type II cast

a type II podcast, broadcasting from the hose.

Episode 70: Phish’s Abstract Moment


Listen to Episode 70

This week, the podcast pushes the boundaries of recorded Phish analysis as we are joined by Zac Cohen and Andy Greenberg, resident essayists at Please Me Have No Regrets. On this episode, I’m talking with Zac and Andy about a piece they’ve been hard at work on over the past few weeks; “Phish’s Abstract Moment.” It is their contention that just after covering The Beatles “White Album” on Halloween in 1994, Phish embarked on a nearly-year long journey in which their dominant mode of jamming was an “Abstract” one, characterized by a willingness to explore the outer reaches of their own catalog. Zac and Andy discuss some of the influences leading up to this important moment in Phish’s career when they produced some of the most dramatic and emotionally evocative improvisations of their entire career. They also examine the significance of this type of jamming and the legacy it has left on the band’s current material. Though much of the music is difficult, disjointed, and strange sounding, it speaks to the nether regions of your musical souls and Type II Cast claims no liability if tonight’s clips MELT YOUR FACE.

Type II Cast will be back in June with the next Game Show Extravaganza, details to drop “soon.”

Thanks for listening,


PS – Read the Essay Here

Show Notes:

Episode 70

Title: Phish’s Abstract Moment

Date: 05/21/2013

Hosts: Zachary Cohen and Andy Greenberg, @theBaby’sMouth

Producer: Stephen Olker

Run Time: 1:49:32

File Size: 120.4 mb

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Author: UNOlker

Host and Producer of TWoL and TypeII Podcasts.

11 thoughts on “Episode 70: Phish’s Abstract Moment

  1. Excellent. Great listen. Informative. Contemplative. Very educated insight and discussion. Well informed opinions with firm foundations. Nice work gentleman. Thank you Steve, Zac, and Andy. Enjoyed it immensely.

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed this. Ashamed to say its my first time listening to the podcast. I plan on listening to many more.

  3. Really great discussion. I especially appreciated the in-depth discussion of the jams themselves and the role of each member’s playing in relation to the others (the discussion of Fishman’s role in the abstract jamming was illuminating!).

    I do have a bone to pick. They may have been playing “A Tribute to Jack Johnson” over the PA during 94-95, but I really don’t see their music/jams of this period having much to do with Miles’s music in the late 60s-early 70s. I’m not even sure what ‘acid jazz’ is, but Miles’s music was definitely not ‘free jazz’. It could be argued that Miles was actually *reacting to* the free jazz movement represented by Ornette Coleman (and even his old pal, John Coltrane). Mile’s music was groove oriented rooted in funk/R&B rhythms (influenced mostly by James Brown) and blues/rock forms of tonality (he was listening to a lot of Jimi Hendrix at the time!). The point is the music was highly structured and not ‘free’ and not particularly ‘abstract’ (if abstract means departing from Western time and harmonic norms).

    In fact, it should be pointed out that it was Phish’s 1997 jamming style that is directly influenced by the Miles brand of Jazz/Funk/Rock fusion. I actually remember reading something (who knows where) where Page says this explicitly (and Trey has mentioned he listened to a lot of “Dark Magus” in 1997-98). The groove orientation eventually made its way into more ambient/melodic/spacey territory (I would argue we are still living with this groove/ambient style with some ‘plinko’ thrown in). It is way easier on the ear compared to some of the (sometimes unlistenable) abstract stuff from 94-95. That said, you guys make a really compelling argument about the ‘abstract moment’ being a necessary outgrowth of early 90s tight Phish and necessary precursor to the more structured jams of Fall 95 and groove/ambient style of 97 and beyond. Thanks again!

  4. I world love the chance to be on the Trivia Game!!!..

  5. To follow up on mhuber78′s thoughts, I think it’s interesting to note that Miles Davis’ “A Tribute To Jack Johnson” was constructed largely in the studio after the recording sessions, just like his previous two albums, “In A Silent Way” and “Bitches Brew”. The complete studio sessions for “Jack Johnson” fill a six CD boxset from which producer Teo Macero edited together what he and Miles thought were the best clips. In some ways, it’s like what Phish did with “The Siket Disc” as opposed to releasing an “Oh Kee Pa” session.

  6. Great listen, thanks folks. Where do you post the listing of clips?
    One of my personal favorite abstract jams during this period is 6-16-1995 Runaway Jim. After a scorching Melt to end the first set, Phish uncorked an amazing exploratory piece of music to open set II. This mind blowing effect of this one really stuck with me over the years. :)

  7. Clips:

    01. 1994/10/31 – Back in the U.S.S.R

    02. 1994/11/02 – Tweezer – 7:25-10:00

    03 1994/11/02 – Tweezer – 12:00-15:00

    04. 1994/11/03 – Melt – 7:00-9:13

    05. 1994/11/23 – Tweezer – 10:00-14:00

    06. 1994/12/29 – Bowie – 14:00-18:00

    07. 1994/12/29 – Bowie – 26:30-29:30

    08. 1995/06/09 – Bowie – 5:40-8:40

    09. 1995/07/02 – Runaway Jim – 12:00-14:00

    10. 1995/06/22 – Tweezer – 8:20-12:00

    11. 1995/06/22 – Tweezer – 24:00-27:34

    12. 1995/06/22 – Tweezer – 32:29-34:05
    OUTRO: 1995/06/22 – Tweezer (41:00) > Tweezer Reprise (end)

  8. Loved the episode. Also the excitement regarding the coming tour and the adjectives used to describe their current sound and style. Refined, controlled yet dynamic!

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