Time Turns Fantastic

970699Less than a week after the album release and second-ever performance of Trey’s orchestral opus “Time Turns Elastic,” Phish gave the community a significant pre-tour jolt by releasing the newly-completed Phish version as a single on iTunes yesterday morning.  Utilizing another video announcement, this time of a studio montage while the song peaks as a soundtrack, Phish punctuated the arrival of their newest piece of music- and by the way it was presented, they seem damn proud of it.  A thirteen-plus minute composition, “Time Turns Elastic” will be featured on Phish’s forthcoming album and will certainly jump into this summer’s rotation before too long.

5.21.09 Baltimore (D. Morris)

5.21.09 Baltimore (D. Morris)

What started out as an idea for a Phish song during Trey’s solo time in Whitehall, NY, transformed into an orchestral piece, with two movements, in collaboration with Don Hart of Orchestra Nashville.  After debuting “Time Turns Elastic” at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium last September, Trey set out to record and release his one of a kind piece.  Right around that time, an acoustic demo of Trey playing the song by himself in The Barn surfaced, giving everyone a better point from which to imagine the piece as a Phish song; but I’m not sure anyone imagined this.  Rearranging the piece’s second movement for a four-piece band and recording it in New York City, Phish has morphed the symphonic composition into a musical suite that will transfix audiences this summer.

What jumps out about “Time Turns Elastic”- as compared to Phish’s older multi-part compositions- is its cohesiveness.  As opposed to many of the band’s classic songs that often contrast different musical milieus with precise, and sometimes abrupt, Zappa-like transitions, “Time Turns Elastic,” flows naturally from one segment into the next, each connected with a melodic framework that provides a unifying thread throughout the piece.  While moving between many different compositional textures, there is always a familiar element of the song’s melodic structure, holding it together coherently.


Time Turns Elastic "Single"

After listening through the track about ten times yesterday, I figure there have to be at at least four or five distinct places where Phish could jump into different improvisational segments.  Thus it will be interesting to see where the band stretches the song out when it’s performed live- not to mention there is a chance they will choose to play it as a straight composition- but they are Phish.  Swimming between upbeat textures and darker segments, musical peaks and valleys, “Time Turns Elastic” has an incredibly dynamic quality.  Some parts feel genuinely uplifting, while others are certainly somber and introspective, providing a sense of musical narrative.



The playing on the track sounds like Phish has been firing in the studio and the video can confirm the fun they are having.  The most essential part on the track is played by Fishman, who is “doin’ work” the entire time, creating extraordinarily delicate beats and cradling the music with a tapestry of rhythms that guide the band through the many diverse sections.  Also interesting about “Time Turns Elastic” is the “whole-band” focus- no one person plays lead- instead, Trey, Mike, and Page, collectively provide the musical filling.  While Trey wrote this song by himself, it is certainly not a guitar-led piece, rather a more collaborative effort that may foreshadow a newer song model.

Beyond a strict musical opus, there is a five-piece lyrical montage of poetic imagery that narrates a story right alongside.  A philosophical statement about the fluctuations of time and our lives, Trey shares a piece of his own with us through this song.  With images like the following: “But I am a submarine / and the submarine sinks below the ground” to “These are the reasons / that we lay down on the / ground / Drawn through a funnel, all / the colors run together / Turning brown;” “Wait for the waves to come / and carry me away / Down on the ground the / sound of voices in the / echoes seem to say;” “And the carousel turns into / breath around me;” Trey has certainly responded to his post-hiatus pop song naysayers with his strongest and most personal lyrical effort in some time.  Essentially, Time Turns Elastic is a musical reflection on Trey’s time of struggle and the celebration of the resiliency of the human spirit.  (Cue haters vomiting.)

Hampton (J.Bryce)

Hampton (J.Bryce)

Yet while many of the lyrical themes are personally connected to Trey’s life, they are universally applicable to all of ours.  We have all gone through periods where time has turned elastic- sped quickly or crawled- depending on our state of mind and activity, and we understand the fluctuations of emotion.  We have all felt ourselves “in and out of focus” or the “world turning upside down;” and similarly, we have all felt “kissed by the water and held in [our] mother’s arms” and “paved with gold gleaming in daylight.”  It is authentic human emotion that “Time Turns Elastic” draws on, both lyrically and musically, striking a chord somewhere inside us all.  Maybe you don’t feel it yet after a listen or two, but wait until this summer is over- you will.



7.20.99 Molson Amphitheatre, Toronto, ON < TORRENT LINK

1999-07-20moLet’s take it north of the border for today’s download to Toronto, home of pleasant Molson Amphitheatre, right on the water.  In Phish’s first visit, they christened the venue with a great first set that was highlighted by the closing triumvirate of “Ghost,” “Wilson,” “YEM.”  The second set, solid all the way through, was highlighted by the closing “2001 > Misty Mountain Hop” debut.  All in all, a nice nugget from the north!

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Sample in a Jar, Cars Trucks Buses, The Sloth, The Divided Sky, Waste, Ghost, Wilson, You Enjoy Myself

II: Twist, The Moma Dance, What’s the Use?, Train Song, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Misty Mountain Hop*

E: Guyute, Hello My Baby

*First time played

Source: Unknown

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204 Responses to “Time Turns Fantastic”

  1. HarryHood Says:

    @wasmm. Still got that extra if you are interested. E-mail me: BoireC@hotmail.com

  2. Danny B Says:

    I agree with most everything people have already said: Fishman is great, the band playing cohesively is great, the production is clean and lets every member shine through. I also agree that PT is insane, if you love the song someone rags on you, if you hate the song someone rags on you, and if you express your real opinion forget about it. Because I love this board, and you guys actually like to hear real opinions, here it goes. Instrumentally I love it, hands down the most interesting instrumental thing I have heard from Phish in a long time. Lyrically I did not love it, it might take time, but I miss Tom’s quirk’s in the lyrics. Every time the music really started getting interesting and building another set of vocals came in, and distracted me from the really engaging music beneath it all. One thing I can say for certain, if they stretch this puppy out this summer, and turn it into the psychedelic masterpiece it could be, even the most diligent hater on PT will be converted. The lyrics won’t change and neither will the singing, so for the poeple that don’t like it, you will have to learn to deal with it, to get to the jam that will surely make this song a live favorite. If they do not inculde any improv, I have a feeling the divide between fans will continue. Not trying to stir anything up, my legit opinion. I can’t wait to hear it live, with or without a jam.

  3. nonoyolker Says:

    I got a solid 12 listens in yesterday and it is incredible that the song does not feel 13 min long. Great to have NEW music from the boys!
    Nice show post Miner! If i remember, the Moma is pretty dirty…

  4. hawkinbj Says:

    I was really moved when I listened to the single the first time yesterday. Duly impressed for the forthcomoing tour/album to say the least. Great write up Miner

  5. nonoyolker Says:

    @ Danny B – I actually agree on the lyrics. Musically it is straight nasty and such an interesting piece, but lyrically, I am not feeling all of the lyrics. The end lyrics are pretty sweet though (“in and out of focus, time turns elastic” – repeat). That part is gonna be serious live.

  6. msbjivein Says:

    I’m diggin TTE. I Listened to it four times thru last night. I think that Trey’s playing the New “DOC” on this track. Anyone else think that???
    Like everyone else I believe Fish’s drumming is off the hook. I got cold chills at the end w/ the chorus and the Jammin. This song has many ares for improv. Hopefully they explore it a little live. Can’t wait for SUNDAY!!!

  7. Uberchef Says:

    This was a fun show…I schlepped up from NY for this one, my first trip to Toronto. Beautiful day too. The soundcheck from this show was very cool as well, I think they played Dreamweaver?!

  8. notkuroda Says:

    @Harry Hood, I think you nailed it for me. The folks who post on here are phans of the music of phish. The old school, the new school, and the feelings in between. I consider myself a pretty dedicated music fan, but some of the commentary on here is just great to read for educational purposes. I hope I somehow cross paths with some of you on tour this summer. I wear a green phish visor most of the time, and am kind of short, so come say hi if you recognize me.
    About PT, you almost gotta love the comedy. I don’t think it’s representative of the phish scene. But some the stuff posted on there is funny as shit. But just remember, there are only a couple hundred people who post on that board regularly

  9. msbjivein Says:

    I just remebered Trey was playing the Old “Doc” on the video. But there are points in the song where his tone is very different than the normal tone. He could’ve very easily laid down some over dubs in the studio w/ the new Doc.

  10. Albert Walker Says:

    For me Phish lyrics are more about adding to the melody and rhythm of the song and not the literal or figurative interpretation of the words specifically

    I don’t think anyone is mistaking Trey or Marshall for that matter for Bob Dylan or Neil Young

    The melody of the vocal lines compliment the rhytmical flow of the song nicely and make the piece evern more unique

  11. Danny B Says:

    I agree about the ” in and out of focus” part, it is gonnna be sweet live. In regards to Fish’s drumming/overall structure I hear more Yes than King Crimson, and I know Bill Bruford was the drummer for both. Kinda reminds me a little bit of Tales From The Topographic Ocean.

  12. empire01 Says:

    what date did Trey play it TTE acoustic I thought I had it on my hd.
    It is indeed great to hear new music come out of them. The song is very different from what phish has put out I think it is definitely in the same style as WOTC and Scents. I also wanted to say that this community / forum is awesome, very positive. Keep the scene ALIVE!!

  13. Chalkdustin Says:

    TTE has got me hooked. I can’t even count how many times I must have listened to it yesterday. Miner is spot on- this piece is about the band as a whole and what they can produce as one unit. It’s not about blaring guitar solos or heavy bass drops (although Fish is definitely on fire!). I do like the lyrics and I think they are very fitting in this being the band’s first single since they broke up. There are a lot of different points in the song where it would make sense to start jamming and this only adds to the excitement of the summer- it’s hard to know what TTE will sound like. The possibilities are endless.

  14. nonoyolker Says:

    There are several distinct moments in the song where i will do a backflip when i see this live. Come on Fenway encore!!!

  15. ColonelJoy Says:

    I too hope to link up with folks in this forum, probably at Halloween when I get back from the war.

    Like most of you, I have a crew, and I love them, made it through most of 1.0 and 2.0 with them, but I think it is time for a change. I would love to meet new folks and branch out from the old click.

    4:30 is definately early 80s King Crimson in both style and sonic dynamics!! Like I said, sounds like Gordo is even playing a Chapman Stick.

  16. msbjivein Says:

    The Weather Looks great for Pheway!!!!!! 73*/53* no precip chance!!!!!

  17. nonoyolker Says:

    @ colonel – 4:30 is def 80’s Crimson. EXACTLY what i thought when i heard it first. From 3:00 to there feels like houses of the holy.

    Also love to meet some of you knuckleheadz on the road. Didn’t we have a t-shirt idea? Who was our guy, Mitch?

  18. msbjivein Says:

    Speakin of Shirt ideas. Did anybody get a custom Sox Jersey made for Phen??? I remember when Phen was announced there were some good shirt Ideas on here.

  19. Walfredo Says:

    I love the write up on TTE. I am only three listens deep. First was on computer w/ crappy speakers in the afternoon. Was on the fence.

    Then I burned it as fill on Hampton Disc 6 CD. Played it on my Macintosh through the Martin Logans at home first listen- and was bored- but definitely challenged by the complexity within the simplicity of the composer.

    Started the CD from the beginning w/ Wolfman’s Brother from Hampton through A Day in the Life- and then let TTE just play as the next track. I freaking loved it. For some reason it couldn’t get my head into the right headspace to enjoy it- but once I was there it was great to listen to.

    My .02 cents. For the most part the composition sounds similar to WoC, P&M, SSS- from post-hiatus Trey pieces with Phish. But I do think there is a warmth and a connection to this song that those songs lack- and my lord is Fish off-the freaking chain on this track.

  20. ColonelJoy Says:

    Yes Nono, at 430 I’ve never heard Phish sound so distinctly, nearly exactly like another band….if you played it for Fripp he would probably think it was them.

    In defense of Kobe (whom I’m not a fan of)….it was simply a case of buyers remorse.

  21. nonoyolker Says:

    @msbjivein – I think that was the dude Mitch. He had some sweet shirt designs. Also had some nice hamptons made up for those shows. We were going to do a revenge of the nerds v3.0. Idea was mostly just for giggles to get through the hiatus, but a pretty sick idea.

  22. RobAins Says:

    There had been talk about doing a Revenge Of The Nerds T-shirt a few months ago, but I have no clue what happened with that. Someone on here either owned or worked at a T-Shirt company or something…..

  23. msbjivein Says:

    NERDS!!!!! LOL!

  24. AlexanderK Says:

    My iTunes count has me at 13 listens… Do I need help? 😉

    Totally diggin’ it.

  25. AlexanderK Says:

    Goosebumps hit at 12:45

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