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Brooklyn, New York
Experimental, Folk, Jazz
Tzadik Records, Ba Da Bing!, Dear Life Records, Verses Records, Vin du Select Qualitite, Hec, Out of Your Head Records

Over the last five years or so Wendy Eisenberg has been keeping listeners guessing. Nominally an improvising guitarist, they don’t recognize any musical limitations, perpetually finding ways to apply a deeply exploratory practice to a wide variety of contexts. Eisenberg plays solo guitar as well as banjo in both acoustic and electric settings, warped post-punk songs in the trio Editrix, earworm art pop tunes, febrile post-Prime Time free jazz in Strictly Missionary, and punk-prog in a trio with Trevor Dunn and Ches Smith. As Eisenberg told fellow guitarist Nick Millevoi in an interview for Premier Guitar in 2021, “I need to be in a punk band at the same time as I need to be playing free improv at the same time as I need to be playing songs. All at the same time—otherwise none of the practices will work for me.” Their musical range isn’t a glib manifestation of eclecticism, but a genuine artistic essence.

Eisenberg has collaborated with a disparate array of musicians from all points along the creative music spectrum, including Shane Parish, Francisco Mela, Stephen Gauci, Carlos Truly, Ron Shalom, Devin Gray, Jessica Pavone, Carla Kihlstedt, John Zorn, Miles Okazaki, Matt Mitchell, and Caroline Davis. Still, while thriving in such endeavors, Eisenberg’s solo practice is no less sprawling. 

On the 2021 album Bloodletting, to take but one example, they performed an experimental text score which was memorized. Rather than simply performing according to a set of written instructions, Eisenberg drew upon their improvisational practice to see how memory distorted or personalized the process of interpreting a score, performing the same four movements of the text score on electric guitar as well as banjo, spreading the results over separate CDs. On first blush the sounds on the album Bent Ring could seem like another artist altogether. The recording opens with an overdubbed a cappella choir giving a tender reading to the hymn “Abide With Me,” famously recorded by Thelonious Monk, followed by the diaristic self-reflection of “When I am an Artist,” where Eisenberg’s love for sweet pop melodies blends with spiky, unpredictable arpeggios played on banjo.

Reverb interview w/ Bill Orcutt Quartet (2023): “Wendy Eisenberg has kept up a graceful and seemingly genreless balancing act on the tightrope between improvisation and songcraft since they first emerged this past decade. Currently, they juggle leading their self-described "avant butt-rock" power trio Editrix, the occasional pithy, poetic and forward-thinking singer-songwriter record, and steady jazz gigs alongside the likes of Downtown NYC luminaries such as John Zorn and Bill Frisell. "I more than occasionally conceive of myself as a machine, a guitar operator machine," they once said, "at the same time as I conceive of myself as a machine-operator of the guitar."

Feature in New York City Jazz Record (2023) (PDF): “Eisenberg is a captivating improviser and songwriter: the depth and range of the guitarist’s projects is remarkable, the product of a wide-eyed fascination with the possibilities of sound and a big-hearted courage. Reaching through the gloom to grab a guitar or banjo, Eisenberg expresses the turbulence within.”

Bloodletting Album Review on Free Jazz Blog (2022): Wendy Eisenberg’s double album Bloodletting is a mind-bending trip, a marriage of form and function, a masterclass in artistic expression, and, well, to be plain about it, a stellar album.”

Editrix - Editrix II Album Review on Pitchfork (2022): “[Eisenberg] consistently find the square pegs that will miraculously fit a round hole, and their nonchalant, intimate style of singing makes the juxtaposition feel natural.”

Editrix - Editrix II Feature on NPR: “Eisenberg's musical process is notably thoughtful and meticulous.”

Bloodletting Album Review on Something Else! (2021):When it comes to guitarists, Wendy Eisenberg stands on an island, a virtuosic talent who is not remotely similar to any other virtuosic talent.”

Editrix - Tell Me I’m Bad Album Review on Pitchfork: “Wendy Eisenberg shreds.”

“a line” (from Cellini’s Halo) Video Premiere on Foxy Digitalis (2021): “[Eisenberg’s] guitar playing zigzags like a lost insect climbing every branch and scouring every crevice, trying to remember where it lives.”

Bent Ring Album Review on Post-Trash (2021): I hear in Bent Ring a reflection on existence, being, navigating belief in the self and potential for something bigger than the self.”

Washington Post Feature (2020) by Jenn Pelly: “The combination of ‘Auto’s’ jazz feeling, poetic songwriting and theme of solo car travel can often feel like a 2020 response to the Joni Mitchell classic ‘Hejira.’”

“Futures” (from Auto) Track Review on Pitchfork: “Given the attention to detail that Eisenberg displays, it’s difficult to imagine them not noticing anything.”

Auto Album Review on Post-Trash (2020):Their reputation as a fixture within overarching New England DIY from the punk-adjacent Birthing Hips to hip compositions for the guitar and banjo have enshrined them with a singular maverick quality that has been sorely missing in music this year. Auto makes good on all those pieces, coalescing them into a dense sonic universe that you could fill a book about its pieces (and Wendy did!)”



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