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.

tte_200

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.

(G.Stewart)

(G.Stewart)

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.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

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”

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  1. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    mmmm a nugget from my hometown

    i wouldn’t be surprised if they just play it live the way it is without any jamming like a divided sky or fluffhead, but even still it’s gonna sound even better live, can’t wait

  2. ColonelJoy Says:

    That is what I was thinking here in Mosul after a listen on the way to the toilet-trailer for a download….Phish’s earlier composed pieces had very zappa-esque changes. This is more fluid. Again, I liken it to Metheny Group’s “The Way Up”. A cross between Metheny, King Crimson, and Phish…

    They production sounds great, as to be expected from Lillywhite….I’ve listened to Billy Breathes several times lately straight through….definately still their best record…..Wish Lilly had been on board for Ghost….

    I think Trey’s guitar sounds great on TTE. I don’t understand the complaints about that. There will definately be some laser-soloing on the live version, kids, so be patient.

    Fishman’s drumming is so perfect. I can’t get enough of that dude. He really is the best there is, Like a cross between Bufford and Kreutzman…loose and tight simultaneoulsy, amazing fills, well timed power….awesome!

    Is that a Chapman Stick at 4:30?

  3. Dr SF Jones Says:

    Man, I am absolutely loving this tune !!! 5 times in a row already this morning.
    I agree with the Colonel. Fishman’s drumming is perfect. You can really hear the Keith Moon influence in his playing too. Like a cross between Bill Bruford and an in control Keith Moon. Totally awesome and perfect. I can’t say enough…..

  4. yisseroff Says:

    I did one run-through last night, but rather than barricade myself by listening to it multiple times, I think I’ll save until tonight and listen to it again with a good pair of headphones. Regardless, I was pretty impressed- big fan of the equality instrumentals, and without a doubt Fishman is ripping on this one. Definitely a step in the right direction IMO, as it gives Page the right to shine as he did in Hampton.

  5. yisseroff Says:

    … and by “barricade,” I mean “bombard.” Where’s my coffee…

  6. ColonelJoy Says:

    Actually, I like “barricade”…it works in this context

  7. Specialistforbin Says:

    I can’t get on board with this one. The lyrics are horribly hippy, and they make me cringe. Trey’s songwriting, at least the lyrical part, has gotten all touchy-feely on the past couple albums. “Silver Sounds raining down on me?” “Green where you tumble and roll through these fields?” Oh boy. Hopefully we’ll get some normal lyrics on the album. Or at least normal in the Phish sense.

  8. arbitropia Says:

    Really loving it. Special nod to Fishman. Sounds very natural, sort of primary Phish music, the sound of those four guys goin’ at it on an ambitious tune. A beautiful recording, very happy Lillywhite’s behind the board again. Some similarities to Pebbles and Marbles (which I love) but much broader in scope. Can’t wait to hear it live.

    Notice at the very end, after the last guitar echo dies out, Fishman (I think) says (presumably of the take) “I liked the one before that.” Very funny to leave that on the final version. Their confidence seems pretty high at the moment.

  9. CashCrowe Says:

    In an odd sort of way, it really reminds me of the Who or at least something Pete Townshend would write. I mean that in the best way, of course.

  10. HarryHood Says:

    @ Miner

    Way to throw in the Kobe reference with “doin’ work” Very sly my friend.

  11. ColonelJoy Says:

    Yeah, I didn’t notice the Fishman comment until my second listen.

    This song will be played at Fenway for sure….don’t be surprised if they play it in consecutive shows….they will want to work the fuck out of it.

  12. Tweeprise Says:

    There are parts of the tune that remind me of old Genesis. Anyone else? Maybe I am crazy. I am very excited to hear how this translates live this summer.

    I second the kudos for the “doin’ work” comment. Great job, Miner.

  13. c0wfunk Says:

    lovin TTE — the “melody” section in the middle is bad ass and is going to kill it in a live setting .. I enjoyed this tune orchestrally in Knoxville and was strangely attracted to its entire being – it seems like a very intimate snapshot from Trey – from first listen. It’s great to hear it come alive as a phish song! The prog rock setion at the end is something we haven’t heard from Trey in quite a while .. I’m interested to see if he’s got any other compositions up his sleeve .. The peak has a rock n roll feel about it and is sure to cast a sparkle on many a summer venue ..

    in and out of focus.

    has anyone seen a recording of the BSO show surface yet?

  14. c0wfunk Says:

    ..anyone who was worried about phish going mainstream should be assuaged by their first new single being thirteen and a half minutes long!

  15. PB Says:

    Miner – thanks for your post. I completely agree. Unfortunately, I spent some time on the PT board, what a pack of idiots over there. Seriously, you are dealing with the emotional IQ of an 11 year old boy and the maturity level of an 8 year old. So many haters. I really miss the days when the crowd was less like a football crowd and more like a Phish crowd. Thanks for restoring my faith in the phanbase.

  16. Kaveh Says:

    Any chance, anyone has a copy of Trey’s acoustic demo for a posting?

  17. ColonelJoy Says:

    Essentially, it is a superior version of some of Trey’s writing from Phish 2.0, definately hinting at the longer Round Room pieces, as well as Scents and Sublte Sounds. Walls of the Cave is my least favorite Phish song ever…..this is already a new fav…

  18. ColonelJoy Says:

    BSO is available on Sugarmegs….it’s fucking sick!!

  19. the foonshoe Says:

    What a fantastic return to writing and recording this song is! Fenway opener? We’ll see soon!

  20. Albert Walker Says:

    I heard similarities from Round room pieces more than Undermind also.
    Vocals and grooves more important than individual notes or solos.
    As someone earlier posted early Genesis influences pretty heavy.

  21. Pence Says:

    I soley credit this (v) to Phish getting back together —-> http://money.cnn.com/2009/05/27/news/economy/NABE_recovery_outlook/index.htm?postversion=2009052703

  22. wasmm Says:

    HarryHood are you still looking to get rid of that Mansfield pav?

  23. HarryHood Says:

    In addition to PB’s comment:

    I haven’t spent much time on PT mostly because I started following this site more frequently and found the dialogue more centered around “our” generation of phans. i.e. the late 20’s early 30’s generation who literally grew up along with the band…….. As much as I love introducing someone new to the scene, it’s really hard to not get annoyed with the huge influx of kids who can’t survive without their i-phones and mom and dad’s credit card. I miss the days when the lot scene was all about helping each other out, making new friends, and having a great time……. Sites like PT just show how immature the younger generation is and give you the feeling like you need to be more cautious on the lot for people trying to screw you out of a buck………. Thank you Mr. Miner for running a site that holds true to the original roots that Phish created! 4 days till Fenway!!!!!!

  24. Brimley Says:

    First off…Fuck Kobe! If he didn’t have some money, he would be in a 6 x 9 for raping a girl and then he buys a 14 million dollar ring to make up to his wife for raping/cheating….He isn’t and never will be close to MJ….I’ve listened to the tune once and here were my first thoughts: it had a 70’s rock feel at times; I need to listen again obviously but the lyrics weren’t my favorite; as stated, Fishman blowws this thing up; some compared it to Terrapin but I thought some portions reminded me of Blues for Allah; I absolutely hope they play it first night Alpine [my only show this summer] because my thoughts are that they will have played it a few times by then and be ready to stretch it out a little…anyone remember the 30 min. Fluffhead

  25. Pencilneck Says:

    @ Dancing Fool, good to see a fellow Torontonian here. sweet.
    @ Miner, merci for the hometown nugget.
    @ Brimley. Kobe rules. And he ain’t raped nobody.

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