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While recording Sigma Oasis last November in Trey’s Vermont-based studio The Barn, the band adopted a more intimate approach to the process by eschewing room dividers and the other usual studio accouterment in favor of a setup that closely resembled their live performances. The group kept with the familiar vibe by tapping Ghosts Of The Forest collaborator Vance Powell to help produce their latest studio venture. In addition to Mr. Powell’s predisposed comfortability with Trey and The Barn’s equipment & acoustics after taking part in mixing & engineering the guitarist’s most recent solo project, the Grammy Award-winning producer has also worked with countless notable artists – including Chris Stapleton, The White Stripes, and The Revivalists – making him an ideal choice for Sigma Oasis.
Musically, this album provides a strikingly accurate portrayal of what Phish still does best in 2020. The nearly seventy-minute nine-song track-list contains a healthy mix of ballads (“Leaves”, “Shade”, “A Life Beyond The Dream”) as well as funky rockers (“Steam”) and a pair of 10-plus minute epics (“Everything’s Right” and “Thread”) with extended jams that represents some of Phish’s most adventurous studio material to date.
In addition to the relatively polished vocals – usually not one of the band’s strong suits – the album also features robust production values, with pristinely mixed recordings as well as the subtle, yet effective, use of string and choral arrangements throughout, adding to the depth & “fullness” of the LP’s overall sound.
While every song selected for Sigma Oasis has previously been performed live by Phish, the track-list still has a varied concert history, ranging from “Steam” – a (mostly) second-set regular with dozens of appearances since its 2011 debut – to brand new material such as “Evening Song”, which first appeared in concert in December of 2019. This is also the first Phish studio album since Farmhouse in 2000 to be comprised entirely of material in which Trey was the primary composer. ~Glidemagazine.com
|A Life Beyond The Dream|