If you’ve never heard of the band Kasvot Växt, don’t feel too bad — they’re pretty obscure. One Allmusic review points out their sole album, dubbed í rokk, was released on a tiny label so small it was essentially a private press.” The band members themselves were pretty enigmatic — each of the four members having met during a scientific research project and falling out pretty soon after í rokk was released. Their label also tanked, and most copies of í rokk were incinerated in a warehouse fire.
It’s rather lucky, then, that Vermont-based jam band and drug culture impresarios Phish deigned to bring the music of Kasvot Växt back into the public consciousness, opting to continue their intermittent Halloween tradition of covering a classic album in its entirety at one of their shows. Last night, on stage at a Las Vegas show, Phish chose to cover Kasvot Växt’s í rokk in full, to the delight of an audience who had never heard of the band before.
There’s just one problem: Kasvot Växt doesn’t exist.
That’s right; according to Spin, Phish pulled off an elaborate prank to conjure an obscure Scandinavian rock band out of thin air, with the aid of a number of co-conspirators, including the aforementioned Allmusic, as well as WFMU and Perfect Sound Forever, who wrote blog posts and interviews with fake band members, and made up playlists featuring the band’s music. Everything from the band’s songs, to the elaborate mythology behind its over the top characters, was all part of a charming effort to bamboozle music fans into thinking they’d unearthed a whole new sound they’d never discovered before.
As a reviewer for JamBase implied of last night’s show, perhaps Kasvot Växt was an inventive way to break out of Phish’s phunk, calling the album “an ambitious suite of original Phish music played in the style of an ’80s prog-rock band yet still had elements of the Vermont-birthed quartet’s distinctive sound.”
Either way, this feels like a very Phish move – here comes the joker, we all must laugh.
A webcast of the show is available via Phish’s website. Check out the Kasvot Växt portion of the setlist below.
Skilpadde skyer (Turtles in the Clouds)
Vallast Hund (Stray Dog)
Allt Er Holt (Everything is Hollow)
Við Erum Komin Lever Utover Hjernen (We Are Come to Outlive Our Brains)
Si Den Til Meg U.N.T.T.O.S. (Say It to Me S.A.N.T.O.S.)
Viimeinen Hurra (The Final Hurrah)
Pelata Leikkiä (Play By Play)
Viileä Meripihka Ja Elohopea (Death Don’t Hurt Very Long)
Kuolema Ei Mjög Langt (Cool Amber and Mercury)
Liggur í Gegnum (Passing Through)