Joel Stein – “The edge of sleep”

In the category of lullabies, nocturnes, and other nighttime musics, one encounters many approaches.  Joel Stein’s “The edge of sleep” is a nocturne that brings down the listener’s energy like a lullaby, but leads us to peace, not drowsiness.  The composer instead weaves a texture that grows and shrinks, coincides and offsets, and transforms from itself, to something else, to itself, over and over again.  This is an effective meditation on motivic development, while being an effective device to facilitate meditation itself.  Reminiscent of “Fog Tropes” by Ingram Marshall, the work is minimal yet powerful, complex in its simplicity, and directed right at the listener.  Take it in, breathe it in, and let yourself drift off to the place between awake and asleep, where things seem to make sense but don’t necessarily do.

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