Wendy Eisenberg — Its Shape Is Your Touch (Oct. 16, 2018) Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Album release: October 16, 2020
Record Label: VDSQ Records
1. Sol Lewitt 4:32
2. Lethe 6:09
3. Early November 8:13
4. Eridanos 5:40
5. The Designated Mourner 5:02
6. Sawn 4:57
7. All Saints 5:40
BY S. VICTOR AARON ⌊DECEMBER 19, 2018⌋ Score: ★★★★
χ♦ One of Boston’s best kept secrets is becoming a secret no longer. Guitarist, banjo player, singer, composer and poet Wendy Eisenberg has arrived in the hyper~competitive NYC improvised music arena, collaborating with the likes of John Zorn. While immersing herself into the vibrant Downtown scene this wildly divergent artist is staying engaged with the outer fringes of rock as part of the acclaimed heady, experimental punk combo Birthing Hips and now, her new rock band Editrix.
χ♦ Last year, Eisenberg quietly released a song cycle Time Machine, a DIY, lo~fi affair that presented her as a singer~songwriter, although a very offbeat singer-songwriter. Its Shape Is Your Touch is one of two albums just released that serve as Eisenberg’s debut records as an improviser, where her unique qualities on guitar are magnified. Shape gets to the essence of Eisenberg as a guitarist, playing acoustic guitar unaccompanied and without much forethought.
χ♦ It’s difficult to describe an artist in relation to other artists when that person is so idiosyncratic, but Eisenberg’s guitar style shows some of the earmarks of Derek Bailey, Sonny Sharrock and Marc Ribot. It’s also tempting to compare her to perhaps the reigning queen of improvised guitar Mary Halvorson, but they are two different birds, connected in approach only indirectly through the common influence of Anthony Braxton. And on those moments where she does sound evocative of someone else, it often seems coincidental.
χ♦ There are a lot (a lot more than you’d think, anyway) of experimental guitarists out there who are truly amazing musicians. Where Eisenberg stands apart from that crowd is her fret dexterity is never used as a means onto itself, there’s a purpose to her playing and whether she gets the job done by being a showoff or not, she seems completely unconcerned about that. Much as when she is singing lyrics or reciting poetry, there’s a narrative quality to her guitar diction, telling stories with a forward motion of transition from one chapter to another within a song.
χ♦ Her singular style is vividly evident even when she is alone on acoustic guitar spinning out these wonderful, abstract shapes. The unusual note bending and abrupt clipping heard on “Sol Lewitt” tells you this isn’t a hack at work. “Lethe” smashes boundaries even further, pulling in elements of folk, Brazilian and avant~garde jazz into a song that plays out like a stream~of~thought narrative. “Eridanos” contains a few brief moments where she busts out a flurry of notes, sometimes punctuated by simple but effective gestures.
χ♦ “The Designated Mourner” has the most defined motif, but Eisenberg never plays the cyclical, ascending pattern the same way twice, discarding strict tempo to break out of structure even when structure is at the heart of the song. And the suppressed notes on “All Saints” throw off the effect of raindrop patter on a tin roof. χ♦ http://somethingelsereviews.com/
Joshua Minsoo Kim, INTERVIEW, Oct. 16th, 2020: