Its Shape Is Your Touch
Wendy Eisenberg is an exploratory guitar player, whose music has taken her from conservatory to DIY space to concert hall, from performing improvised music and punk-metal to writing the quietest songs, and, here, back to what makes a guitar the guitar. Traveling these genres as she does, the improvisations she weaves on this record have as much to do with those histories and languages of the guitar that she leaves out as they do with the language she invents.
A working jazz guitarist since high school, I was educated at the Eastman School of Music and the New England Conservatory. The intensity of these schools gave me a strong foundation in the jazz language, but also stoked in me a rebellious, dialectical relationship to the codified language of academic jazz-- I was always in the noise, punk, and improvised music contexts that the schools chose to ignore. The summation of that dialectic is this record: a quiet reflection on absence, but not silence; a refutation, challenge, and reconstitution of the extant vocabularies of fingerstyle acoustic guitar.
The title “Its Shape is Your Touch,” from the final line the Richard Brautigan poem “Here is something beautiful,” is one-half of the thesis of this record. The other, the absent antithesis, comes from the William Gaddis novel “The Recognitions”: “you can change a line without touching it.” The shape of the guitar is the context for the sounds it makes; your touch activates this machine, alters, creates and transforms its possibilities. The shape is created and outlined by the touch, but is contains absence, undefined space. In my music, the lines change with and without physical touch: my touch creates the sound, but those sounds expand, contract, rotate, and dance as I re-establish and constantly evolve the contexts and boundaries of this world.
This record has to do with absence, the spaces and movements implied by the lines of a sketch and the other worlds that choice of representation chooses to ignore. I want to let linearity be not a crutch but a device for intelligent travel through musical space. I like to think of these recordings as a gentle exorcism. Recorded in a year of significant, deep loss, it is hard for me not to hear this record as a kind of metamorphosis, a blood-letting, a culling and casting of musical and personal values. This music is reflection on loss and implication: a bluessless blues.”