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Old 01-28-2011, 09:30 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I never heard of it. Is it good? I would love to get to know them.
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:38 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c91329 View Post
I never heard of it. Is it good? I would love to get to know them.
Yes, sir! They're some of the best instrumentalists you're going to find on their respective instruments.

Just check out the videos I've linked; those are decent showcases of the band as a whole. They work extremely well together.
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:52 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Just discovered this banter, through this thread, today. I ate it up and eagerly await more. My lifelong (well, since I was 15) addiction to Phish has ebbed and flowed, and it's currently risen back to near-ridiculous status. I too am curious to know how you rate the later albums. For as much as I love the boys and have continued to go to shows (and am listening to so much live stuff of theirs these days), my interest in the studio albums tapered off almost completely. I loved (most of) the Ghost material (was touring full-bore at that period), but have never owned even a copy of the album. There was a brief resurgence in interest with Farmhouse. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved it. After that, I can sum up my enthusiasm for the studio output as "Meh."

The studio Llama (and Picture of Nectar as a whole) was my first Phish exposure, as my brother picked up Nectar, WSP's Space Wrangler, and Spin Doctor's Pocket Full of Kryptonite immediately after reading the HORDE article in a '92 Rolling Stone (we were already big Blues Traveler fans). You are so right about Fish's playing on Llama. It bowled me over, and as soon as I heard Trey's opening riff that sounded like something Hendrix would have thought up (Trey loves Band of Gypsys), I immediately scrounged up a Maxell and dubbed myself a copy (a pirate from the old days). I was so impressed that there are almost as many styles of music as there are tracks, and that's after I'd already been sold before I got 4 measures into the opening cut.

Anyway, carry on. Good stuff.
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:18 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Welcome to the site! I'm glad that you came across it, and this thread. Really hope you enjoyed the reviews posted thus far - then again, the earlier output by the guys is easy to really review because it's just such a joy to listen to.

Phish have never been about their studio stuff, and we all know this - it's just really pretty cool to sit down and listen to, and most people find studio albums way more accessible than live recordings...although I do plan to work my way through reviewing their official live albums, maybe working my way through the entire LivePhish release catalog as well! (With some special shows near and dear to my heart which have never had an official release!) I will have to also review all of their solo output, side projects, etc... but gotta get these reviews done first, for sure!

As far as their live stuff goes, that's definitely where it's at. That's where the magic happens. A lot of people have been bitching about Phish 3.0, which kind of bums me out a little, but I guess that's just how it goes. It's almost as depressing when people say, "Well, at least they're still playing," like they're implying it's not ideal but could be worse. I actually think a lot of the tightest playing in a while has come out of Phish 3.0. Then again, there are the folks who hate the band's live output in the early 2000s through to Coventry. I disagree with them as well, I guess - they had some of the most far out there, interesting live versions of many, many songs during that time. But we all know how Trey was then, so...I'm just glad that he's looking happy and healthy now. And the Ocedoc is a sweet axe.

Anyway, I'm rambling on incessantly and haven't slept in 48 hours, so I'm not even sure this is coherent...but I'll have Rift finished after I wake up, and then can probably do Hoist and Billy Breathes fairly shortly thereafter, as I've listened to them closely and repeatedly in the past few days and got all of the preliminary notes and such.

So, yeah - glad that you found the forum and this thread, and hope that you stick around! There's a lot of cool people on here, and a lot less drama than on PT, although less Phish talk...but it's still there!

And I will get some new reviews posted very soon!
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:00 PM   #25 (permalink)
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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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Old 07-25-2011, 02:03 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Great reviews so far, they've been quite interesting and comprehensive. I tip my hat to you, sir.

I have to admit my knowledge of Phish's studio work isn't what it could be, I'm more into listening to their live recordings for the experimental jamming and just overall live music energy. I've seen them live twice now at Alpine and Watkins Glen, and have been completely blown away and humbled by their talent and spontaneous creativity each time. I'm going to have to give Rift a listen, the story sounds quite intriguing and there are some great tracks on it, most of which ive listened to, but not in the proper order it seems.

Anyways, good luck with the rest of the reviews mate. Cheers.
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Old 09-17-2011, 10:16 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Thanks - I'm really working on Hoist right now, but it's difficult to do so wholly objectively; I've not ever been a huge fan of the effort, and I want to find some solid merit in it before I post.
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