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Old 07-18-2011, 11:00 PM   #25 (permalink)
ThePhanastasio
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Phish

Rift

Elektra (1993)

You'll never get out of this maze.


Track Listing:
1.) Rift (Anastasio, Marshall) - 6:13
2.) Fast Enough For You (Anastasio, Marshall) - 4:51
3.) Lengthwise (Fishman) - 1:19
4.) Maze (Anastasio, Marshall) - 8:13
5.) Sparkle (Anastasio, Marshall) - 3:54
6.) Horn (Anastasio, Marshall) - 3:37
7.) The Wedge (Anastasio, Marshall) - 4:07
8.) My Friend, My Friend (Anastasio, Marshall)- 6:09
9.) Weigh (Gordon) - 5:08
10.) All Things Reconsidered (Anastasio, Marshall) - 2:32
11.) Mound (Gordon) - 6:02
12.) It's Ice (Anastasio, Marshall) - 8:14
13.) Lengthwise (Fishman) - 0:34
14.) The Horse (Anastasio, Marshall) - 1:23
15.) Silent In the Morning (Anastasio, Marshall) - 5:28

Phish, self-described as "cow funk" by guitarist / vocalist Anastasio, are probably best known for their explosive live shows full of extended improvisational jams, amazing light design (by long-time friend Chris Kuroda), and interesting onstage antics (band members jumping on trampolines, playing chess with the audience, drummer Fishman playing vacuum cleaner). Many, however, are completely clueless about the studio work of this band, which has released 14 studio albums to date.

In 1993, Phish released their 6th studio album Rift, a concept album which Anastasio described as being literally about a man attempting to fall to sleep while thinking on a "rift" in his relationship. As the man drifts in and out of sleep, he is plagued with thoughts of intense regret, illusions of being trapped in a maze from which is there no escape, skating with his reflection, and numerous other half-conscious musings. As such, Rift is a concept album, but one rooted strongly in one man's struggle instead of typical epic themes adopted by concept albums.

When one mentions an excellent album by the band, almost without fail Junta is going to pop up in the conversation. This is definitely an acceptable observation, but it remains an extreme disappointment that this album, a gem in its own right, is so rarely brought up in conversation.

With Rift, Phish emerged with a much tighter sound. While earlier albums were great in their own right, some being particularly excellent, there were still bits and pieces where the band was still raw and very much in its infancy. With this album, all of the elements of the band came together. Keys player McConnell and guitarist Anastasio do a particularly sublime job of switching up between leading the melody and offering precisely placed fills. The rhythm section of bassist Gordon and drummer McConnell had never sounded so on point and in sync. This was the band beginning to reach their potential.

The band's funkier side is shown on tracks such as "The Wedge", "Mound", and "Weigh", with intricate composition and vocal layering typical of the band shines on tracks such as "Rift", "The Horn", "Maze", and "It's Ice". This album is a concept album, but it's not same-y enough to get dull.

To me, this has always been a late fall or early winter sort of album. In spite of the current Southern climate of ten million degrees, give or take, I'll have to say that Rift does maintain its charm and integrity.

The boys were but mere babes, in their twenties, and had created something which was able to really take hold of the listener and touch something within which seemed to be lacking until being filled with the inherent honesty of the album; most everyone can relate to failed relationships, but seldom has the void been filled with such sincerity and competency. There are beautiful moments on the album (see "Horn" and parts of "Maze" and "It's Ice" for jusitification, but overall, it touches something. It touches that deepest part of people, which is often left shielded, and leaves the listener with a smile.

While such tracks as "My Friend, My Friend" are dubiously related to the concept as a whole, it holds its own certain steam and train of thought. As a person falling into sleep, you're thinking on the things which bother you, but your thoughts will absolutely take a turn for the bizarre as sleep begins to attain your consciousness.

Beauty and absurdity are resplendent on this offering from the band, which, I must reiterate, is very much an underappreciated gem. There is much instrumental prowess displayed, but the lyrical journey, something Phish have never been exactly lauded for, is one of the major payoffs.

Its complexity in conjunction with its firm grasp of the human struggle and dreams is what makes this a particularly poignant effort, and one which should (although is often not) praised.

If you've completely ignored my ramblings thus far, please download this album and do yourselves a favor. Listen to it fully, and listen to it long and hard. You'll understand. I promise you, you'll understand.

RIFT:


HORN:


IT'S ICE:


LENGTHWISE > MAZE:


MY FRIEND, MY FRIEND





GRADE: A
(96/100)
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Last edited by ThePhanastasio; 07-18-2011 at 11:07 PM.
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