Wendy Eisenberg is an improvising guitarist, banjo-player, vocalist and poet. Using the languages of free jazz, new music, metal and art song, their music challenges the representational and technical demands placed on a guitar and a banjo in contemporary music.
Bloodletting by Wendy Eisenberg, Out Of Your Head Records, 2021 on #neuguitars #blog
Wendy Eisenberg – guitar/banjo
Recorded and engineered by the team at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, March 22 2019
Mixed by Peter Atkinson
Mastered by Simon Lancelot
Artwork + design by TJ Huff (huffart.com)
released October 1, 2021
Bloodletting (Liner Notes)
Bloodletting, recorded, March 22th, 2019 at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, is a performance of a long form text score I wrote around late 2018. Unlike directive text scores that indicate through order or poetry what should be played (or evoked), my score is a block of text, written to be memorized and then performed using the nonlinear randomness of memory.The purpose of this form of text-score was to mimic, through memory and temporal distance, the way the eye dances on a page, selecting what it does, when it does. This kind of reading, or recalling, affords the eye, the memory, some separation from the linearity that written language encourages. I wrote these scores because I was curious about why it was that text scores seemed to suggest, by abandoning notation, some kind of populism, when the simplest or most direct language seems (to me) to be the most confusing, especially when remembered. Also, scores which tell a person what to do, via order or poetry, still dictate behaviors. The hierarchy between composer and performer was still there, fluxing as always, not entirely subverted. I wrote this practice to see if memory worked differently.
The nature of this particular suite is personal, in large part because the way memory works is personal, but also because right now, I want the memorized block of text to exist privately for me, ever altered by the process of memory the longer I hold on to it. I have started some similar pieces for other musicians, but for this particular suite, it feels strange to ask another musician to memorize the thousands of words I engaged with in the months prior to this performance, and stranger still to provide an audience with a way to forensically dissect what they hear in a form that is in no way intended to function as a one-to-one translation, if such a thing exists. Such an intimate performance of memorization, such an intimate dissection: these moves are eerily close to some of the practices of loving.
The movements are called:
I play through the suite twice, once on banjo and once on guitar. Woven throughout the text scores is a prayer: may I let the instruments speak for themselves. (this is another reason why I will not reveal these texts).
A nice performance note: when I performed the first track, my finger started to bleed.
–Wendy Eisenberg, May 2021
The piece was engineered by the team at Firehouse 12. It was mixed by Peter Atkinson and mastered by Simon Lancelot. Wendy Eisenberg plays the Gibson ES-175 and the tenor banjo.