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At the Edge is a percussion-based world music album by Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart. It was released on CD and cassette by Rykodisc Records on September 18, 1990.[1][2] It was Hart's first album with the multi-national percussion ensemble that would later be called Planet Drum.

At the Edge
Stylized, colorful drawing of a man, kneeling and playing a large drum
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 18, 1990
GenreWorld music
ProducerMickey Hart
Mickey Hart chronology
Music to Be Born By
At the Edge
Planet Drum

In an interview in 2008, Hart said of At the Edge, "The soft side of percussion. More, we were romancing the drum on that one and that was really very sparse, beautiful, serene, patient and calm."[3]



On September 1, 1990, Harper San Francisco published the book Drumming at the Edge of Magic: A Journey into the Spirit of Percussion, by Mickey Hart, Jay Stevens, and Fredric Lieberman. The book explores the origins of drumming in human culture, and its relationship to spirituality.[4][5] The book is a companion piece to the album At the Edge, and shares the same cover art by Nancy Nimoy. Hart later went on to release other album-and-book pairs – Planet Drum (1991) and Spirit into Sound (2000).

In an interview in 2011, Hart said, "Well, when I wrote that book I was looking for the origins of percussion. So by writing that book I kept going back, you know? To the Mongols of the 11th century. Then I went back to the caves, and then the Neolithic, then the Paleolithic, and then when I reached the point where drums first started to appear, I thought, well, okay, where did that come from? And, it led me back to the beginning of time and space. The beginning of the universe. The Big Bang."[6]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic     [1]

On Allmusic, William Ruhlmann wrote, "You'll feel like you're at the edge of the rain forest listening to this atmospheric recording that uses a variety of unusual instruments and employs such musicians as Jerry Garcia, Babatunde Olatunji, Airto Moreira, and Zakir Hussain."[1]

Track listingEdit

  1. "#4 for Gaia" (Mickey Hart) – 4:46
  2. "Sky Water" (Hart, Zakir Hussain) – 8:15
  3. "Slow Sailing" (Hart, Hussain) – 5:01
  4. "Lonesome Hero" (Hart) – 6:19
  5. "Fast Sailing" (Hart, Hussain) – 5:04
  6. "Cougar Run" (Hart) – 3:39
  7. "The Eliminators" (Creek Hart, Mickey Hart, Taro S. Hart, Jerry Garcia) – 6:01
  8. "Brainstorm" (Hart, Babatunde Olatunji) – 4:12
  9. "Pigs in Space" (Airto Moreira) – 4:39




  • Mickey Hart – producer
  • Tom Flye – engineering, mixing
  • Jeff Sterling – engineering, mixing, computer processing
  • Phil Kaffel – additional engineering
  • Tom Size – additional engineering
  • Joe Gastwirt – CD mastering
  • Jack Crymes – technical support
  • Jay Stevens – liner notes
  • Nancy Nimoy – cover art
  • Howard Jacobsen – art direction
  • Steven Jurgensmeyer – package design


  1. ^ a b c Ruhlmann, William. At the Edge at Allmusic. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  2. ^ At the Edge at the Grateful Dead Family Discography. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  3. ^ Gatta, John Patrick (May 23, 2008). "Shifting Topographies: Mickey Hart and the World's Music", Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  4. ^ Kirsch, Jonathan (October 3, 1990). Drumming at the Edge of Magic, Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  5. ^ Drumming at the Edge of Magic, Pagan Book Reviews, July 2, 2008. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  6. ^ Henderson, Stuart (November 10, 2011). "There Is No 'World Music': A Conversation with the Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart", PopMatters. Retrieved March 10, 2013.