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. fromthetub Says:

    @ Jack — I live in Mill Valley! I would love to find that recording. I bet it was from the Sweetwater?

  2. voopa Says:


    It was the Mill Valley Rec. Center. I believe it was a Vet benefit, or something to that effect?

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    @fromthetub – its from the Rec Center. Betty’s Cantor’s aud is up on archive:

    that was the last of the 1980 acoustic sets, played before a non-Deadhead audience of mostly kids, with minimal or zero PA. Interesting stuff, a real unique hometown show.

    I just listened to a matrix of 6-3-76 and a split second before they start the debut performance of Crazy Fingers some guy by the mike says “my armpit is melting” – my current favorite random AUD quote

  4. fromthetub Says:

    Nice. Thanks, voopa! (ok, gonna get to work now. so hard to focus!)

  5. fromthetub Says:

    And thanks Mr. Completely!! Grabbing it now!!

  6. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @completely, the debut of crazy fingers was 8-13-75 (one from the vault)

  7. SOAM Says:

    Dog Log is a song about 5 year olds eating acid-FYI

    If your kid is exposed to a dog log at a gig-unfortunately he will soon be hitting the pipe you hide in your basement/attic.

  8. cliffordball Says:

    Well said Mr. Miner. This song could have not came at a better time in my life.

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    lol actually, f0ol, it’s 6/17/75 Winterland

    6/3/76 is the debut of the Wheel tho

  10. Albert Walker Says:

    Yes we could be there for the first Time Turns Elastic

    but being present for the first Crazy fFngers just makes my mind spin just thinking about it

    too bad I was born in the mid 70’s and not seeing shows, the curse of my life

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    All 4 GD shows from ’75 are superb. The September Golden Gate park show is the only arguable one. 3/23 is a must-hear mind-melter, One From the Vault is still one of the best official releases, and 6/17 is an incredibly underrated gem.

    I was fortunate enough to see one of the finest latter era performances of Crazy Fingers, out of space no less – one of only two times it was done that way – at Roanoke in 87. One of the absolute highlight memories out of my 10 years of shows. Then 2 songs later, Comes a Time! what a night.

  12. old dude Says:

    i want to be able to say i saw the debut of Chronic Survey.
    and i will say it, even if it’s not true. or maybe i’ll think it’s true, or someone told me i was there, but don’t really remember.

  13. SOAM Says:

    75 GD was not that great-year off, re-intro of Mickey, new tunes etc.

    I mean they are rehearsed and tight but that is not what the dead was about. IMMFO

  14. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    woops my bad, yeah i have those 4 ’75 shows on my ipod, the one from the vault is one of my fav’s, i love the intro by billy graham> help on the way

  15. old dude Says:

    some friends of yours and mine…phish

  16. Los Says:


    At one point when I first heard anything pHISH in 94, yeah I would say Bouncin was my fav song…I aint ashamed to say and cmon who doesnt love a well placed sparkly?!

    Now 15 years and 89 shows later, I would say its hard to pick a fav song…just too much quality to narrow it down

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    SOAM I am shocked you’re not all over the King Solomon’s Marbles jams from ’75 – some of the sickest GD jamming of all.

    If I had to pick a Phish song it’d be either Ghost or Split. Ghost I guess due to diversity of jams that follow.

  18. Pabalive Says:

    Really wish I was going to Fenway. All this reading of people amped up for the shows has me all forlorn. Then again, i will be at a ballgame with my 4 year old son and will have to wait until June 4 to begin seeing the band.

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    or My Left Toe – but that is perhaps too obvious

  20. cottle Says:

    ^makes me think of Hampton. We were up high Page-side for the Sunday show. On the back of the colisuem, on the nice white walls, someone had tagged up all sorts of jibberish in a big, black pilot marker. No real skills, just writing more than tagging. Anyways, in huge, block letters, someone had written “WHY BOUNCIN?”, obviously in response to Friday’s encore. I couldn’t help but laugh and wonder: “Why not Bouncin’?”

    And in response to ’75 GD….I just discovered the 6/19/75 show recently. That slow version of Peggy-O just might be my new favorite.

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    that Peggy is amazing. the 73 ones are like that kinds, very slow, but htat one is nicer

    Setlist snobbery is weak…Bouncin is a fun little ditty

  22. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    cottle i think you mean 6/17/75

  23. old dude Says:

    Ladies love Bouncin.
    (the song too)

  24. cottle Says:

    yes….6/17/75. You’d think for a year with so few shows I could keep the dates straight.

  25. Jack O Roses Says:

    I love those ’76 Crazy Fingers! Keith’s organ really gives them an ethereal quality. Also, the Help-> Slip -> Franklin’s are so yummy! Check out Tower Theatre 6-24-76. Love the ohhh’s and ahhh’s during Help! 🙂

    In Re: Fenway Pre-show, This: http://www.jambase.com/shows/event.aspx?EventID=964019 on Saturday night looks to be off the hook.

    From Jambase:
    The Budos Band has erupted onto the Funk and Soul scene with a malicious sound that all but commands you to burn down the dance floor. This eleven piece group offers up nasty cuts of cosmic afro-influenced psychedelic funk that haunt your head long after the music stops.

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