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. Rolling Papyrus Says:

    I might be disappointed in an entire show of Bouncin’s and Sparkles, but they all have their place as breathers from the psychedelic nastiness.

    Bouncin’ on ALO was the tune that first got me going on the Phish, I’m sure I’m not the only one.

  2. fromthetub Says:

    There should be no Bouncin’ hate. I have fond memories of it from the Bogarts show 12/3/92, and whenever I hear it I get a huge grin. I also once did a college art project to it… we had to illustrate a song, then play the song during the critique. My illustration looked kinda like Kuroda’s lights, lots of colors and layers. That time then and once again…

  3. Alumni Blues Says:

    Come on who doesn’t like Trey’s little guitar riff at the end of Bouncin’….

  4. voopa Says:

    Of course, that means it’s ending 🙂

  5. Brimley Says:

    Word Dancin Fool….Graham’s intro of the band with Phil killing on the bass and finally “and on lead guitar and vocals Mr. Jerry Garcia” straight into Help on the way..priceless

  6. Chalkdustin Says:

    I love Bouncins and I loved it at Hampton. It always gets me pumped up.

  7. slave2traffic Says:

    Just checking in… all good comments.

    For those looking for Trey/BSO show, best versions I’ve seen/heard are at:

    http://www.mediafire.com/?gnmnwztj0nn – part 1
    http://www.mediafire.com/?ajztlnmtugo – part 2

    Getting excited for those going to Phenway, but I’ve got another week until I can catch’em! Heading to Camden, Asheville and Knox – a week off from the baby is about all I can handle these days 🙂

  8. Alumni Blues Says:

    Very funny when the big ball blasted Paige at Hampton.

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    thx @slave2traffic!

  10. Albert Walker Says:

    I remember being a kid in the mid 90’s and my friends would be like what no Harpua, no Curtain, no McGrupp, no Have Mercey
    that show must have sucked

    it’s great to be older and just appreciate taking in some good music on a nice summer evening by a great band

    I rarely could care less what they choose to play now and it feels great

  11. slave2traffic Says:

    NP @completely… sound is a little quiet, and you’ll get blasted by the AUD reaction in between songs but still good to hear the show

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    @AW: word

    same thing in every scene: the cool time to be on tour was always right before whenever you started. What bullshit

  13. Billy Breathes Says:

    @voopa….LOL. Purrrfect.

    They could never play that song (Bouncin) again and I’d be content.

    But I understand, they’ve gotta appease the 13-18 year olds too!

    It’s okay Chalkdustin, fromthetub, Alumni Blues, and others, whatever floats your boat.


  14. Highway Bill Says:

    ..then before and now once more….I’m bouncin’ round the room.

  15. Chalkdustin Says:

    Low blow, Billy, low blow. 🙂

  16. fromthetub Says:

    y’all can sit down or take a bathroom break during Bouncin’ – more room for me to dance! 😉

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    one time in the sauna at Oregon Country Fair we sang the end of Bouncin’ as a round. it was SICK. keep in mind there are like 30-40 ppl in this sauna, it is about 4 AM Saturday, and most ppl are tripping and naked. I started the “that time then” part, and some woman with a beautiful voice started the “and I awoke” part up high, and people fell in with one or the other….it was a very high moment for all involved…extremely intense

    that is my fav version to this day :o) but it gives me a real positive association

  18. c0wfunk Says:

    Just got a pic from the wife- asheville tix delivered today! They look really cool..an intricate mandala design with a shiny circle thing in the center.

  19. Eric Says:

    After I became a more experienced phan and had heard too many bouncin’s, I did become sick of that song. Then it became a rarer treat, and I again came to love it. I’d love to hear it Sunday, along with the funk, the dark trippy madness, TTE, and anything else (except Jennifer Dances). I’ll even take a Walfredo!

    @ nonoyolker: Funny, I think Undermind is one of their best studio efforts and Round Room one of the weakest.

  20. c0wfunk Says:

    Eric I’m with you- round room is barely even an album- more like a recorded jam session. Undermind oth is quality *song* writing and great studio value

  21. gunner Says:

    My girlfriend keeps giving me shit because I can’t stop humming~in and out of focus~time turns elastic! Begging for another lyric!Can’t wait to hear this second setter at the PHEN! Keep up the hard work Mr. Miner! You’re my first hit every morning!!!

  22. old dude Says:

    i tend to agree on roundroom – though at the time i thought the “demo” sound was refreshing. i’m no bigger fan of undermind however. both have a bit too much of that post-hiatus mushiness mentioned earlier. give me everything up to – and including – farmhouse. although partytime is bound to be my new favorite album of all times.

  23. old dude Says:

    i did dig on that dvd that came out with undermind pre-orders – came to appreciate Crowd Control all the more.

    speaking of, someone mentioned this tune “Tiny” from those sessions. any good?

  24. old dude Says:

    the “Countdown to Summer” clock says 3 days, 23 hours, 19 minutes.
    that’s quite a not very long fucking time!!!!

  25. whole tour! Says:

    i heard this band called phish is starting a tour this week.

    best bouncing was cypress….’never ending coral maze…the crystal haze’

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