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. empire01 Says:


    In and out of focus, time turns elastic
    In and out of focus…
    In and out of focus time turns elastic…

    in and out of focus, times turns…

    And when I’d stayed too long
    I went outside and stared
    Arms outstretched and long
    Moved straight across the sky

    If I could wrap my arms around this globe
    Hands, touch the green and brown
    I’d sink into the cool, cool ground

    Seen all, seen all, seen all summer
    Seen all, seen all, seen all spring

    But I’m a submarine
    Submarine sinks below the ground
    A submarine…

    I’m a submarine
    Submarine sinks below the ground

    Now that the leaves have turned to gold
    The moments all glow
    Frozen and free from time

    And out here on my own
    I watch it ebb and flow

    Here, with the fire burning low
    In the honey mist that breathes
    Crooked maple fingers trembling all around
    I feel the winds that blow

    Out here between the dark and light
    The summer’s gone, and the reeds bow down
    As the colors change
    All along the water line

    And when it’s time the landslide
    will free what froze inside
    While all the rocks collide
    You finally see the lines
    That point toward the light that never dies

    Melody, shelter in the darkness take hold of me now

    Memory, trapped in a corner dark fingers are long

    But all around streaming down
    Rays of blue light, calling out

    These silver sounds are raining down on me
    Here on the wheel, the rhythm turning all around
    Up above the darkened sky is bleeding
    I feel the world turning upside down

    Round and round, and the hailstones pound
    On the ground

    There 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
    sounds of voices in the
    echoes seem to say

    As the carousel circles unceasingly
    Watch while the ripples decay in this rolling time
    And cascading, the winds set the wheels in motion
    And it’s turning in the mist around me
    Rolling and turning in the mist around me

    Kissed by the water and held in your mother’s arms

    Green where you tumble and roll in these fields
    The shapes of bodies that shift in the sun
    While the blossoms all scream and it sleeps around me
    The earth in these memories heals around me

    (2) In and out of focus, time turns elastic
    Time turns…

    Touches these woods and the waters all paved with gold
    Gleaming in daylight the voices ring on
    They pull while pointing lay down in the storm
    And this life, it’s bending and swelling around me
    Turning and peeling into the mist around me
    The winds all rising in the west around me
    And the carousel turns into breath around me

    (4) In and out of focus, time turns elastic
    Time turns…

  2. nonoyolker Says:

    @Alex – On 15… Was jacked up on morning coffee for the last one and almost head nodded into my keyboard at one point.

  3. msbjivein Says:

    @Alex, Same here. Goose bUmps at the end big time!!!!!

  4. Eric Says:

    TTE is such a joyous piece of music, making me even more psyched for summer tour. I sure hope it is unveiled at phenway.

    Beyond what the band itself is doing musically, for the most part I’m liking the new twists that I assume are due to the new management (coran capshaw and other behind the scene folks), i.e., releasing this single, the intro videos at phish.com, the summer venue selection, etc.

    As for PT, I agree that there’s a lot of immaturity there, but there’s also a lot of great info being shared too, especially regarding ticket releases. It took me a while to figure out how best to read/respond/ignore PT, but I’m won over.

    That Toronto show was a blast, especially after the heat of Oswego. I had forgotten all about the zep cover -thanks again, Miner. BTW, last week I converted my lazy downloading ass over to torrents.

  5. Chalkdustin Says:

    Would love to meet some of you cats this summer as well. My crew sucks so it’s time to find new friends for the next few years (yes, I said years). This is such a great place to be and I’m very grateful for everyone’s willingness to share opinions and for the great vibes that flow throughout.

  6. Bapslap Says:

    TTE also has me hooked. From an album perspective, I still really dig ‘Story of the Ghost’ and ‘Farmhouse’, but ‘Round Room’ and ‘Undermind’ were pretty much a let down.

    So to me it’s been 10 years since a decent Phish album has been put out and I’m very much looking forward to it.

    As always, Mike’s parts in TTE are really striking me. He really is the glue to that band, even more so than the role of bass in any other rock band.

  7. msbjivein Says:

    Who’s the local Pheway cat that’s gonna plan the pre-Phen gathering near the Ballpark????

  8. vtsnowboarder802 Says:

    My itunes count is 10, plus about 4more on CD.

    The lyrics didn’t do much for me either, until I’d listened a few times, and thought about the perspective of when it was written. They’re warming on me.

    I agree totally that it doesn’t seem like a 13min track.

    I think when they play it live the venue will go nuts for the last few minutes… when it comes out of the dark passage, and crescendo’s into what I’ve been thinking of as the ‘redemption’ (“as the carousel…” )Kuroda’s going bring out the bright lights, and the boys will hammer it home, and there will be joy.

  9. Frankie Says:

    Whoa! Thanks for the download of the day Mr. Miner… My first Phish show and what an introduction…

    Went there with three friends of mine who didn’t know Phish that much and and i remember the look of pure joy on my friend’s face at the late first set You Enjoy Myself and carribean vocal jam… what a long set that was!! Good times! I remember it like it was yesterday… can’t believe it’s been 10 years…

    Time Turns Elastic indeed!! Thanks Mr. Miner and i’m really digging the new song as well, can’t wait to hear it live and see where they take it this summer…

    So much good stuff ahead!! Have a good day ya’ll!!!

  10. ColonelJoy Says:


    Thanks for the lyrics. I emailed the TTE link to my Brazilian wife…trying to convert her…and she said she loved it but didn’t understand the lyrics…I explained that it was more or less a semi-sensical poem, but that I would look for the lyrics….I forgot….but then I didn’t even have to look…beautiful

  11. ColonelJoy Says:

    BTW, Colonel’s brother owns an apartment 2 blocks from the phens…seriously…very much a bummer I can’t be there with a bed and fridge so close by.

    I took Ethan to the Went. He liked it, but he hasn’t seen a show since. He want to do the show but he doesn’t have tix. He’s seeing one of the Dave shows, of course.

  12. PhunkyPhil Says:

    Honestly can’t say I’m a huge fan of this song. It’s not a bad at all, but I really hope this is not the future sound of Phish. The last few years of Trey and his soft, mushy songs are really not my cup of tea. I’ve been a fan for about 15 years now and while not trying to re-live the past, I was hoping for a different kind of Phish 3.0 evolution. It seems like this is the road we’re going down with other similar sounding songs like Pebbles & Marbles, Walls of the Cave, Scents & Subtle Sounds, Backwards Down the Number Line, etc, etc.

    I listen to Phish almost every single day and love every minute of it. But I’m honestly worried that their sound is morphing into something too poppy or fluffy. The only thing I love about this tune is how the band really sounds like they’re playing as a unit and how all of them come through very clearly… that’s nice to hear.

    Being different or changing your style isn’t a bad thing at all, but I was hoping for something a bit different… something along the lines of newer tunes like Seven Below, 46 Days, Undermind …or even the stuff Page was doing on his solo album.

    This honestly isn’t sitting well with me right now. Anyone agree with me on this?

    Bring back the FUNK phellas!!!!! 🙂

    My 2 cents.

  13. Chalkdustin Says:

    As long as they aren’t sounding like DMB, we’re all ok.

  14. Chalkdustin Says:

    Picture of Phenway stage!!!

    Wish I was going….:(

  15. empire01 Says:

    I know this is a Trey song, but Page will sound better singing this. Maybe they can do alternate verses or something. anyhow I could not be anymore psyched that they are creating new music and that I will be seeing 5 shows this summer. There are some parts in the song vocally that dont sit well with me specially the part that goes
    Melody, shelter in the darkness take hold of me now
    Memory, trapped in a corner dark fingers are long

    but then I really like the last section of lyrics
    As the carousel circles unceasingly and the build up to the end.

    @ Colonel when are you coming back to the states?

  16. Walfredo Says:

    PhunkyPhil- there is a real deal about complex not always being better. I listened to TTE last night- then popped on Wolfman’s from Hampton. Wolfman’s is such a great song- like 5 seconds in I have a huge smile and am grooving away… And that song is like 3 chords… but layers of funk!

    Of the solo records- I like Mike’s the best, Page’s second. I think this definitely sounds like something that would fit well on Trey’s live album Plasma. It is what Trey has been writing for a number of years now. I hope the new album is balanced out some w/ more contributions. I’m hopeful.

    I do like TTE better then some of the version 2.0 orignial “epics”. Wish they’d do more songs like Song I Heard the Ocean Sing…

  17. RobAins Says:

    Let’s not forget there is a whole album’s worth of new songs coming, still have to wait and see if there are a few along the lines of 46 Days, Undermind, etc…

  18. R1 Says:


    I agree with you to a degree. I would be somewhat displeased to hear an album full of this type of work. However I do like the tune and am intrigued by its possibilities. But yes – let’s hope that we are not seeing a complete departure from the grimier side of tings.

  19. Billy Breathes Says:

    Peeps….the beauty of all this is it’s only ONE song!

  20. Mitch Says:

    msbjivein that was me, good memory nonoyolker

    I ordered custom shirts from the bosox store. I got one thats TWEEZER 09 and my girl got one thats GOTTA JIBBOO 09. They are nice. I’m sure the merch table will have shirts too. The nerds shirts still arent rockin’ yet because my buddy needs a new screen print setup. If anyone here has a screen print we should get on it. There are companies online that will make the screen for a small fee which takes most of the work out of the process.

  21. Mitch Says:

    speaking of gatherings I think we should still meet up next wednesday at the beer garden in astoria. let me know if youre interested because i’ll be there.

  22. Frankie Says:

    Come on guys, it’s Phish! The funk has always been and will always be there…

    Check out Undermind from Hampton and tell me you don’t hear them stretching that out this summer…

    About the new song, it’s just one song. Phish’s sound has always been wider than one song… listen to Dirt and BBFCFM to see what i mean…

    They are back together, happy and playing in 4 days!! That is enough!!

  23. Marshall Says:

    0:00 – 2:05 – (very Pebbles and Marbles-ish (’nuff said))
    2:05 – 4:30 – (“watch it ebb and flow” … I like this part … probably the best part and most “Phish-like” to me … can imagine some “highs” when played live … also very good opp for CK5 to wow us)
    4:30 – 5:40 (memory, trapped in a corner … I do NOT like this part much, but maybe it will be the kind of “it’s ice” thing that will come off live)
    5:40 – 8:05 (back to Phish-y grooving and jamming – OK – nothing we’ve never heard before)
    8:05 – 8:55 (too Pink Floyd-ish for my tastes (even though I’ve loved PF in the past)
    8:55 – 10:17 (complex and rythmic – but more like YES than Phish)
    10:17 – 11:15 my LEAST favorite part of the song … “These are the reasons that we lay down on the ground” – Is this in a minor key? Is that why I don’t like it maybe? … regardless, doesn’t “sound” like Vermont’s Phinest to me)
    11:15 – 13:30 (back to a good new melody that I can get into – in the same vein as Backwards Down the Number Line, IMO … finishes on a high note …. “In and Out of Focus … Time Turns Elastic!” ….)

  24. Mitch Says:

    whats happenin frankie? the tix came and I was rockin’ that dvd last night. good lookin’ as always my man.

    4 days!!!!

  25. Frankie Says:

    Yah Mitch! Good to hear that you got them in time! 🙂

    It’s gonna be an awesome time! See you there!

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