Phish has done it again. The band that loves to keep everybody on the edge of their seats has surprised fans with its latest news.
Phish posted a video of the band recording a brand new track, "Time Turns Elastic," at its website, http://www.phish.com.
The video was accompanied by two exciting announcements: "Time Turns Elastic" is available NOW, exclusively on the iTunes Store (www.itunes.com), and the album that they began recording with producer Steve Lillywhite in March 2009 is already complete and scheduled for release on July 28, 2009.
The video - which comes just days before the launch of Phish's sold-out North American summer tour - is the fifth in a series of innovative event announcements from the band. Phish's first shows in over four years were announced with a time-lapse video of an artist creating a painting that included the band's March 2009 dates at Virginia's Hampton Coliseum. Skywriting, Google Earth-style graphics and the Fenway Park organ were enlisted for announcements regarding the band's 2009 summer tour, generating tremendous chatter amongst Phish fans.
Those who've been watching closely knew something was up when, just last Thursday, guitarist/vocalist Trey Anastasio performed a classical version of "Time Turns Elastic" with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. While he didn't say a word about the upcoming announcements, the performance served as a hint of what was to come.
Recalling the evolution of "Time Turns Elastic," Anastasio says: "I began writing this little tune for Phish - and it just kept growing and growing."
Featuring him alone on acoustic guitar and vocals, the original demo of the song is a tour de force, contrasting life's fragile beauty with nature's proclivity for renewal. While it clearly had a spot in the Phish canon, the song also emerged as an orchestral work, for Anastasio had long been intrigued by the notion of a piece that would blend the intrinsic elegance of classical music with searing blues-rock guitar. Anastasio's original acoustic demo and his orchestral version with The Northwest Sinfonia, conducted by David Sabee will be released on June 9th by Rubber Jungle Records.
When Phish began recording its new album with producer Lillywhite (U2, Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band), the band brought "Time Turns Elastic" full circle. Using Anastasio's initial acoustic demo as a blueprint, they transformed it into an explosive, epic 13-minute, 29-second rock song.
The track will be sold for the price of a standard single and will also be included on Phish's forthcoming album, which will be released by the band's own JEMP Records. Produced in New York City, the as-yet-untitled record is the band's first studio album in five years and its second with Lillywhite, who produced its 1996 album, 'Billy Breathes'.
Phish kicks off its sold-out summer tour on May 31st with a concert at Boston's historic Fenway Park and will play two dates at next month's Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.
The band's three-night stand at Hampton Coliseum was met with critical acclaim. USA Today praised the group for "expertly navigating hairpin changes" and The New York Times noted: "as the opening passage of the anthem 'Fluffhead' enveloped the room, the eruption of exultation was not merely for the band itself but also for the millions in the Phish diaspora who make up perhaps the most fervent fandom in pop music."
"Over a massive, four-hour set, guitarist Trey Anastasio, bassist Mike Gordon, drummer Jon Fishman and keyboardist Page McConnell ripped through dozens of crowd-favorites," said rollingstone.com, going on to note "they're as well-oiled of a machine as they've ever been."
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