Dream On Spiner Fans — Brent Spiner’s newest CD, Dreamland, was released on March 11th, to much deserved acclaimed. There are many words that could describe Dreamland, yet, like dreams, the most appropriate is pastiche. Trekmovie.com talks with Spiner about the CD and provides a look at this unique musical journey of the imagination.
Dreamland blends many entertainment styles together. It is sometimes a standards album, sometimes a film noir experience, sometimes a comedy, sometimes an audio drama. Amazingly, these styles blend together to create a fun listening experience and according to Spiner it is by design:
The styles blended naturally. I see it more as an audio film. We’re getting a lot of comments from younger people on MySpace who’ve heard it and they have no reference to radio. For them it’s like a movie they’re listening to.
The songs on the CD reflect Spiner’s eclectic appreciation of music. He has a fondness for standards and the songs of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis, Roy Orbison, and Bobby Darin. Spiner’s idea for the album was to explore the theme of dreams. For this he needed help filling out the ‘characters’ and so he brought in accomplished cabaret singer Maude Maggart and Mark Hamill, best known as Luke Skywalker, but also a prolific voice actor. Spiner creates a story of a man who love of his life is symbolically the woman of his dreams. The story is told by Spiner and Maggart as the actors, with Mark Hamill playing an amazing array of various characters.
The stream of consciousness narrative, appropriate to the character’s dreams, and is helped by excellent sound engineering which enhances the ‘theater of the imagination’ by creating an array of sound effects which are almost their own character. The theater concept extends to the use of “scenes” in the place of "tracks" and even the artistic cover by Susan Manders which Spiner notes "evokes a romance of a certain age.”
But what about Spiner’s singing?
He’s good. Actually, he is very good, especially in duets with Maggart and on peppy songs such as “To Know You Is To Love You” which is Spiner’s favorite track, for good reason as Maggart provides all three vocals originally sung by the Nichols Sisters. Spiner, who was Broadway singer before (B4?) Data, has a strong voice suited to Dreamland’s collection of standards. Spiner is able to keep up with the very talented Maggart and CD also benefits greatly from the voice talent actor of Hamill.
The songs on the album are fun and moody, helping the story as any good musical play should. The best songs on the album are “To Know You Is To Love You” and “What’ll I Do” along with Maggart’s songs. Actually, every song on the album has much to admire, from arrangements by John McKinney to solid vocals by the singers.
If you enjoyed Spiner’s previous album Ol’ Yellow Eyes is Back, you will definitely have a good time with Dreamland which is a more mature and complex effort. And for fans of standards and radio/audio dramas, Dreamland will make a good addition to your collection.
Available straight from Brent
Dreamland is available exclusively from Brent’s website, TheRealBrentSpiner.com. The CD costs $19.99 (or you can get one with a personalized signature from Brent Spiner for $29.99). TheRealBrentSpiner.com also offers samples and downloadable songs.
Win a signed CD
Brent has provided a signed copy of Dreamland to be given away to a TrekMovie.com reader. To win you must answer the following question correctly. Name the movies, TV episodes, or albums where Brent Spiner sings the following 5 songs
"Very Thought of You "
"Oye Como Va"
"A British Tar"
UPDATE: Contest Over and winner selected. Thanks to those who entered.
Behind the scenes making of Dreamland
Brent Talks to TrekMovie about Dreamland
In case you missed it, here is a video from the recent Grand Slam of Brent talking to TrekMovie.com’s Anthony Pascale about the CD (and wondering when I was going to get around to reviewing it).
More on Spiner and Dreamland at TheRealBrentSpiner.com.