A masterful development of formal precision. Each piece grows out of the last, until a lyrical melodic zone emerges. And then we’re there. In a space of activity and personality. It all makes so much sense, probably more so than this review, but I’m being serious. And, of course, they’re virtuosic.
Just when I think I’ve caught onto Wendy Eisenberg’s techniques and figures, they neatly subvert my expectations with a steady style all their own. Shape clusters expand and contract like wizards dancing on the head of a pin, each track develops on the last idea until a Brill Building-style melody forms and fractures.https://www.vikingschoice.org/archive/weirdo-bangers-sublime-metal-sideways-brahms/
Favorite track: a line.
"Cellini’s Halo was recorded alongside my record, Dehiscence, in late December 2019. I had set out for Long Island for a solo recording session at my cousin Russell Fine’s house, following a certain rupture in my personal life. It was important for me to decompress, to get back to the material realities of my life. I wanted to know better who I was outside of Western Mass, when I wasn’t touring, when I am alone. I was teaching myself to eat, to think. This was of musical concern as much as it was about lifestyle/habits, because for me and so many others, music and life/style inform each other.
"In my sojourn I figured out some certain musical techniques that I wanted to look at, isolated. Void (0), Presence (1), Singularity (Dot), Cluster, Line and Melody. Rather than trying to make a static musical “definition” of each, I wanted to play my relationships to them and what they suggested. The cluster called itself “fragmented,” and I was too, at that point. Looking at these pieces with a kind of renewed purity in my solitude, I felt like I could approach them as friends, not merely tools.
"Cellini’s Halo, by the way, is a light that can appear around the shadow of an observer’s head when the sun is low in the sky and there is dew or dust on the ground. It is also called Heiligenschein. This light-in-shadow is how I felt about these pieces, and how my relationship to these musical devices bloomed as in that trick of the light, like a glory, that defined and could’ve only happened in that particular shadow. Benvenuto Cellini was a great 16th century artist who described this effect in his memoirs as a vision. The cover photo was taken in 2017 by the great subversive Richard Lenz, an anti-photographer, outside his home."
-Wendy Eisenberg (2021)
Improvised and recorded by Wendy Eisenberg, December 2019 at Soundview in Long Island