With tour just around the corner, I’ll be writing reviews of Phish shows again before too long, and for that I am grateful. While considering my reviews, I thought a good way to change things up and prepare for tour would be to look more closely at some of my more commonly-used phrases when describing Phish music. In an attempt to make my writing clearer for those reading along this summer, I’ve created some audio excerpts to serve as aural definitions of some terms. Today we’ll start with five basic terms, and I’ll put together a couple more installments of “Minerese” before tour starts.
Often growing out of high-speed rock jams, these are the sparser segments where all band members offer rhythmic phrases in unison with each other. When traced back to its origin, this type of jamming grew out of Halloween ’96’s adventure, Remain In Light.
Built from layers of sound, these passages can take different forms. While often drifting into spacey realms, “ambient soundscapes” can also remain anchored to harmonies and/or melodies. I’ve tried to select differing examples to illustrate this difference.
Emerging deep within a jam, these are the sacred places that Phish reaches after the initial segment of improv has settled. Pieces of unique music that reach deep into the soul, segments described as “blissful psychedelia” evoke the emotions and majesty associated with the magic of Phish.
This is a term I coined years ago when trying to describe those musical passages where nobody is truly leading the jam. Each member pushes and pulls the music ever so slightly, creating an “amoeba-like” dynamic of non-linear improv. These jams can also take differing directions, so I, again, tried to choose different examples.
“Swank Rhythm Licks”
When Trey is feeling his funk-mojo, he’s one of the best rhythm players around. Taking time away from soaring solos, Big Red slices and dices dance grooves like the Iron Chef does meats and vegetables. Check out these vibrant late ’90s examples of Trey getting down with his bad self.
(If anyone wants to attempt to identify all the audio samples, the winner can select the Download of the Day and write the blurb for the next three days. Some ’09 is featured.)
Jam of the Day:
“Piper” 10.2.99 II
After “Tweezer > On Your Way Down,” Phish was hardly done jamming at Minneapolis’ Target Center in ’99. In a year that saw many an amazing “Piper,” this version is among the upper echelon.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
7.1.94 Mann Music Center, Philadelphia, PA < Megaupload
A Summer ’94 stop at one of Phish’s classic venues of the mid-90s, amidst Fairmont Park in Philly.
I: Runaway Jim, Foam, Sample in a Jar, NICU, Stash, The Mango Song, It’s Ice, Tela, Julius, Suzy Greenberg
II: David Bowie, If I Could, Fluffhead, Down with Disease > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday Reprise, Possum, Hold Your Head Up > Terrapin > Hold Your Head Up, Harry Hood, Cavern
E: Rocky Top
Source: AKG 451Tags: Culture