The Siket Disc

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Phish's The Siket Disc, named for engineer and mixer John Siket, contains improvisations performed by the group in the late winter and early fall of 1997 at sessions for its album The Story of the Ghost. Originally available only by mail order from the band, it was given a retail release by Elektra shortly after Phish announced that it was going on an indefinite hiatus in the fall of 2000. The release was some indication that the band and its record label would endeavor to keep the pipeline filled during Phish's absence, however long that might be. But as an addition to the group's catalog, it was slight. Theoretically, a band like Phish finds its greatest moments of inspiration in the formless, spontaneous interplay between the players, but that interplay is also conditioned by the song, and even the overall concert or album, in which it is contained. On their own, these nine examples of Phish's improvisatory style don't sound like much, though they range from guitar solos to ambient sounds. For fans, who can provide the context for themselves, that's fine; but a more general audience is likely to find itself wondering when the tracks are going to coalesce into something, which of course they never do.

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