I'd like to comment about the album's structure. Several reviewers thought that it simply didn't have one. This is untrue, and in fact these comments shocked me because I thought the structure- or at least parts of it- had to be pretty obvious.
There are sets of recurring themes and variations throughout the album. Most of these occur in pairs but one occurs three times (played on acoustic 12-string on "Looking For Paradise", "Sanctuary", and "Paradise Is Where You Find It"). To bracket the album, these 3 pieces were placed roughly at the beginning, middle and end. (What follows might be a bit esoteric, but how anyone could have missed catching at least that very basic structure is beyond me.) I then built the album inward from the edges by taking the pairs of related pieces and placing them as equidistant as possible from the middle. Along with the matched pairs were pieces that stood alone; these were put in to provide variety and contrast from the repetition, yet were still (I felt) consistent with the conceptual focus and mood of the album. I placed these in between pieces that were part of sets. It was probably my inclusion of these pieces which caused the confusion, but I stand by my decision to do so, especially considering that some of them were actualy hybrids of elements from other pieces ("The India-Appalachia Railway", for example, is a hybrid of the bowed-device pieces and the dulcimer pieces).
"Alone" starts the album with bowed device; "Looking For Paradise" continues with bowed device and adds choir; and then towards the end, the first section of the 12-string melody that brackets the album. This is intended to be slightly startling when it happens, because what precedes it is very drifting and floaty. It's like the sudden appearance of something through that nebulousness.
"Nad", track 3, is a vocal/choir type piece, which is mirrored 3 tracks in from the end of the album by "Of Brief Stays".
"Sahara 1909" would seem to be a stand-alone, but the insect noises in it recur near the end of the album on "Wednesday 10 PM".
"Congruence Asserts Its Presence" got its name because it actually follows "Sahara" on the master tape, exactly as you hear it on CD, but how that happened was a freak thing. "Congruence" was all recorded on one track, but it was too long and I ended up wiping most of it so that I could record "Sahara". It turns out I must have wiped exactly 7:29. The last sound on "Sahara" was NOT on the same track as "Congruence" (I think it was on 2 and "Congruence" was on 4), and as I usually do to cut down on hiss, I'd stopped recording on the other tracks when I'd finished them. So anything underneath would have shown through. And I certainly hadn't timed either what I'd wiped off the tape or the new recording. Yet somehow I faded out the very last note of "Sahara" so that it coincided exactly with the sudden beginning of "Congruence"! Couldn't have planned it if I tried. So the segueway seems normal enough, but isn't- it was a very extreme sort of coincidence. Perfect for this album!
Track 6, "Madstone", is a dulcimer piece and is mirrored 7 tracks in from the end by "Around The Healing Spring", which expands on the theme by including 7-string guitar (which is heard throughout the album). Both pieces are in 11- measures of 5 and 6- but I switched the order of the measures on "Around The Healing Spring" to be mostly backwards from "Madstone", for further variation. Track 7, "Returns", is live solo guitar that is mirrored 4 tracks in from the end by "What Once Was Is", which is actually a different take of "Returns" that was modified with a number of added sections- the original take now provides the glue between those. "Snallygaster" and "The Deros Discover King Solomon's Mines" are stand-alone pieces. Both were constructed to have a feel and mood that fit in with the rest of the album.
"Sanctuary", track 10, is the closest I could put it to midway on the album. It is a solo version of the same 12-string melody that occurs on "Looking For Paradise" and the last track, "Paradise Is Where You Find It". This is the first full length exposition of the theme.
I put "The India-Appalachia Railway" next because it's a hybrid of elements that occur strongly in both halves of the album- it's the most obvious case of that. The midway point of the CD actually occurs during this piece.
"Was It Childhood" is a stand-alone, and was constructed to fit this creepy childhood nightmare kind of feel that I wanted to make sure got represented as part of the overall concept.
"The Badass Ride" is, to me, the piece that is most strongly incongruent with the rest of the album. Even so, there are similarities to other tracks, particularly to the drum and guitar sounds on "Sahara 1909". Perhaps it's only the sound of the sessions, but I feel it carries through.
"Around The Healing Spring" has been discussed; "Bhoga" is thematically a stand-alone, but was intended to have a kind of blissful, floaty feel something like "Looking For Paradise". Notice the bracketing of the paired pieces by stand-alones.
"The Backroads Of Time" is a stand-alone, and was one of the ideas predating recording that inspired me to do the album. It seemed to work better towards the end of the album than the beginning.
"What Once Was Is" has been discussed, at least as far as its relationship to the album structure. But as for the structure of the piece itself, its sudden shifts from one section to the next were intended to be like the disorienting shift from one world to the next, or like some kind of sudden manifestation. Its original working title was "Intrusions", which I think is still appropriate.
"Of Brief Stays" has been discussed, but there are a few more things to note. The return of the choir sound (not heard since "Nad", near the beginning) signals the album is drawing to a close. More, I chose the position of each piece on the album based on its emotional tone. "Nad" is major- light through darkness, with a rising sound indicating more to come. "Of Brief Stays" is minor, has a certain finality about it, and signals a descent down towards an end.
"Wednesday 10 PM", shrieking siren-type sounds and all, was done with my (future) wife sound asleep in the next room! Let's hear it for headphones! I thought it was really important for this be near the end of the album- it just has that feel to it.
"Looking For Paradise" brings us back to the 12-string theme and the bowed device for the finale.
So as you can see- there actually was some thought given to the overall structure.