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Seis de Mayo
     

Seis de Mayo

by Trey Anastasio
 
The members of Phish have never been shy about pushing boundaries when taking solo flights, but even by the band's standards, this latest offering from guitarist and guiding force Trey Anastasio packs plenty of surprises in its grooves. Seis de Mayo is made up, essentially, of Phish standards deconstructed and reassembled as classical

Overview

The members of Phish have never been shy about pushing boundaries when taking solo flights, but even by the band's standards, this latest offering from guitarist and guiding force Trey Anastasio packs plenty of surprises in its grooves. Seis de Mayo is made up, essentially, of Phish standards deconstructed and reassembled as classical pieces, some of which can be easily traced to their origins and others that are so radically revamped as to stand entirely alone. "All Things Reconsidered," which initially appeared on Rift, falls into the former category, with its core progressions transposed to string quartet and its tempo slowed down to a hazy fugue. The 12-minute "Guyute" -- which incorporates snippets of several Phish songs, including the skittish "My Friend, My Friend" -- flows in an altogether more complex manner, thanks in part to the fluid playing of the 66-piece Seattlemusic Orchestra. With chattering brass, moaning woodwinds, and darkly looming tympani, the piece carries a Fantasia-like sense of cinematic grandiosity. Anastasio himself plays on just a pair of the disc's seven tracks, the most intriguing of which is "Andre the Giant," which he's retooled for African instrumentation, including a balafon (essentially a Ghanaian xylophone) that's masterfully played by Abou Sylla. Seis de Mayo is more conventionally classical than most rock performers' forays into "serious music," but you don't need a cheat-sheet in order to appreciate it on its own terms.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
With Seis de Mayo, Trey Anastasio returns to the willful musical obscurism that marked his ventures outside of Phish prior to his major-label unveiling as a solo artist, 2002's Trey Anastasio. That record was a delightful surprise since it was both eclectic and polished, featuring the singer/guitarist at his most tuneful and adventurous; arguably, it was better than any Phish album, and it certainly was useful in converting doubters. While 2004's Seis de Mayo isn't as obviously patchwork as One Man's Trash -- whose very title suggests its contents -- it is pieced together from sessions held between 2000 and 2003 and consists largely of reinterpretations of familiar Anastasio instrumental compositions, most now reworked to feature some sort of classical arrangement, ranging from string quartet to a full 66-piece orchestra on the nearly 12-minute closer, "Guyute (Orchestral)." Since Phish have a reputation as an improvistory band, some skeptics might think that their songs aren't so much composed as discovered, but close listening to Anastasio's work reveals that's not the case. Ironically, Trey Anastasio made a stronger case for his work as a composer than Seis de Mayo because it cast a wider net and accomplished more on its own terms. Seis de Mayo is disjointed and diffuse, sounding like an idea sketchbook through its first half before it moves to some very interesting work on the last three tracks, which aren't coincidentally pieces that he wrote with orchestras in mind. They all reveal considerable skill at writing for larger ensembles -- the arrangements are dense and lively, but not overly busy, pushing at dissonance without delving into noise, boasting some muscular themes and countermelodies -- and they're all worthwhile listening. It's not quite enough to make Seis de Mayo successful -- that first half doesn't work particularly well, and while the latter half is interesting, it's not necessarily absorbing -- but it is an admirable experiment that points toward bigger, possibly better, things.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/06/2004
Label:
Elektra / Wea
UPC:
0075596296229
catalogNumber:
62962

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Trey Anastasio   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Conductor
Peter Apfelbaum   Soprano Saxophone
Jonathan Fishman   Drums
Dave Grippo   Baritone Saxophone
Mike Hopkins   Double Bass
Peter Wilson   Timpani
John Rivers   Bass
David Gusakov   Violin
Mike Gordon   Bass
Abou Sylla   Balafon
Jennifer Hartswick   Trumpet
Russell Remington   Tenor Saxophone
Andy Moroz   Trombone
Shelagh Abate   French Horn
Troy Peters   Conductor
Seattlemusic Group   Track Performer
Fode Bangoura   Djembe,Lead
Stacy Brubaker   Flute
Jocelyn Crawford   French Horn
John Dunlop   Cello
Ann Greenawalt   Oboe
Nancy Hartswick   Clarinet
Karen Kevra   Flute
Steve Klimowski   Clarinet
Laura Markowitz   Violin
Craig Olzenak   Bass Clarinet
Jonathan Ranney   Bassoon
Ana Ruesink   Viola
Tom Toner   Marimbas
Janet Ying   Violin
Timothy Ying   Violin
Margaret Phillips   Bassoon
Phillip Ying   Viola
David Ying   Cello

Technical Credits

Trey Anastasio   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Orchestration
Bryce Goggin   Engineer
Brian Valentino   Engineer
Chris Shaw   Engineer
Tom Marshall   Composer
Peter J. Carini   Engineer
Troy Peters   Orchestration,String Arrangements
Kory Kruckenberg   Pro-Tools
Scott Lenhardt   Cover Art
David Sabee   Direction

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