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John Miner biography
John Miner is prolific American composer and guitarist. He started his musical path in the nineties, often changing names to his projects and collaborating with many world renowned progressive rock musicians.

He co-founded his first art rock band, MANTRA SUNRISE in 1992. Band members were singer-bassist Joel Bissing and drummer Wayne Garabedian. Their self-titled debut was released in 1994.

Shortly after, Miner is founding his ART ROCK CIRCUS with Nolan Stolz on drums, Kelton Manning on bass and Milo on keyboards and Moog synthesizer. They released "Lost My Way" in 1995 which did not gaine a big succes. However, his next effort (this time under a banner of him as a solo artist), labelled "Heavens Cafe'" had a significant succes. "Heavens Cafe'" is a 1996 rock opera, first saged in Las Vegas (Flamingo Theater). It's story about a character who meets his prevoius self, his current incarnation and his future potential sekf at an afterlife coffee house. The opera itself was described as a prog rock version of "A Christmas Carol" meets "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" - the aspects of Miner's dabbling in metaphysics were present in his previous project MANTRA SUNRISE.

With his ART ROCK CIRCUS project re-gathered, he recorded "Heavens Cafe' Live" in 1998, a disc with self-explanatory title. "A Passage to Clear" from 2001 (another ART ROCK album) is also conceptual album as his previous efforts. It featured vocalists Karyn Anderson and Karen Marquart. However, the album was not as well received as the aforementioned rock opera.

Miner rebuilt ART ROCK CIRCUS with drummer and composer Nolan Stolz around 2005, and in the meantime, he joined a prog rock supergroup K2 with a famous names such are Allan Holdsworth and Ryo Okumoto. K2 released their only album called "Book Of The Dead" in 2005. (see ProgArchives entry for K2)

In the same year, ART ROCK CIRCUS relased a double album, titled "Tell A Vision".

John Miner's ART ROCK CIRCUS is still active today, continuing to record and perfrom.

Miner's musical style often comprises odd-time signatures, alternate guitar tunings and absence of repeating choruses, while drums and bass are more in a role of melody rather than a standard rock rhythm. On a sidenote, he prefers analog recording techniques over digital ones. His eclectic, prolific and often passionate style is highly recommended to every fan of progressive rock music.


- Mantra Sunrise ...
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JOHN MINER discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

JOHN MINER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.00 | 1 ratings
Mantra Sunrise [with Mantra Sunrise]
0.00 | 0 ratings
Lost My Way [as Art Rock Circus]
1.00 | 1 ratings
Heavens Cafe'
1.00 | 1 ratings
A Passage To Clear [as Art Rock Circus]
4.00 | 1 ratings
Tell A Vision [as Art Rock Circus]
3.15 | 5 ratings
Variations On A Dream (as Art Rock Circus)

JOHN MINER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.00 | 1 ratings
Heavens Cafe' Live [as Art Rock Circus]

JOHN MINER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

JOHN MINER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

JOHN MINER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Variations On A Dream (as Art Rock Circus) by MINER, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.15 | 5 ratings

Variations On A Dream (as Art Rock Circus)
John Miner Eclectic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars US band ART ROCK CIRCUS has been a going concern for more than 20 years at this point on time, with guitarist Miner and bassist Manning the sole members that have been with the band since the beginning. Five albums have been released under this moniker in those years, and "Variations on a Dream" is the most recent of these. This production was released in 2013 through the indie label Tributary Music.

While the music of Art Rock Circus as presented on this album is a somewhat chaotic, but ultimately enjoyable take on retro-oriented instrumental progressive rock, the recording quality of this material will most likely narrow down the potential audience of this album. Those who enjoy the giants of the '70s, and perhaps bands like ELP first and foremost, are a likely key audience, as long as they are able to appreciate material also when recorded, mixed and produced in less than ideal quality, with words such as lo-fi and demo quality defining the greater majority of the material in that specific context.

 Variations On A Dream (as Art Rock Circus) by MINER, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.15 | 5 ratings

Variations On A Dream (as Art Rock Circus)
John Miner Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars I am as much a fan of strange time signatures and music moving in strange directions as the next proghead, but with this album it seems that I am somewhat missing the point. This just doesn't feel like a full-blown release to me, as if there isn't something not fully formed. Part of that has to be down to the production, the quality of which seems to vary greatly throughout the album, as well as the music itself. There are passages, and indeed songs, where this is truly striking. There is a great deal going on, and it all makes musical sense. Who needs vocals when the music is as complex and dynamic as this? But, there are other times when it just doesn't seem to gel, and to my ears 'Variation 7' would have sounded even better without the bass, as the drums and vibraphone do enough to more than carry it through.

Overall, it is an album that to me contains a lot of promise, with Zappa and ELP being just two of the many influences on display, and the use of disharmony and repeated melodic structures are mostly well done, but overall this is an album that I just couldn't warm to. It isn't right to give this a 2, but also it doesn't really justify a 3, 2.5 would be the right measure in this instance.

 Variations On A Dream (as Art Rock Circus) by MINER, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.15 | 5 ratings

Variations On A Dream (as Art Rock Circus)
John Miner Eclectic Prog

Review by Surrealist

4 stars Art Rock Circus returns with a follow up to their critically acclaimed "Tell a Vision" (Tributary Music Label 2005) The new CD "Variations on a Dream" is a throwback to classic 70's golden age progressive rock that focuses more on a blending of organic stylings and classic instrumentation. What differs here from previous Art Rock Circus releases is the absence of strong vocals and conceptual lyrical ideals that have been a staple in their previous work. This is an instrumental record. The bands first. It brought to mind Camel's "The Snow Goose" which took the band in a different direction.

While one might wonder why the band embarked on such an undertaking, it is likely the influence of keyboardist extraordinaire Milo Keysington. His work on "Tell a Vision" was stunted in comparison to his contributions here. While Art Rock Circus ringleader John Miner is usually driving the band forward, he clearly loosened the reigns by giving Milo free reign to explore his keyboard talents and wizardry as well as his compositional skills. Earlier works by Miner such has his wonderful rock opera "Heavens Cafe" and his work with Mantra Sunrise were guitar driven progressive music steeped in psychedelia. However this release sees Miner opening up the ivories to a master of equal talents.

As with other Art Rock Circus albums, the rhythm section shines in it's display of melodic odd metering drum and bass parts that are clearly rooted in 70's prog. Ken Jaquess of K2 and Kelton Manning share bass duties. The drumming by Stolz and Adams is creative and always playing into the melody which is not always heard nowadays.

As a whole, the album feels powerful and fully engaging. While the production lacks the sheen of a highly polished release, to me it felt naturally charming and authentic, but I do tend to like these kind of recordings. This is a band that is maturing like a nice bottle of red. I have to wonder where the band is going next and look forward to hearing more in the future.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves vintage or classic progressive rock. It's a refreshing release to my ears. I would also recommend their previous work "Tell a Vision" equally.

Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing 1. Planet X (7:00) 2. Variation 7 (2:09) 3. Crystal (5:33) 4. South of France (4:07) 5. String Theory #8 (2:07) 6. Junk Male (3:57) 7. Gothic Sun (8:15) 8. Sains (2:15) 9. SOS (3:03) 10. Russian Spy (6:52) 11. Planet X Revisit (5:00)

Line-up / Musicians - John Miner / guitars - Kelton Manning / bass - Ken Jaquess / bass - Dr Nolan Stolz / drums - Sage Adams / drums - Milo / keyboards

 Variations On A Dream (as Art Rock Circus) by MINER, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.15 | 5 ratings

Variations On A Dream (as Art Rock Circus)
John Miner Eclectic Prog

Review by JohnNicholson

3 stars You can slightly say that throughout the music history there were/are albums lacking on the production, albums that weep for better production. Art Rock Circus' fourth studio release is one of these albums.

Released this year on Tributary Music label, Variations on a Dream is the band's first fully instrumental album comprised of 11 tracks. The band's mastermind and guitarist John Miner explained in a press release that during the creating process he didn't feel that the recorded needed lyrics and vocals, what means that the guys focused on instrumentation and putting all their efforts on creating a dynamic progressive rock release that keeps attention of a listener. For those who don't know, John Miner played guitar on K2's (featuring Allan Holdsworth) debut album Book of the Dead (2005), and co-founded Mantra Sunrise in 1992.

Though Variations on a Dream can be tagged as progressive album, there is plenty of various influences threading through the music, coming from experimental to noise to even ambient. The opening Planet X puts the focus on Miner's soloing and nice flutework. Next two numbers Variation 7 and Crystal are mostly psychedelic-ambient driven, but with South of France melody returns making this piece as one of the album's centerpieces. It's a laid-back tune comprised of melodic lines that employ saxophone, flute, guitar and synth, with rhythm section giving necessary depth.

String Theory #8 is a shortest instrumental on the album, kicking in with interesting organ-led interplay. Junk Male with its bluesy vibe brings forth Hendrix-sytled guitar work crossed with saxophone-constructed soundwalls. On the other side, the longest track and another centerpiece Gothic Sun is a slow-paced organ led song on the album that builds around mentioned organ sounds. Saints comes next and it's the only acoustic track that is there to fill the space. The closing three tracks SOS, Russian Spy and Planet X Revisit lack on steadiness, what's pretty much the weakest spot of Variations on a Dream, besides production.

Overall, the songwriting on Variations on a Dream doesn't seem to be focused, the music often comes from one segment to another without a good connection.

Thanks to clarke2001 for the artist addition.

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