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Binkelman's Corner by Bill Binkelman
Bill Binkelman is a long-time icon in the industry.
Other reviews from Binkelman's Corner by Bill Binkelman:
  Mosaic by David Wahler, reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 8/8/2018
  On the Edge of A Dream by Robin Spielberg, reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 8/8/2018
  Songs of Changing Light by Kathryn Kaye, reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 7/8/2018
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On the Edge of A Dream
By Robin Spielberg
Label: playMountain Music
Released 3/2/2018
On the Edge of A Dream tracks
1. On the Edge of A Dream
2. We Meet Again
3. Drifting
4. Spellbound
5. Nightfall
6. The Secret Path
7. Stargazing
8. Calling All Dreamers
9. Illusion
10. Into The Night
11. Safe and Sound
12. Meeting Monet
13. We Meet Again (Recurring Dream)
14. Blue Moon Rising
ROBIN SPIELBERG - On the Edge of a Dream
Over the course of my reviewing career, I have had any number of albums with the words "lullaby" or "lullabies" in their titles arrive in my mailbox. Some of them were definitely apropos for that genre classification, others not so much. Robin Spielberg's exquisite On the Edge of a Dream may not feature the word "lullaby" in the title (although the subtitle is Piano Solos for Dreaming), but man oh man, if ever there was an ideal lullaby album, this is it. The album's fourteen tracks unfurl so delicately, so serenely, as if nudged ever so slightly by a sail of softest silk by the subtlest whisper of an ocean breeze. I never had children, but if I had, this album would be in constant rotation for nighttime "go to sleep, young one" background music.

Inside the digipack (wonderful cover art and design, by the way), a short description of the album reads "Improvised piano solos for dreaming, contemplation, relaxation, medical therapies." Now, sometimes, the word "improvisation" can send up a warning flare, as in "soulless noodling ahead." Such is not the case here at all. In fact, if Robin had not informed the listener these were improvisations, it would be hard to tell – in a way. These are not her normal structured instrumentals (obviously), but the melodies are warmly accessible and rich with a gentleness that is almost a musical caress of sorts (yeah, corny, but I am thinking in terms of little children here).

It doesn’t need stating that there is no drama, passion, or power here – just slow, patient, solo piano numbers, played with utmost restraint for hitting the notes quietly yet distinctly. Gerry Putnam recorded and mastered the album at Cedarhouse Sound & Mastering and did a fantastic job, capturing each note perfectly. On some tracks, Robin skirts with minimalism and even perhaps crosses over into it at times, but the core essence of melodicism is always there nonetheless. While the overall mood of the album is welcoming and warm, sometimes a piece emerges with a hint of shadow, such as "Spellbound," but the shadow is not unfriendly at all – just a touch of the feeling of night coming on and darkness overtaking the world.

Another element I detected on some tracks was what I can best describe as a sensation of gentle rocking, sometimes portrayed by the repetition of a musical phrase on the lower registers ("Nightfall") or the gentle yet exacting cadence between lower notes ("Drifting"). Perhaps this is intended as a musical portrait of (or maybe just evocative of) a mother holding her child while sitting in a rocking chair late at night. While some song titles are indicative that this is, most certainly, an album for nighttime playing ("Stargazing," "Into the Night," "Blue Moon Rising") other titles touch on other concepts ("The Secret Path," "Safe and Sound," "Meeting Monet").

Two things impressed me most about On the Edge of a Dream. One is how each track comes across as a separate and unique musical statement, despite the quiet and peaceful mood which permeates the entirety of the album. The juxtaposition of a singular musical vision made up of components that, when examined closely, are definitely different pieces of music is flat out brilliant to my mind. The other element that impressed me is simpler to state: This is Robin Spielberg at the peak of her playing talent. I don’t know how many would agree with me, but I consider this her best album to date and it's not even close. On the Edge of a Dream is absurdly wonderful and if you are looking for a fantastic album to wind down at the end of a day with, don't even hesitate to get a hold of this recording. And if you have young children, this is the perfect end-of-the-day music for them as well.
- reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 8/8/2018
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