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, comment by ProfessorDude
ProfessorDude I recently read A Tiny Space to Move and Breath, and I have to say that I couldn't disagree more with the review above. Mr. Waxbanks has produced what is, in my opinion, some of the smartest analysis of Phish ever written. Did I agree with all of it? No, I didn't. But I agreed with a lot of it, and the parts that I didn't assent to were always smart and thought-provoking. Most writing on Phish tends to a product of fandom. It is reflexively approving, lacking in even a basic knowledge of musical history (outside of the Dead and 70s classic rock), ignorant of musical theory, and more about the experience of the show and the scene than about the music itself. Waxbanks has produced a book that is none of these things. He is interested, first and foremost in the music of Phish, and his insights come not from having been at most of the shows about which he writes, but from an immersion in musical history, musical theory, and (in a very general sense) a grasp of modern Cultural Theory. When he uses figurative language -- which is pretty often -- it isn't in the way that a certain rather famous blogger uses it, as embellishment; rather, it's as a tool to help open up some of Phish's complex ideas for analysis. Oh, and while he is a fan, he isn't a "phan." The result is a book that, at times, can feel pretentious, but that offers up insight after brilliant insight; that makes bold judgments that shock you out of your comfort zone; that sometimes embarrasses with its personal revelations; and that puts Phish in a broader musical and philosophical context than it ever gets framed by usually. Not everything in the book thrills me equally, but the bits that make me say 'wow' make me say it out loud on the subway and in the library so that people look up at me and squint.

So, if you want to read Phish discourse that recalls how spun the reviewer was, what the lot scene was like, or that overuses adjectives such as "psychedelic" in an attempt to sound literary, then this isn't the book for you. If you want to read a clever, pretentious, but ultimately insightful and rewarding book that's worth chewing over, then I encourage you to buy and read it.


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