For those who've ever wondered what Phish would sound like decked out in symphony drag and performing a score that runs the gamut from Fantasia wonder to Indiana Jones joy-riding, Trey Anastasio has provided at least a partial answer with Time Turns Elastic. Collaborating with arranger Don Hart, Anastasio has crafted a soundtrack without filmic imagery, a trilogy of movements that ebb and flow with cinematic tension between Hart's swelling orchestrations and Anastasio's delicate guitar phrasings.
Album opener "Movement 1" establishes the instrumental atmosphere, leading into Anastasio's vocal turns on "Movement 2." "Submarine" comes off like a Rufus Wainwright-conducts-Phish prism of cryptic theatricality, while "Landslide" dances and lilts with Mark Knopfler-esque fluidity, as Hart surrounds Anastasio with a score that suggests Randy Newman's wry humor, Raymond Scott's serious whimsy and John Barry's sophisticated cool. With "Movement 3," Anastasio channels his jazz chops which Hart underpins with more traditional classicism before ultimately returning to the album's main themes. As an added bonus, Anastasio closes with the acoustic demo that launched the concept, a sonic sketchpad that hints at the majesty that Hart ultimately invests in the work.
— Brian Baker
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