As producer of The World, Mickey Hart's personal odyssey into the spirit of percussion, he showcases some of the most dynamic, yet sublime music of our planet. On At The Edge he combines these ancient techniques and instruments with the most modern of recording technology to explore the outer limits of drumming. The companion piece to his first book, this album is a chronicle of Hart's search for the rhythmic beginnings of music, for the primal pulse that has beaten under every human activity -- all celebrations, rites of passage, wars, shamanic rituals -- in every culture since time immemorial. Exploring the primeval instrumentation of man's earliest sonic expression, the 'instruments that have made it through time,' Hart tuned the percussive rudiments of whistles and gourd rattles, wooden rainsticks and slit gongs, panpipes and bells, using state-of-the-art spatial reverberation and electronic processing. Acoustic natural sounds (wind, thunder, rain, insects, recorded with close-microphone technique outside his mountain home) were mixed, enabling Hart to create the environment for 'an ancient future, allowing us to go back in time, recreating a more silent space.'
At The Edge is a journey to the Edge, 'between the old and the new...rhythm and noise, just as much as between imagination and reality, nature and music, or creation and destruction.' An exquisitely peaceful soundscape evolves from a world before the presence of man ('#4 for Gaia') through quickening rhythms of human activity to the final sonorous swirl of chanting voices ('Pigs in Space') in a silence devoid of nature, a silence of Man at the Edge he has reached. Where, for our world to survive, we must change rhythms. And dance. One of Mickey Hart's most atmospheric albums, At The Edge, from 1990, features Jerry Garcia, Babatunde Olatunji, Airto Moreira, and Zakir Hussain.