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:

    I mailed them out Thursday or Friday night from VT, so I’m guessing they will be in your mailbox when you get home!

  2. Bapslap Says:

    Don’t get me wrong, there are some great Round Room/Undermind era tunes (Anything But Me, SASS, Two Versions of Me, Seven Below), but they don’t hit me as solid albums.

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Marshall – that is certainly something we keep in mind. However, there are shows and then there are shows. For one thing, we are going to the Gorge, which is a relatively chill scene. And second, we are staying at a hotel and not camping, so the most deranged party scene will pass us by.

    We have taken him to a bunch of “warmup” shows so he is familiar with the concert scene in general. And he knows and loves lots of Phish songs. I’ve known lots and lots of people who take kids to shows, both Phish shows and Dead shows back in the day. I wouldn’t have taken a kid to a latter era GD show when the scene got real fucked up…and I wouldn’t take him to an indoor venue, it’s too intense…

    But I think basically it comes down to keeping your parent hat on in the show. Taking a kid and getting spun would be disgraceful. Obviously we’re not going to dose or anything. But my experience being around kids at shows – or at least outdoor West Coast shows – is that the peeps right around you are generally very kind and respectful and most fans enjoy being around kids who are having fun, dancing etc.

    I expect it to be great. And I think you will probably see a lot more kids than you’re used to at pretty much every outdoor venue this summer. It’s a good thing.

  4. HarryHood Says:

    Seriously……. Four days guys!!! I think my brain just went out the window! So much for getting anything accomplished at work today.

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Little Buddy well put – I didn’t grow up in the inner city but rather in the 70s hippie counterculture scene – I saw all kinds of insane shit growing up – “teachable moments” is exactly right.

    “See that wookie? He is passed out and missing this awesome jam! Don’t get wooked out, son.”

  6. nonoyolker Says:

    I think Round Room is a really solid, well rounded (sans pun) album. It has rage jams (P&Ms, 46 Days, WOTC, Mexicali Cousin), ambient jams (7 -, Waves) and slow jams (Round Room, Anything But Me, All of the Dreams, Mock Song – which i love for it’s weirdo, gordeux appeal). This album took a while to grow on me, but when it did, i put it in the top 5 (prolly 5th) for their studios. Undermind, you may have an urguement for being simply par.

  7. vtsnowboarder802 Says:

    i have a new fenway opener call: meatstick!

    “show up late and stumble in” (fenway early start time)
    “captive gaze inside your eyes”
    “the end i’m seaking still eludes”

    WHOA OHHH SHOCKS MY BRAIN in only four days!!!!

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    massively off topic:

    I love good audience recordings where you can hear just enough of the crowd to not be annoying…and the band starts a big jam tune like Maze…and you can hear some dude coughing up his huge bowl hit in the left channel…classic

  9. Billy Breathes Says:

    Meatstick is a GREAT call.


  10. PhunkyPhil Says:

    @ nonoyolker –

    Yeah, you bring up a good point. Most of their albums have a little bit of everything on them… funk, rock, ballads, fast, slow, bluegrass, long jams, etc, etc…

    That’s what I love most about Phish, they’re like an “all-you-can-eat buffet” of different types of music! 🙂

    Although TTE might not do it for me right now, I’m really excited to hear the rest of the album and what other genres of music they dive into.

    As for the tour, I’ll be at Burgettstown & Deer Creek! See y’all there!!!! I’ll be sellin my t-shirts in the lot, so stop by and say HI!

  11. msbjivein Says:

    @Completely, I have an AUD recording of deercreek ’97. It’s not that great cuase there’s to much crowd noise. Anyway there was these guys telling these meatheads to scram during YEM. “What ever Meathead get the hell outta here” It was kinda funny even though it ruins the YEM. That was a first for me w/ AUD recordings. You can’t beat the caughing though!! I’m always like “that guys taking a big rip right now”. LOL!

  12. Los Says:

    I cant wait to hear a second set opening TTE…so much potential!!!

    I think its a great song…but there arent many pHISH songs I dont like…only one comes to mind and thats two versions of me

  13. McGrupp Says:

    Los…..your favorites are Bouncin’ and Sparkle, right?

  14. Rolling Papyrus Says:

    I had this conversation with another head the other day about how hard it is to turn on someone who kind of likes it, but doesn’t get IT. You can introduce the easy and approachable stuff and it’s all good, but since different parts of an album, a show, or even certain songs span so many different styles, you inevitably get to a piece that totally rages but makes the uninitiated wonder what the HELL they are listening to… So the cycle starts again.

    TTE itself goes a ton of different places, I can’t wait to hear the variety on BFPAE on 7/28.

  15. HarryHood Says:

    Ouch McGrupp. That was a rough one. haha

  16. nonoyolker Says:

    @ Phunky – ““all-you-can-eat buffet” of different types of music” – perfect. Someone said before, the same band that plays “Dirt”, plays “BBFCFM”. Awesome…

    I got shut out of Hampton and am seeing 4 shows next week, AHHHHHHH!!! I’ll be at Fenway, 3rd nite Jones, Mansfield, Camden. You’ll know me by the shit eating grin on my face.

    Love to see a stadium full of knuckleheads doing the meatstick dance. I am dying to see a funky bitch or a tube. The boys are back!

  17. HarryHood Says:

    My only wish for Fenway —-> Harry Hood w/Hood blimp buzzing around. I think I’d melt into my shoes……….

  18. msbjivein Says:

    I called TTE 2nd set opener last week!!!!! Gonna happen for sure!!!

  19. fromthetub Says:

    @ nonoyolker – don’t you want to come to 6/2 as well? I’ve got your extras and could meet up at Fenway. 🙂

  20. nonoyolker Says:

    @ fromthetub – Great looks man, but i have to be in St Louis for business between Fenway and Jones. I’m sure i’m going to be REAL focused for that… Thanks a lot though man, MUCH appreciated!

  21. storyofthewolf Says:

    Thanks for the refreshing TTE review. I listened to it 4 times yesterday, each time it sounded better and better. TTE seems quite a bit more subtle in texture than previous Phish epics. It takes a bit more discerning ear to pick up the complexities because it is so cohesive and there are few obvious screaming licks in your face.

  22. Jack O Roses Says:

    @ Mr. C

    I used to have an acoustic Dead set on tape from Mill Valley Rec., 12-6-80. During the Bird Song, Jerry is just ripping it up, and from the audience, you hear someone say “ice cream.” Always cracked me up.

  23. Uberchef Says:

    Don’t hate upon “Two Virgins and Me”, it’s a good tune…just not that hot for a live setting 🙂

  24. msbjivein Says:

    Does anyone else think Trey’s playing the New “Doc” on TTE??? I think he plays it ,maybe not the whole song but sounds like it was used cause of the tone change. That could be the song where he bust out the new “Doc” live. I want to Know if anyone else hears this. Maybe I’m nuts???????????

  25. SJC Says:

    “Don’t get wooked out, son.”


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