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Archive for the ‘Escanaba in Da Moonlight’ Category

sep2000SOUNDTRACK: PHISH-Rift (1993).

riftRift has a kind of story to it (albeit it’s not a real concept album) and you can tell by the full cover (see the bottom) that the story is complex–thank you gatefold sleeves).  The album starts with “Rift” a fast guitar spiral that opens with a harmony vocals on the opening lyric and then a call and response between I believe, Page and Trey as they each take a line of the verse—it’s a cool and surprising opening.

“Fast Enough for You” is a slow country-tinged song (with slide guitar).  This is the first song of their early records that I really don’t know that well.  So it must not get played very much.  It’s a pretty song.  “Lengthwise” is a cute little a capella song (with snoring and clock ticking) which I think about whenever I am alone in a bed: “When you’re there I sleep lengthwise and when you’re gone I sleep diagonal in my bed.”

“Maze” is one of my favorite Phish songs and it sounds great here.  I love the bomp bomp at the end of the verses and the fugue vocals at the end of the song.  This version is fantastic.  “Sparkle” also features fugue and barbershop type vocals (with Mike’s deep voice added in) in a funny silly roping song.  It’s another highlight.  “Horn” has a great opening guitar line (that reminds me of Pearl Jam for some reason).  I’ve always enjoyed this one.  It sounds great here (because you can actually hear what the harmony voices are saying (something you usually can’t in the live setting).  “The Wedge” is a mid tempo song that sounds different from their live versions.

“My Friend My Friend” is a pretty dark song (“My friend, my friend he;s got a knife”) but the opening is a beautiful instrumental with lovely guitar sequences until at 2:30 when the piano takes over and the song becomes slightly menacing.  “Weigh” is a weird song that I rather like.  It’s very piano heavy and very boppy despite the crazy lyrics:  “I’d like to cut your head off to weight it, whaddya say?  5 pounds, 6 pounds, 7 pounds.”  “All Things Reconsidered” a nice NPR joke.  This is a 2 and a half minute instrumental of guitar and keyboards that sort of plays with the NPR “All Things Considered” music.

“Mound” starts with some wonderful out of time signature riffing—4/4 drums and bass and then super fast guitars that don’t quite match until the drums and bass then catch up.  It’s hard to believe that that unusual opening leads to the big catchy bouncy chorus: “And it’s time, time, time for the last rewind.”  “It’s Ice” is a little slower here than live but I kind of like it in this slightly slower version (you can really hear the riffs).  This is another song with fugue-like vocals (they do all of their vocal tricks very well).  “The Horse’ begins as a beautiful Spanish style guitar piece and morphs into a simple acoustic song (it’s al of 90 seconds) which bleeds into “Silent in the Morning,” another highlight from their live shows and a standout here.

Rift might just be my favorite Phish album.

[READ: October 23, 2013] “Escanaba’s Magic Hour”

Once I found out that Tom Bissell had written a number of articles in Harper’s I decided to read them all, especially since some of them already appeared in his book Magic Hours.  This was his first piece for Harper’s and it is the one I remembered most from the book.  So I enjoyed reading it again.

I’m also glad I read the Harper’s version because although I don’t think it varies from the book version at all (and I’m not willing to check), it had pictures from the movie and from Escanaba, which brought a bit more reality to the article.

So, what’s this about a movie?

Well, this article is about Jeff Daniels making a movie in Escanaba, Michigan called Escanaba in da Moonlight (which I haven’t seen, but as I said after reading this the first time, I now feel invested enough in it to want to watch it–reviews are mixed).  And it sounds kind of interesting.  I also really enjoyed the comment that Daniels’ appeal “has something to do with the fact that many men, if asked to cast their lives without undue conceit, might settle on Jeff Daniels to play themselves.” (more…)

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