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. cottle Says:

    best alot of things were Cypress.

  2. HarryHood Says:

    Oh Phuck……… I’m just psyched. Who’s with me?

  3. cottle Says:

    Right there with ya, brah.

    I’ll be trying to hold out for the no-spoilers of each show…but you know it’s gonna be hard not to peek at the setlists.

  4. Billy Breathes Says:

    My favorite Sparkle was the time they never played it.

    And my favorite Bouncin’ is the recording on Lawn Boy, which I don’t have to listen to.

    T minus 3 1/2 Days!

  5. fromthetub Says:

    @ Billy – Any Phish song is better than no Phish, right?

    @ Harry – I am SO excited for Fenway I’ve got the jitters and can get absolutely no work accomplished.

  6. spideyguy0 Says:

    This is a little off topic but I’m reading now that the buses to Jones Beach don’t start on weekdays till the end of June. Is there any way to get to and from these shows from the city on public transportation? I’m trying to hit up the first week of the tour with no car.

  7. spideyguy0 Says:

    disregard, they also run them special on concert dates apparently

  8. Billy Breathes Says:

    @fromthetub –

    That’s where we differ, completely. But that’s okay, 100% ok actually, to each his own.

    No…any Phish song is NOT better than no Phish at all.

    Heavy Things I could not see.

    No Thank You.

  9. Walfredo Says:

    Billy Breathes- aren’t you cool! My favorite Bouncin was Hampton- it was really fun- they dropped the balls from the ceiling onto the crowd and the bounced around the room. CK lit them up like a damn firework. It was pretty bad ass. Get over yourself- the song doesn’t have a jam- and people who aren’t into Phish like it… They should never play it! Get jaded 5 years from now if they are still touring- nothing is overplayed at this point.

  10. Billy Breathes Says:

    Whoa…hang on now…

    What’s wrong with not liking a song?

    I don’t get it.

    Do I have to like every Phish song?

    This seems to be a fairly dominant theme out here….a lot of people love every single thing about Phish….as if they can do nothing wrong.

    That’s just not healthy.

    Geez….talk about jaded.

    -Green Sparrow

  11. shpongleyez Says:

    You don’t have to like every Phish song, but why bother saying you don’t want to hear them? It’s unneccessarily negative. No offiense, but who cares you don’t like those songs?

    One of the things I like about this place is the, by and large, positivity.

    As your mama said, “if you don’t have something nice to say…”

  12. Mr.Miner Says:

    Hey now- Bouncin’ or no Bouncin’ no need to lash out ‘Fredo!

  13. leftoflefty Says:

    does anyone know of a good campground close to merriweather? trying to find a low cost crash spot after the show. any help would be appreciated.

  14. shpongleyez Says:

    I choose Bouncin’

    And no lashin’

  15. HarryHood Says:

    I haven’t seen Phish since Coventry and until last fall, I thought that I may never see them again. If they jammed out a 45 minute Bouncin at Fenway I’d still have a permagrin walkin outta there!

  16. Highway Bill Says:

    …..ah….I think we’re out of lashes?

  17. Wilson Says:

    oh man…. work is just impossible at this point.
    i’ll be so wound up by the time the red eye leaves, i pitty whoever is sitting next to me friday night en route to bean town.

    and after 6 years without phish, NO expectations for Sunday. None. Zilch. Null set. Whatever the hell they play, i’ll be smiling.

    soooooo close now. ok, off to AT&T to kill time. Go Giants.

  18. Fish Sauce Says:

    I understand some folks not liking bouncin’ due to the fact it was played a bunch for a while, and it’s the most popular, maybe, amongst non-phish fans. I have some songs i don’t care for as well, but i like the bouncin’. the round, page’s singing, the great guitar at the end all i like.

    i don’t care a bunch for secret smile and two versions of me. i didn’t like friday or all of these dreams the first few times i heard em, but they grew on me a bunch.

    either way, bouncin’ at Hampton was bad to the bone. i loved the balls coming down, not only because of the crowd, but also because i knew that night would be over soon. not trying to be negative, 3/6/09 was an amazing night and i was feeling drained when they started YEM.

    hopefully the 3 nights at hampton got my show-stamina back for when i get to see em at alpine, darien, and spac. thinking about TN, since I live in NC….

  19. Billy Breathes Says:

    The previous discussion was on Bouncin’, and so I chimed in….it’s called having a healthy debate.

    Please, don’t take it personally.

    Gotta love the attitude out here of ‘phish rules and can do no wrong’.

    We’re all adults here, or, maybe we’re not?

    Let’s move on…….Sparkle anyone?

    No Lashing!

  20. Fish Sauce Says:

    I like sparkle too. I read once a review of the song about the happy tone of the song vs the sad lyrics, I loved that literature, but no longer recall where i read it. Also, you can definitely tell sometimes that Fishman enjoys the workout/competition when the tempo keeps intensifying. Pages earlier someone mentioned that Fishman made up on TTE for his Hampton chops. I agree. He sounded VERY VERY VERY SLIGHTLY rusty in Hampton, something which I’d never expect. He still brought it 99% of the time, and will always be a top 5 drummer for me.

    This board beats PT in many ways. It is well run (thanks Miner et al), great reads every morning, and awesome insight along with the great shows put up from all eras.

  21. Fish Sauce Says:

    And i love every bit of TTE. It is “”cohesive”” for sure, but I hear it as a whole piece rather than parts. Jammed out or not, it will be awesome live. I can just hear it keeping on going at the end with some soaring guitar. This summer will be incredible.

    Wasn’t having these feelings before, but now I’m jealous of those that are getting to see the first little run up in the NE. I’ve only seen Phish in NC and Miami then Hampton, so my trip to Wiscy and NY will be memorable.

    I’ll be the guy camping at Richard Bong State Park in WI, hopefully renting a Sebring convertible.

  22. Phishhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Says:

    love the new song, at first, a little hesitant, now its stuck in my head and all i wanna do is hear it

  23. Bwana Sun Says:

    ^ I’m with HarryHood… 45 minute Bouncin’ and I’m still stoked. My last show was The Gorge ’03. Needless to say I’m ph-ysched and ready to get my groove on — and I’ve got a field ticket!! Hoping the security is chill enough to let dancing spill out into the aisles and along the side of the field…

    Catching the first three shows — then back to reality until the Fox and late summer. Really bummed to have sold my Asheville & Knoxville tickets — but can’t do ’em all. Those two shows are just my style — indoors: one a hoe-down, throw-down and the other a sleeper for sure.

    Being in my thirties, I guess I’ll take what I can get the time off for… Phenway here we come!! It’s gonna be interesting because it’ll still be light out for most of the show — a different atmosphere that nighttime for sure — but being in the ballpark, it’s bound to be overly fun with the largest gathering of Phans since Coventry…

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    I don’t think this is a place where no one says anything ngeative about anything. It’s just that if you offer a negative critique you do it politely and in the way Billy did: “I don’t like this” rather than “this sucks.”

    There are Phish songs I flatly do not like. Dead songs too. More than just a few in each case.

  25. dr. who Says:

    I for one am nauseated by Time Turns Elastic. The continual buildup for a big dud of trey’s awful singing(albeit better than it or coventry vocally) does not do it for me. This song was a showcase of some good drumming, but the guitar never really goes anywhere but into the lost technical noodling much like most of Phish 2.0 but without the drugs. I was hoping for something with Phish listening to each other jamming out hard like Story of the Ghost….maybe even Farmhousey, or something 46 daysish…this delved further into nowhere, and then more lyrics would come again and again. I don’t think this was even of the “caliber” of Backwards Down the #line, where a jam could pop out at some point and be good. I am rating this as bad as a Tela…on second thought worse- that means it is worse than the following: Secret Smile, Circus, Discern, Friday, Kung, Esther, Tela, and Jennifer Dances.

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