The Bones of Giants and The Bodhi Mantra

The concept of light has boggled the minds of humans for thousands of years. We have tried to describe it, bend it, twist it, tube it, generate it, and some humans are continually trying to find ways to travel as fast as it does. Light is a symbol of life and well being, without vision it could be assumed that nothing exists. Hearing also offers proof, or perhaps just enough vague evidence to allow us to explore invisible worlds. The idea of going to new places, experiencing a new culture, and embarking on unique journeys is a beautiful part of being alive.

Howard Givens and Craig Padilla for many years have been operating at the confluence of technology and hearing, the integration of compassion and energy, and the purification of body, mind and wisdom using electronic music.

The Bodhi Mantra is their latest collaboration, previous titles include Being Of Light, Life Flows Water, and Spirit Holy Rising. In addition to his own work with many other artists, Givens has been involved as the Producer as well as Mixing and Recording Engineer, mastering the release of such Padilla titles as The Heart of the Soul, Below the Mountain, The Light of the Shadow, Genesis, and Vostok.

As we listen to these celestial sounds, we may be tempted to imagine pieces of evidence that there were giants on Earth a long, long time ago. Where did they come from and what practical importance is there now of them today? Music offers illusion as well as confidence. Mantras come in many forms, a reminder that yoga is a contemporary science, vitally relevant to our times. An arresting blend of profundity and pragmatism, some of our best evidence exists because someone long ago used their time to carve mantras into rocks as a form of meditation. Mantras are a religious thought, prayer, a sacred utterance, but are also sometimes believed to be a spell or tool of supernatural power. If there is one consistency in life, then it is the one of change. The recording studio has brought this passtime into heretofore unimaginable places.

Listeners to music do it to satisfy their love of mystery, and to make themselves comfortable, music creates a pleasing experience, and affects our health positively. I have learned from my many years of exploring the audio arts that it is too easy to proclaim that “This is the greatest thing I have ever heard in my life!” The words become meaningless the second time they are invoked, and further such exclamations of epiphematic miracles tend to lessen the intended effect. But heck, there is a whole lot of great music out there! What best makes this message real every time? Perhaps metaphor is an answer.

Water is an important source of life on Earth and about 71 percent of the surface of the Earth is water. A river can be portrayed by many as an everlasting symbol of perpetual and continual change and of the constancy of time and of life itself.

For many years people have wanted to find the gold in the river, or perhaps they seek a way of turning all kinds of substances into gold and thus become rich without much effort simply by picking up the nuggets. Here they are, the secrets of alchemy, and that begets the question of what is gold and what is illusion. Gold might be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness, and the only way to demonstrate that one is truly finding gold is to produce miraculous and supernatural fruit, to demonstrate an ability to be filled with the Holy Spirit. What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? I know only that I cannot define the ecstatic experience. No one can, but still we love to try anyway. Being filled with the Spirit results in an abundant and overflowing life. That might be all the proof needed.

Let us receive immeasurable auspiciousness, brilliance, magnificence, and ease, let us use our imaginations to explore possibilities of time travel and the concept of creation of bodies periodically through time. The individual experience of time and how each listener experiences time is very different. There are multiple perspectives of time that one must consider when questioning time travel. Behold the sound engineer, she or he investigates hoaxes, legends, obscure accounts, and academic excavations of giant bones, skulls and skeletons found globally going back thousands of years.

Now think about the future and what might be found here.

I had the opportunity to talk about giant’s bones with Givens and Padilla, but we never used those specific words. We used email and were in different times and places, yet here is our short conversation for you to view right now.

ROBIN JAMES What is the story of your work together and creating your newest album?

CRAIG PADILLA Howard and I continue to grow as a musical duo every time we create music, both solo and as a duo. This new album evolved from our personal journey of music, which is based on our appreciation of the way we have been experiencing the perception of consciousness. This is The Bodhi Mantra. Bodhi is a Sanskrit name translated as “enlightenment” or “awakening” which relates to a Buddhist concept, wherein Bodhi is synonymous with the state of nirvana, being freed from hate, greed and ego. We represented this idea in the music by making it sound warm and peaceful; hypnotic and uplifting.

HOWARD GIVENS The work that Craig and I have been collectively exploring, thematically parallels an abstract journey within a sound/music experience… texture, expanse, mood, contemplation, movement, energy, etc., and the self-awareness, realization, and observation of a more expansive appreciation of our existence, usually expressed the abstract experience one has through meditation and yoga.

RJ What is your task as a composer?

CP My task as a composer is to make a musical story that I would want to hear and feel, and have that energy pass along to the listener.

HG There’s a powerful experience that comes from the synergy of working together especially when those moments of an unspoken, mutual tapping into a stream-of-consciousness flow happens. That’s when the magic really happens, at least from my perspective. I believe that this whole “conversation” of music is complete when the listener then becomes involved, creating their own vision, their own experience with the music. So ultimately it’s the goal of my work, with audio, composition, visual art, etc. and the goal of Spotted Peccary Music, to create and present as transparent an expression the art forms as possible, hopefully inviting a deepening space for the listener to participate in.

RJ The Bodhi Mantra is music to meditate to, what is listening?

HG So the music isn’t really a soundtrack for doing meditation or yoga, but rather an artistic expression OF the process of meditation or yoga. Because we are delving into the sense behind the music, we are trying to create a suggestion of the feeling of these practices. The title of our newest release therefore relates to the inspiration for the music, for the experience.

CP “Listening” is both a proactive and a subconscious act of being in tune with sonic vibrations emanating around and within us.

HG The sounds we choose, whether electronic or acoustic in nature, has more to do with the space created by their use, and how we resonate with the sonic experience in the moment of creation much like sound and ceremony have helped shift people’s state of awareness throughout human history.

RJ What is music?

HG For us, the abstract language of music allows us to communicate the nature of our life experience without relying entirely on the use of adjectives to try to define such a subtle sense that often times can’t be adequately described with words (outside of poetry) or pictures, much like how a photograph does not convey the feeling of being present in a particular place.

CP Music is the language of the Universe. It can be created with nature, and with man-made instruments. It can speak to the soul. It can tell a story. And all music is a part of history that gets preserved once it’s recorded. Music is vibrations of frequencies which stimulate the senses in all living things.

RJ When did you first come upon Spotted Peccary Music? What attracted you?

CP When I created Vostok in 2001, I had no intention of releasing it because I was making upbeat music at the time. However, I had sent a copy of it to a music reviewer who really enjoyed it, and he suggested that I send it to Spotted Peccary Music. I was not familiar with the label at the time, but I thought I’d reach out to them. Once they heard Vostok, they were interested in releasing it, as well as future albums. I was also attracted by the positive and creative energy from Howard Givens and Deborah Martin, and by the high quality of music that was (and still is) being released on their label. I feel honored to be included on their roster.

HG In the mid-to-late 1970’s, my closest friends and I were always looking for more music to listen to that described the space that related to our philosophical / spiritual explorations that we were all delving into at the time. This led us to recordings by Pink Floyd, Yes, Starcastle, Paul Horn, Wendy Carlos, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schultze, Tomita, and early Kitaro, early Styx, Brian Eno… anything that would suggest the spacier, more textural side of any of this music, and oftentimes very electronic in nature. Later of course, this expanded to include more experimental music, David Sylvian, Steve Roach and music that finally was really defining a genre becoming known as ambient, perhaps more than New Age, which was moving away from textural and into more instrumental and melodic.And as we developed our own sonic expression in the early 1980’s with guitar, flute, effects, and then added synthesizers, we started to cultivate a sound while creating a sort of abstract “soundtrack” that was completely inspired by our experiences in the Sonoran Desert around Tucson, Arizona.
RJ What listening events changed your life as you were developing your ears?

CP I’ve been playing guitar all of my life. The moment I had first heard Jean-Michel Jarre’s Oxygene album in a local planetarium during a high school field trip, I decided that I wanted to make music like that.

RJ Howard, tell us more about Brain Laughter and your work with Spotted Peccary Music.

HG I have been directly or indirectly involved with many of the releases on Spotted Peccary throughout the years, with more of a focus on mastering in the more recent years. As such, I have to squeeze my own projects in between our different releases as well as mastering work for Steve Roach, who I work with “outside” of the Spotted Peccary catalog. So most of the time, sound development continues but compositional time has suffered.

Realizing that a label is stronger in its presentation to the industry and to listeners if it has several artists, we invited other artists who had like-interests to create music for the label.

So from that point on, the label grew and evolved, adding artists and releases, and even changing its principal ownership and staff to what it is today. But the original concept of a label owned and operated by artists on the label is still true and fundamental to the heart of Spotted Peccary Music, as is a dedication to producing the highest quality sound, visual presentation and artistic expression possible.

Drawing on all our spiritual interests as well as including the stories from Carlos Castaneda and his writings of shamanic experiences in the Sonoran Desert, our musical explorations were heavily influenced by all the energy of that powerful region, totally impacting these earliest collaborations that evolved into the “group” effort Brain Laughter and ultimately led to our first full release, In The Land Of Power.

As we learned more of what we would need to do to share our work and vision of this music, we created Spotted Peccary Music as our own label to support our work.

RJ What is next?

HG Lately I have been making a push towards completing some solo works, but I do often prefer the energy around collaboration, like the releases with Craig Padilla and with Madhavi Devi, which interestingly was where I started – with the energy behind the Brain Laughter projects.

RJ What is your advice to artists who are starting as musicians?

CP My advice to artists is “Never give up. Never stop creating.” If you want something bad enough, and you’re really passionate about it, then it’s possible to manifest whatever it is that you are trying to accomplish. It is the Law of Attraction. My other advice is “Listen to constructive criticism.” Criticism can be good and bad. If it’s constructive then there is something that an artist may be able to learn to better their craft.

RJ Thank you both for your time and for the amazing listening experiences you create!

Spotted Peccary Album page:
Album Unboxing Video:
Howard Givens Spotted Peccary Artist Page:
Craig Padilla Spotted Peccary Artist Page:
Howard Givens Artist website:
Craig Padilla Artist website:
David Sylvian:
Steve Roach:
Jean-Michel Jarre’s Oxygene:

Craig Padilla Selected Discography

The Heart of the Galaxy Not On Label (Craig Padilla) 1990
Eye Of The Storm ‎ See Peace Records CP-0000-1 1996
The Soul Within ‎ 27859 1999
Crystal Garden ‎ 22714 1999
Beyond Volume One With Skip Murphy 21752 1999
The Edge Of Eternity 59425 2000
Exploring the Unknown ‎ 34088 2000
Galactic Storm ‎ 40007 2000
Reflections In Mercury With Skip Murphy 10169 2001
Music For The Mind – Live (Volume Two) ‎ 14341 2001
Temporal Suspension With Skip Murphy Space For Music
sfmCP1025 2001
Music For The Mind – Live (Volume One) ‎ 143430 2001
Folding Space And Melting Galaxies ‎ Space For Music CP1028 2002
Vostok ‎ Spotted Peccary SPM-1401 2002
Planetary Elements With Skip Murphy Space For Music
sfmCP1060 2003
Genesis Spotted Peccary 2004
Echo System With Paul Ellis Groove Unlimited
GR-099 2004
Path Of Least Resistance With Zero Ohms
Spotted Peccary Music 2005
Planetary Elements (Volume 2) With Skip Murphy
‎Space For Music sfmCP1079 2005
The Light In The Shadow Spotted Peccary SPM-1403 2006
Phantasma With Skip Murphy Groove Unlimited
GR-137 2006
Analog Destination With Skip Murphy Groove Unlimited
GR-150 2008
Below The Mountain ‎ Spotted Peccary SPM-1404 2008
Beyond The Portal With Zero Ohms + Skip Murphy Lotuspike
LSM 12 2009
When The Earth Is Far Away With Zero Ohms Lotuspike 2012
The Heart Of The Soul Spotted Peccary 2012
Spirit Holy Rising With Howard Givens Spotted Peccary 2015
Life Flows Water With Howard Givens Spotted Peccary 2015
Heaven Condensed Spotted Peccary 2016
Being Of Light With Howard Givens Spotted Peccary 2017
AQUARII Not On Label 2018
Toward The Horizon With Marvin Allen Spotted Peccary 2019
TENDERNESS AVALANCHE The Fellowship of Hallucinatory Voyagers
(With Pete Bingham) Not On Label 2019
The Bodhi Mantra With Howard Givens Spotted Peccary 2020

Howard Givens Selected Discography
As Solo Artist
In the Land of Power • Brain Laughter 1989
Not Far From A Distant Sun • Brain Laughter 1995
As Contributing Artist
The Bodhi Mantra • Craig Padilla
Spirit Holy Rising • Craig Padilla
Life Flows Water • Craig Padilla
Being of Light • Craig Padilla
Beyond City Light • Jon Jenkins
Tibet • Deborah Martin / Cheryl Gallagher
Drum Prayer • Steve Gordon
Convergence • Deborah Martin / Greg Klamt / Mark Rownd
Deep Roots, Hidden Water • Deborah Martin
Flow • Jon Jenkins
Annapurna, The Towering Sky • Mark Hunton
Mohave • Bertrand Nadel
Ancient Power • Steve Gordon / Deborah Martin
Under the Moon • Deborah Martin
Continuum • Jon Jenkins / Paul Lackey
Russian River Serenade • Bruce Fitzsimmons
As Producer, Mixing and Recording Engineer, and/or Mastering
The Heart of the Soul • Craig Padilla
Masterworks • California Guitar Trio
Justin Vanderberg • Synthetic Memories
Brian Futch • And Then There Were Songs
Andromeda • California Guitar Trio
Subliminal Pulse • Bruno Sanfilippo
Agent 22 • Agent 22
Oregon Outback • Cam Newton
Sun Chasing: The Last Exploding Echoes • The Pink Snowflakes
The Crossing • David Helpling / Jon Jenkins
Deep Roots, Hidden Water (2011 Remastered Edition) • Deborah Martin
The Edge of a Fairytale • Between Interval
Below the Mountain • Craig Padilla
Radio Silence • Between Interval
Treasure • David Helpling / Jon Jenkins
Anno Domini • Deborah Martin / J. Arif Verner
Autumn Continent • Between Interval
Waking the Day • Jerry Marotta / Tom Griesgraber
In The Light of The Shadow • Craig Padilla
Beyond City Light • Jon Jenkins
Salvaging the Past • Dean De Benedictis
From A Distant Horizon • J. Arif Verner
Secret Observatory • Between Interval
Genesis • Craig Padilla
Chakra Healing Chants • Sophia
A Whisper in the Thunder • Tom Griesgraber
Tibet • Deborah Martin / Cheryl Gallagher
Very Thought of You • Peter Pupping / Jeff Basile
Vostok • Craig Padilla
Convergence • Deborah Martin / Greg Klamt / Mark Rownd
Of A Stranger Light • John Flomer
Dreams and Shadows • Spotted Peccary Artists
The Storm • Michael Stearns
Through the Timeless • J. Arif Verner
Sleeping on the Edge of the World • David Helpling
Deep Roots, Hidden Water • Deborah Martin
Flow • Jon Jenkins
Night in the Vapor Jungle • John Flomer
Annapurna, The Towering Sky • Mark Hunton
Mohave • Bertrand Nadel
Ancient Power • Steve Gordon / Deborah Martin
Painting Twilight • Mark Rownd
Fluxus Quo • Greg Klamt
When Thunder Sleeps • Spotted Peccary Artists
Between Green and Blue • David Helpling
Mysterious Motions of Memory • John Flomer
A Vision Beyond Light • J. Arif Verner
Gloria • Peter Pupping
Under the Moon • Deborah Martin
Guitarra de Paz • Peter Pupping
Continuum • Jon Jenkins / Paul Lackey
Tracks in Time • Spotted Peccary Artists
Fulcrum • Greg Klamt
Russian River Serenade • Bruce Fitzsimmons

As Producer, Mixing and Recording Engineer, and/or Mastering
(From Discogs – Extended Yet Incomplete)
Tracy Bonham – Modern Burdens
Steve Roach – Bloodmoon Rising (Complete 5-hour Collection)
Mark Seelig – The Disciple’s Path
Steve Roach & Serena Gabriel – Nectar Meditation
Steve Roach – Atmosphere For Dreaming
Between Interval – Radio Silence
Sverre Knut Johansen With Robert Rich – Precambrian
black tape for a blue girl – Blood On The Snow
black tape for a blue girl – These Fleeting Moments
DJ Yoda – FabricLive.39
Various – Axis Of Justice: Concert Series – Volume 1
Various – Tracks In Time
Vancouver Chamber Choir, Jon Washburn – Rise! Shine! The Music Of Jon Washburn
Skip James – Skip’s Piano Blues
Kelly David – Meditation In Green
Stonewall Jackson – Waterloo
Steve Roach – To The Threshold Of Silence (Remastered 2020)
Various – Vocal Groups – Classic Doo-Wop Remastered
Steve Roach – Slow Heat
Michael Stearns – The Storm
Chronotope Project – Lotus Rising
Deborah Martin – Eye Of The Wizard
Steve Roach – The Sky Opens
Tommy Bolin – The Ultimate…
black tape for a blue girl – Ashes In The Brittle Air = Aska I Den Sköra Loften
Sonny Stitt – When Sonny Blows Blue
Steve Roach – Structures From Silence
Steve Roach – Quiet Music 1
Steve Roach – Quiet Music 2
Steve Roach – Quiet Music 3
Hollan Holmes – Milestones
Howard Givens & Craig Padilla – Being of Light
Mark Rownd – Painting Twilight
Steve Roach – Structures From Silence
Healey Willan, Bryn Nixon, Vancouver Chamber Choir, Jon Washburn – An Apostrophe To The Heavenly Hosts (Anthems, Motets, Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis, Tenebrae Responsaries
Various – Great Country Stars Great Country Favorites
Rangers – 21x Rangers
Steve Roach – Emotions Revealed
Sprung Monkey – Situation Life
David Helpling – ᛚ
Voltaire – The Devil’s Bris
Various – Burbank
Craig Padilla – Heaven Condensed
Steve Roach – Bloom Ascension
Rudy Adrian – Woodlands
Ancient Cultures Featuring The Vancouver Chamber Choir* – The Miracle Of Christmas / Milagros De Navidad – A South American Christmas Celebration
Steve Roach – Long Thoughts
Steve Roach – Trance Archeology
Between Interval – Legacy
Deborah Martin ~ Erik Wøllo – Between Worlds
Steve Roach – Skeleton Keys (Expanded)
Tom Griesgraber – A Whisper In The Thunder
Various – Northeast Regional Oldtime Fiddle Contest & Festival 1970, Oldtime Fiddling, Volume 4, 1970
Steve Roach – Skeleton-Spiral Passage (Extended Version, Live In Tucson)
Northeast Regional Oldtime Fiddle Contest And Festival – 1971* – Old Time Fiddling Volume 5
Radiant Mind | Steve Roach – Heliosphere
Freddie Hubbard – Red Clay
Steve Roach – Bloom Ascension
Steve Roach – Nostalgia For The Future
Steve Roach – Bloodmoon Rising
California Guitar Trio – Andromeda
Erik Wøllo – Traces • Images Of Light • Solstice (Special Remastered Editions – Three Disc Set)
Erik Wøllo – Images Of Light
Dean De Benedictis – Salvaging The Past
Various – I Hear Music In The Air—A Treasury Of Sacred Music
Various – L’Anthologie Des InRocks – 25 Ans De Musique
Steve Roach – This Place To Be
Between Interval – Legacy
Steve Roach – Live In Tucson (Pinnacle Moments)
Steve Roach – Alive In The Vortex
Steve Roach – Vortex Immersion Zone
Radiant Mind | Steve Roach – HelioSphere
Steve Roach – Mercurius
Steve Roach – Electron Birth
Steve Roach – Return To The Dreamtime
Steve Roach – Dreamtime Return
Various – The History Of Hip Hop
Steve Roach – Shadow Of Time
Steve Roach – Fade To Gray
Brain Laughter II* – Not Far From A Distant Sun
Numina – The Chroma Plateau
Massergy – Fire Opal
Steve Roach – Molecules Of Motion
Agent 22 – Agent 22
Madhavi Devi – The Truth Of Being
Howard Givens & Madhavi Devi – Source Of Compassion
Jon Jenkins – Flow
Allen Eager – Swingin’ With Allen Eager
Rangers – 21x Rangers
Black Tape For A Blue Girl – To Touch The Milky Way
Steve Roach – Molecules Of Motion
Brain Laughter II* – Not Far From A Distant Sun
Steve Roach – Slow Heat
As Lonely As Dave Bowman – Monolith
Steve Roach And Robert Logan – Second Nature
Steve Roach – Jorge Reyes – The Ancestor Circle
Various – The RCA Records Label: The 1st Note In Black Music
Robert Logan – Sculptor Galaxy
California Guitar Trio – Masterworks
Mystified – Morning City
Byron Metcalf – Steve Roach – Rob Thomas* – Monuments Of Ecstasy
Various – Ultimate Revenge 2
David Helpling – Sleeping On The Edge Of The World
Rudy Adrian – Coastlines
Various – 31 – Free Ambient Electronic Sampler
J. Arif Verner – From A Distant Horizon
Various – Ultimate Revenge 2
Jeffrey Koepper – MantraSequent
Steve Roach / Robert Logan – Biosonic
Steve Roach And Robert Logan – Second Nature
Emmalyn Moreno – Sister Moon (Songs Of Prayers & Chants)
Ray Price – All Time Greatest Hits
Deborah Martin – Under The Moon
Brain Laughter – In The Land Of Power
Martin* / Klamt* / Rownd* – Convergence
Craig Padilla – Below The Mountain
California Guitar Trio – Masterworks
David Helpling • Jon Jenkins – The Crossing
Csillagköd – Silent World
Deborah Martin – Under The Moon
WCKR SPGT & Friends* – Pure Heaven
Helpling* • Jenkins* – Found
The Howard Hanger Trio – Thru A Glass Darkly
Deborah Martin – Deep Roots, Hidden Water
DeeperNET – One
David Helpling – Between Green And Blue
DeeperNET – The Network
Steve Roach – The Passing
Steve Roach – Fade To Gray
Bertrand Nadel – Mohave
David Helpling – Sleeping On The Edge Of The World
Craig Padilla – The Light In The Shadow
Skelator – Death To All Nations
Steve Roach – Shadow Of Time
Various – When Thunder Sleeps
Chronotope Project – Passages
Justin Vanderberg – Synthetic Memories
J. Arif Verner – Through The Timeless
Csillagköd – All The Time
Various – Dreams & Shadows
John Flomer’s Primal Cinema – Mysterious Motions Of Memory
Greg Klamt – Fluxus Quo
Greg Klamt – Fulcrum
Various – 29 – Free Ambient Electronic Sampler
Steve Roach – Skeleton – Spiral Passage – Extended Version – Live In Tucson
Steve Roach – Live In Tucson: Pinnacle Moments
Howard Givens & Craig Padilla – Spirit Holy Rising
Steve Roach – Alive In The Vortex
Dick Curless – Stonin’ Around
Chronotope Project – Dawn Treader
Jurassic 5 – Jurassic 5 EP
Tom Griesgraber & Bert Lams – Unnamed Lands
Fabio Mittino & Bert Lams – Long Ago (Music by Gurdjieff * De Hartmann)
Bruno Sanfilippo – Subliminal Pulse
As Lonely As Dave Bowman – Monolith
Csillagköd – Silent World
Sprung Monkey – Situation Life
Rudy Adrian – Atmospheres
J. Arif Verner – A Vision Beyond Light
Jon Jenkins And Paul Lackey – Continuum
Erik Wøllo – Traces
Erik Wøllo – Solstice