Minerese: Vol. I

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

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.

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“Percussive Grooves”

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.

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“Ambient Soundscapes”

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

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.

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“Blissful Psychedelia”

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.

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“Amoeba Jamming”

An Amoeba

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.

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“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.

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(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.)

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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.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.1.94 Mann Music Center, Philadelphia, PA < Torrent

7.1.94 Mann Music Center, Philadelphia, PA < Megaupload

Mann Music Center - Philly, PA

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 451

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550 Responses to “Minerese: Vol. I”

  1. tela'smuff Says:

    thanks for the clarification Miner. that was fun!

    here’s my guess – thanks for creating a means for me to waste 45 mins of my morning at work.

    Percussive Jam #1 – Piper – 6/21/09 (this could be any number of songs from ’09 as this was a common jam, especially Rock n Roll and Piper)
    Percussive Jam #2 – Piper – 12/12/97 – i think that is the first tease of Birds. this is a stretch.

    Ambient Soundscapes #1 – I’m going with the Knoxville Waves 6/10/09 – but this again was a common ambient jam in ’09.
    Ambient Sounscapes #2 – no clue – it sounds like a ’99 or ’00 jam ala What’s the Use

    Blissful Psychadelia #1 – Is this the Halley’s from 11/22/97?
    Blissful Psychadelia #2 – This is super familiar, is it that Ghost from Japan?

    Amoeba Jamming #1 – Sand from 12/31/99?
    Amoeba Jamming #2 – The end of Piper from 6/21/09? That has to be a ’09 jam.

    Swank Rhythm Licks #1 – A Mike’s Song from ’99?
    Swank Rhythm Licks #2 – A Y.E.M. from ’97 or ’98?

    i tried.

  2. BTB Says:

    “Big Red slices and dices dance grooves like the Iron Chef does meats and vegetables.”

    +2 points

  3. KWL Says:

    minorese–love it!

    sign me up for Miner’s next DJ mix, ‘blissful psychedelia’

  4. kenny powers Says:

    Frankie

    in case you’re out there – dont know if you saw that i responded to your last question in last night’s thread – for Shuggie Otis your first stop should be Inspiration Information. To be honest i’ve only heard that one and “Shuggie’s Boogie”, which is more straight-blues instrumental when he was 15. Amazing chops on that one, more of an introduction to the world of the guitar prodigy.

    But Inspiration Information is the one that David Byrne put out on his label about 10 years ago maybe…kind of a reissue of a great 1974 record that people may have missed at the time. It’s got a very mellow/psychedelic/California feel to it, with soulful lyrics and singing.

    And some super crude early electronic beats and synth, to boot.

  5. kenny powers Says:

    Hey T3

    thanks again! All of the Vapor 10’s in the store were tagged for other people, but the nice gentleman who helped me put an order in for a pair of them at the current sale price.

    Also picked up paddles, stacker for the roof, and PFDs. Thanks again for the heads-up on the sale! Everything ranged from 15-25% off.

  6. SillyWilly Says:

    @Dr. Pro

    That was a great dream! My subconscious has been surprisingly quiet on Phish lately. I wonder if its just the calm before the storm.

    re: Phish at Camp Randall. I could just imagine the “Eat Shit”–“Fuck You” chants going on before the band takes the stage.

    Somehow I think Ron Dayne would have to be referenced in the show and Barry Alvarez would ask the fans to be good sports. John Clay would fumble.

  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    nice, KP! glad to help. I think you’ll be very happy with that choice. perfect boat for what you want to do.

  8. Corey Says:

    ^^@BTB, agreed…

    But I checked out that Voodoo Chile vid on your site yesterday, and thought, wouldn’t it be great for Trey to sound like that for a few minutes.

    Although I play a jillion blues tunes in my jazzy world, I listen to only a handful of players and really listen to SRV the most. He never sounds dated or old and always amazes with both his voice, and of course his playing. His physical style of playing has always blown me away. I can’t imagine the course blues guitar would have taken had he lived on. No one could touch him. He, to me, sounded more honest and true than some of the true blues legends…and he was playing in the 80s for gosh sakes!?!!?

    Sounded like he lived the blues with every note, every shake and wail.

    Oh, and BTB, that young Korean guitarist was somethin’ else! I checked out a few other vids with him and Trace Bundy (I think that’s right, as it was real late) and boy they are amazing. Hope that kid takes his playing to a new place, reinventing how to play. I loved the childish movement that accompanied this incredibly adult sounding guitar.

    I need to show my students what practice’ll do for ya.

  9. kenny powers Says:

    Also, Miner – amazing post today, I love it! There should be a Phictionary of all terms and phrases, with origins when known (aka “hose” coined by Santana)

  10. Leo Weaver Says:

    Morning folks! It’s been a while. Between little bro’s wedding (and related activities), travel, and a day in court (not necessarily bad) I didn’t have much time for the ol’ Blackboard. Feels good to be back.

    Nice post Miner…as I read your articles, I *think* I can hear exactly what you’re referring to with some of your phrases and lingo…well, I can hear exactly what my interpretation is anyway…it’s good to have actual audio definitions. Should be a fun exercise to get the blood moving this morning. And holy shit, tour is just over two weeks away!!!

  11. Mitch Says:

    Minerese: Penultimate

    it means next to last. miner likes to say that instead. first time i read it, i didnt know. thought i’d educate the rest of you.

    that is all for now.

  12. BTB Says:

    Yeah, SRV is absolutely amazing. Such power and energy.

  13. Stupendous Says:

    KP
    shuggie is the man, and that album is beautiful! True Classic
    Diagable Planets sample the second tune on there on one of their tracks…

  14. Stupendous Says:

    MOrning Folks!

  15. Mitch Says:

    miner,
    these are fun. cant wait to hear phish-crack and the rest. (got a blank space right now re:titles) you have so many phrases that i’ve read over last year that they make sense when you know the jams.

    dont forget to trademark or copyright these.
    Minerese©
    Amoeba Jamming©
    etc

  16. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    @ Silly – yeah, I woke up laughing…its the mash-up of phish and sports talk from this board, I’m sure of it. Now where all the nakedness came from, that I’ll save for future analysis…

    Funny how vivid and musical it was though – I’m not usually an auditory dreamer like that, and I average maybe one or two phish dreams a year.

    Oh, BTW, looks like I”m gonna make it back for Alpine if things go as planned, so we’ll have to hang out

  17. the_rizzle Says:

    ahh the minneapolis piper, that whole 2nd set was fire IIRC (which I might not rofl)

  18. Leo Weaver Says:

    ^haha…was thinking about phish-crack myself.

  19. Spunround Says:

    So I know this is a bit off topic, but don’t know where to post this. As I was driving to work this morning, I dusted off a GRAB show from PNC Center (Holmdel New Jersey). I was thinking how great it would be for a sober Trey to hit the road with this line-up. I’m not saying that I don’t like TAB … just sayin to switch it up a bit. Listening to this show… I was thinking that this line-up could really get dark and nasty. There is alot of potential here, and I am surprised that this formation was shelved so quickly.

  20. Corey Says:

    @kenny powers

    Is that on Stretchin’, or another Digable Planets record? I’d like to make the aural connection but that particular sample isn’t credited…but Mayfield is and the Crusaders and a who’s who of jazz greats as well.

    Of course, if you have to dig through a box of music from 1993 to find it, then never mind. 🙂 I’ll try to research a bit harder on my own.

  21. Leo Weaver Says:

    Per zzxyz…today is Bathtub Gin’s 21st birthday! Cheers…and drink up Brett!

  22. tela'smuff Says:

    there for sure needs to be a Miner sample of “crack-like grooves”.

  23. Stupendous Says:

    Corey
    its on blowout comb, i
    believe its the 2nd song…its been a while though

    Wud up C Rizzle!

  24. ThePigSong Says:

    Miner or Anyone: Is there an easy way to find a writeup of the mixes posted on the right hand side? 98 Funk explains itself obv.

    I’m looking for some tunes for a long weekend boating excursion.

  25. marcoesq Says:

    mroning all, off to get some work done, give ye ol’ urine sample for this job and then prepare for my 15min (taped) presentation tomorrow at 8am at the BWI Hilton Hotel!

    Miner-Do you just need us to identify the song or exactly what show it came from?

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