this put you off, there is some excellent music here. Give it a try.

    A major album of 2000. 

     

     

    Let It Rock: Israel

    It's dark before the dawn, and this trio deliver the twilight mood perfectly, but they aren't experimental having their roots in CREAM. That's very clear in magical "Northern Light", where low voice of bassist Joel Bissing fills the air while John Miner's high-pitched guitar brings the first rays of rising sun into "Why". Guitars are compelling here, especially 12-string used quite rarely nowadays, but how it shines, countrified, in "Time Of Year" - hint on the Fabs' "Sun King" riff hardly a coincidence - before turning to theatrical blues, really something unique. Pure acoustic "Brudenell" draws from country as well as classical but it's a soothing piece linking the music with early art rock tradition, which gets explored in "Dying Day" - pastoral flute, sparse drift, psychodelic feel take a listener to the late Sixties. At this point "Sleeping Whales" starts falling into category of Howe playing Vivaldi, until guitar tide comes up ambiently. Still, it's kept down to earth even when revealing "Your Heart" at first in gentle strumming and then in some BLIND FAITH haze stretching to "Casino". Maybe it's all too melancholic but mantra must help concentrating, not dancing.

    OK, mantra's being read, it's time for fun: "Paint It Black" riff kicks in almost 20-minute six-part epic "Land Of Spinagar" to switch to melody borrowed from Hackett's "Hierophant" and then to "Kashmir" scale and a bit more - great ingredientes properly mixed and embellished with the band's own efforts (thumbs up to Wayne Garabedian's drums and keyboards!) give a good result, progressive rock at its best. Day's passed, haven't you noticed? "Mantra Sunset" dims lightly like kissing goodbye. Dmitry Epstein/Israel

    Rock • Progessivo • Brasil

    John Miner é um talentoso guitarrista (usa uma guitarra de dois braços) americano (Las Vegas). Junte outros músicos virtuosos e o resultado são bons discos. Mantra Sunrise segue uma linha psicodélica com algumas influências góticas. O instrumental é quase perfeito. A suíte Land of Sprinagar é o resultado dessa fusão, ora climática, ora mais hard. Heavens Café é o registro da turnée do disco homônimo. O show foi em Las Vegas e a banda mostra bastante entrosamento. Atenção aos vocais femininos nesta Rock Opera experimental do novo milênio, que é discografia básica. A Passage to Clear mantém o nível dos discos anteriores, com uma levada ora neo-prog, ora hard psicodélico. Alguns cuidados na gravação poderiam ser mais observados, mas como em outros discos, nada que influencie o resultado final destes trabalhos.

    Fiquem atentos!

     

    Expose, USA

    Mantra Sunrise — Mantra Sunrise
    (Tributary 222502-1, 1993/2000, CD)

    by Cesar Montesano, Published 2006-05-01

     

    Another brainchild from John Miner of Art Rock Circus. The bulk of the sound ekes in time with the style of 80s album-oriented rock and a leaning towards tuneful new wave vocalization. Overall, this band can also be fairly well tagged as a melodic pop progressive affair. Exhibiting a bit of twang in a spot, akin to Timbuk 3, we see an extension of intermingled possibilities with stadium rockers like the Allman Brothers and maybe even ZZ Top. That is not the norm and only lasts a few minutes. Halfway through, we have another anomalous section, in comparison to the whole, marking a stake in the namesake and taking us through a mantric excursion. Spiced with latter-day Dead Can Dance moments, we are led into the album's twenty-minute opus. Echo and the Bunnymen antics crop up in a few places of thematic development. The guitars are heavier here than with his other concurrent outfit and exhibit a bit of reverb. Supportive drumming is accompanied by growling bass lines. This methodology is punctuated with interludes of pastoral early 70s folk singer-songwriter styled instrumental acoustic guitar strumming.

    GEPR USA

    Mantra Sunrise is guitarrist John Miner's band before he put together the Art Rock Circus to perform Heaven's Café. Together with Joel Bissing, vocalist and lyricist, John has created an album of dark, moody music, almost gothic in nature. It drips with reverb in every song, but ultimately probably has more in common with The Doors than any symphonic Prog album I might name. The studio technique and lack of synths make this sound like a re-release of a "classic rock" album from the late '60's, though Miner's alternate guitar tunings give some of the songs an odd texture not heard there. The solo electric and acoustic guitar pieces by John Miner, "Brudnell", "Your Heart Acousic" (is that supposed to be "Acoustic"?) and "Mantra Sunset" are the high points, though some of Bissing's vocals are also interesting in a moody sort of way.

    Miner and Bissing haven't worked together in awhile, because Bissing has been off to the Seattle Art Institute to study music. He has written another album's worth of material and intends to record it with Miner as Mantra Sunrise again soon. He feels it will have a "Brit-Pop" feel, but Miner says that "it probably won't any more once I get through with it". -- Fred Trafton

  • INTERVIEW

    TRACK BY TRACK BREAKDOWN

    FROM THE JOURNAL OF JOHN MINER

    Wayne and I had been in various bands over the years....nothing
    too exciting Just various jam bands ect...I had taken off for several
    years and done quite a bit of traveling mostly Canada and Australia.
    I was writing mountains of material, poetry, various riffs and short
    stories...as well as a daily journal. Upon returning home Wayne
    and I played together and we tried out some of the music, just guitar
    and drums and occasionally a bass riff. I think Wayne was
    excited and could feel something happening..things were fresh
    and felt genuinely inspired...not just ...ok lets do this heavy riff thing
    or something...but there was a certain electricity happening.
    After a short time we both knew that a band would be the next step
    and we both agreed to the idea of a power trio..
    My guitar style was finally taking shape after years of searching
    for a definitive approach based mostly on various unorthodox tunings
    and such...I felt I would be able to hold the music together without a rhythm
    Guitarist or keyboardist when I stumbled across an old analog tape delay
    unit (Roland Space Echo)...The Roland gave such a rich tone even
    without using delays that it really just started to take over and find
    it's own life...I still use it to this day and prefer it over the colder,
    and to me, more lifeless digital effects that so many guitarist use today..

    Wayne found Joel at the Java Cafe' in Fresno California about six
    months later where Joel had been working. He had recently been
    transplanted from San Antonio Texas and Wayne played him some
    rough boom box recordings of what we had been working on. Joel,
    we found out, had been writing in quite a different style and had material
    that was much more polished and defined than what we had...I felt
    Joel was maybe more of a studio creature and I'm not sure
    what he thought of us.
     

    Anyway...we got together and jammed and it was just magical
    ...I don't really know how to describe it...I mean you hear that all
    the time but I really think this was something very special...You can
    feel it on the record. Again Wayne came through for us and found
    us a rehearsal space in the back of a farm house..at Beverly's...
    Beverly Robertson that would be...It was a small one room
    guest house in need of much repair where goats used to live...
    ..In fact as we would head down the dirt road to the space,
    Beverly's goat... "Homer" would often block the road and we would
    have to slowly nudge him out of the way with the bumper of
    the car to get him to move...we called him "Homer the Gate Keeper".
    So we would just be down there all the time nearly every day...recording,
    playing, sitting on the roof writing and trying to make this
    record...I don't think we really knew what it was going to sound
    like when it was done but we were all very excited and just kept
    on it with a tremendous amount of motivation. That's really how it
    got started.br>
     

    WHY

    "Why" was Joel's song, lyrics and music, and I'll get him here to talk
    about it when I can... As far as the recording goes...after I read the
    lyrics, I felt the guitar needed some extra body and I was really
    shooting for a big reverberated open sound to go with the slow
    building epic feel. It was one of the last songs we did which was
    obviously in contrast to it being the first song on the album!
    The first takes I recorded off a scratch track in a friends metal
    trailer out in the country...I used a Marshall half stack, very old
    vintage 60's and just blasted it with my electric 12 string on the
    top of my white double neck Ibanez.
    Once I had a stereo take I then played it back through
    speakers inside a racquetball court and then re-miked it
    again...I took the four tracks...blended them all together into a
    stereo mix wa-la...it worked well...I used this technique quite a lot
    on the album..not this exact approach but similar.. I really wanted
    every song to have a unique guitar sound and be recorded in it's
    own unique way...and I believe to this day it makes a real difference.
     

    TIME OF YEAR

    TIME OF YEAR centered around a poem I had written and without
    getting too detailed about the lyrics it basically represented the
    searching and struggle to find truth in the context of our ever
    changing world and it's seemingly endless frustrations and dilemmas.
    I think most of it was written while sitting bored to death in some
    awful political science class at the university I attended. Musically
    I had the idea to put the guitar slightly out of tune in the very beginning
    to represent the sort of "out of tuneness" we all often feel at various
    times in our lives. Things then sharpen up as we descend into
    life.... build into a frenzy and often leave us just where we
    started...wondering and questioning...
    Joel had a particularly difficult time with the vocals until he
    went to the mountains...recorder in hand, and had a talk with
    the sunshine. After he returned you get to hear what happened
    and if your like me....I think its quite interesting.
     

    BRUDENELL

    Brudenell is named after the place it was written at...a small area
    on the island of Prince Edward or as most would call it PEI. A very
    light and happy tune played in an open tuning. It's always one of
    my favorites any time I'm doing a solo gig or just playing around a
    campfire with friends. I think it fits nicely on the album like a quick
    breath of fresh air between Time of Year and Dying Day.
     

    DYING DAY

    This piece was really a blending of a poem and a musical line
    I'd been working on for some time. I know it's Joel's favorite on the
    record. the lyric is pretty self explanatory for sure. We really tried
    to capture a specific feeling with the music. We were probably half
    way into the album and Wayne was going through a difficult time and
    I think he felt a lot of pressure and anxiety about how the album was
    being recorded. Joel and I were very excited and motivated and
    Wayne just took a break for awhile and we brought in our friend
    Gary Newmark to help us along...This was the 1rst song we did
    with him...the others "Why" and the huge "Land of Sprinagar". We
    decided to go for a big ethereal sound to enhance the lyric and
    Gary was instrumental in giving it a more interesting rhythmic
    backbone than what Joel and I had intended. Rather than put in
    some big predictable guitar solo we brought in Ann Jorgenson
    from the local symphony to further the development with her flute
    and that really gave the piece a kind of mystical aura... that I'm
    not sure I would have been able to capture with just the guitar.
    I used a stereo guitar track panned dead open in the mix and Joel
    spent quite a while playing with his bass tone getting a smooth yet
    crunchy sound to me felt like walking on jagged rocks when your
    at the ocean...calming yet still careful.
     

    SLEEPING WHALES

    My great friend and traveling partner Vic, were high in the Canadian
    Rockies, not far from Radium and you could see the glaciers melting
    into the streams and I just felt this feeling of unbelievable perfection
    and beauty.. the streams turn into bigger ones...eventually
    rivers....across great vast plains then finally to the ocean giving
    life to all the seas wonders. Yet with the ever encroaching danger
    of modern life we must protect such pristine elements and be careful
    with what we have recently created in the industrial age..Musically
    very simple... just simple A and C cords gently swaying back and
    forth through the Space Echo... and rather than giving
    acknowledgment to any negativity lyrically...I just played a few
    dark cords in the middle of the song to represent that musically...Joel's
    peaceful and soothing voice bring the lyric to life and I think one
    of the simplest yet most impressionable songs I've ever done to this day.
     

    NORTHERN LIGHT

    We arrived into Southern Alberta Canada and on the first day
    Vic and I met a young girl from New Zealand who was also just
    traveling around with a backpack and living that gypsy bohemian
    life. We spent a day in Glacier National Park which is shared
    by the U.S. and Canada. In this true story they fell in love, ended
    up married and this song really came out of that experience....On the
    long drives in the weeks ahead, we worked out the lyrics and
    music to what would later become this song. It's really about that
    new and fresh feeling of being in love and the feeling of what to
    do when they live on the other side of the planet! When I put the
    song on the table for Mantra Sunrise to record... it became a difficult
    task for us to produce...Wayne spent weeks working on a drum
    sound that would compliment the light and airy acoustic guitar
    sound I was aiming at. I think Joel did a wonderful job with the
    bass, accenting Wayne's kick drum in the right pocket... It was
    certainly the most challenging song for Joel vocally on the
    record. We probably did more takes at it than the whole record
    combined! I think the end result worked nicely but not without struggle.
    I think the song called for a tight clean sound and we just had to work
    on it a lot to get it there. The end of the song is really just row, row,
    row, your boat gently down the stream....happily, happily, life
    is but a dream!
     

    YOUR HEART ACOUSTIC

    This little guitar piece is just the next song played acoustically
    in a finger picking style...same chords and arrangement..yet so
    completely different. I thought it would be nice to also have it presented
    in this way. I used a similar recording style as Mantra Sunset...a few
    less mics. I think I recorded about 5 versions and just took the best
    one...this being it!
     

    YOUR HEART

    In complete contrast to Northern Light Joel's one take vocal run
    was all it took here...Your Heart is just not the kind of song you
    can over think...We later messed around with different approaches
    but nothing came out with as much emotion as the first time.
    This painful song is surely not about being too perfect! Wayne
    actually gave birth to this tune with some drum tracks he handed
    me. I had fiddled around with this somewhat bizarre 18 chord
    progression in a strange tuning over the top of his drums...very
    haphazardly and without much thought or design...I wrote lyrics
    to match the dark tone of the song based upon a recent experience
    of mine and it just started from there. Joel then twisted the vocal
    melody from there and it just really got out there...A real group
    effort! The guitar was recorded at the Goat House and I really
    wanted to max things out sonically so I ran a chord outside
    and played in the sun while the Marshall amp I had shook the
    structure inside...we used tons of mics and had another amp
    I think an old Sunn stuffed in a closet upside down. It was a
    very fun song to record and really went down pretty easy. I'd
    call this the most experimental piece on the album short of
    Sprinagar. Live we would often extend the intro for several
    minutes while I was changing or retuning guitars....I remember
    one night losing all sound from my guitar and Joel and Wayne
    just played the whole thing without me...I don't think anyone noticed!
     

    CASINO

    I'll get him here to talk about this one (Joel)...he wrote and played
    it himself other than a bit of backup vocal..Very visual song and
    I think the most sensual piece on the record.
     

    LAND OF SPRINAGAR

    I had been wanting to do a large scale piece for quite some time
    and the aspiration for that came on the ferry ride from Vancouver
    to Victoria, I love that place! I had been reading Paramahansa
    Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi and oddly enough I was
    sitting next to an East Indian man on the ride over. He didn't speak
    English very well and seemed to say Sprinagar...with a very
    pronounced "P" in it...I thought that a bit unusual so when it
    came time to name the mammoth piece it only seemed appropriate!
    Upon arriving I meditated for an hour or so and then picked up
    my guitar and wrote the whole rough draft for the song in about 3
    hours! I wish that would happen more often! I was so excited
    and inspired I could hardly sleep for days. The song was recorded
    in five sections and literally took six months to record... It nearly
    broke the band up and Wayne actually quit half way through it.
    Both Wayne and Gary's playing is on the song. I spent a week
    writing the two guitar solos and a month figuring out and recording
    the ethereal key thing in the middle. The song was just a monster
    to mix and left me totally drained emotionally when it was done.
    You have to love this song...you have no choice!
    The song is about the passing of wisdom from generation to
    generation...and the constant seeking of truth in the three
    worlds...the physical represented in the drum solo. The intellectual,
    guitar solo. The Spiritual, keys. This song was a real labor of love...
     

    MANTRA SUNSET

    Ending the album with Sprinagar seemed a bit too obvious so
    I thought it would be nice to wind things down a bit and put this
    little solo acoustic piece on the end. I wrote it in Sedona Arizona
    during my travels and it really came quite quickly. I had hiked
    up top of House Rock bluff with my guitar over my shoulder
    and just played up there till the sun went down...... later finding
    a few passing chords and the piece was done. Recording it
    I used a Yamaha acoustic electric and using several mics and
    one direct line..another bussed through a tape delay unit and it's
    got a soothing warm tone. It was actually Joel's idea to name
    the band Mantra Sunrise after this song..so we changed it from
    sunset to sunrise!