PHISH has released their new studio album, Sigma Oasis today, April 2. The band hosted a worldwide listening party of the album in its entirety last night, April 1, via YouTube and Facebook. Produced by Phish and Vance Powell (Chris Stapleton, Jack White, Arctic Monkeys), the album’s nine tracks were recorded last November at The Barn, the band’s longtime studio outside of Burlington, Vermont.
Phish surprised their fans on Tuesday night, announcing Sigma Oasis with a videotaped announcement from the four of them, during a setbreak as part of their “Dinner And A Movie” series of full concerts airing every week at http://livephish.com.
Sigma Oasis came to be during the first week of November 2019, but it wasn’t planned that way at all. We were headed up to The Barn to rehearse for our fall tour and ended up discussing this batch of relatively recent songs that we were particularly proud of and always wished we had recorded, but hadn’t had a chance to yet. Trey suggested calling up Vance Powell as he mixed and engineered Ghosts Of The Forest. Vance was very familiar with the space and the console so we set up the gear with no room dividers, no click tracks. Nothing. Just like a Phish show. Open space. We played for a couple days. We just played a bunch of songs -- very quickly, a few takes, very organic, natural, live, honest. We had the best time.
When we were done, our photographer Rene came up and asked us to come out on the porch and snap a photo. It took about two minutes. And that’s the album cover -- a snapshot of our band at that point in time.
Vance had some stuff on his schedule so he asked as a favor if we would mind if he didn’t mix until early March. Now four months might sound like a long time, but it gave all of us time to work on the tracks -- Page overdubbed a lot of keyboards at home. Trey went to a studio in New York and did vocals and percussion. We had time to pick which songs we wanted to work on. We let a few of them go, which was difficult, but that’s ok.
When we recorded the album, we didn’t plan to release it this way. But today, because of the environment we’re all in, it just feels right. We don’t know the next time that we’re all going to be able to be together. This is an opportunity to have a moment where the Phish community can share something despite being physically separated.
The last line of the chorus of “Sigma Oasis” sums up this point -- There’s no place to get. There’s nothing to achieve. There’s no place to be. We’re here. Right here, right now is as good as it gets. “You’re already there.” It’s a content state of mind. You’re just completely in the moment. “You’re already there.” You already have everything you need. Sigma Oasis. It aligns with where we are in our career and as friends and musicians. There’s a joy to the playing. We’re not clamoring to make it. Make what? We’re already there! Sigma Oasis.
A Life Beyond the Dream
Phish on Sigma Oasis:
Take off, take off take off your mask
The fear’s an illusion so don’t even ask
You’re finally weightless so take to the air
Sigma Oasis, you’re already there