The Squid's Ear Magazine

Eisenberg, Wendy: Auto (Ba Da Bing!)

Quirky, embraceable songs from NY guitarist/song-writer Wendy Eisenberg, performed with an eclectic set of musicians who subvert rock forms in inventive ways, from subtle ambience to quickly shifting genre forms and illusively complex avant figures, while Eisenberg's words exposes vulnerability and provide insight, observation, and eccentrically descriptive lyrics.

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product information:

UPC: 600197016329

Label: Ba Da Bing!
Catalog ID: BING 163CD
Squidco Product Code: 29775

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Engineered at Blue Jay, by Peter Atkinson, and at Figure 8, by Nate Mendelsohn.


Wendy Eisenberg-guitar, voice

Nick Zanca-synth, electronics, wurlitzer, organ, field recordings, tape objects, singing bowls, cello, electric bass

Austin Vaughn-drums, percussion

Nick Neuberg-drums

Nick Bisceglia-electric bass

Brittany Karlson-upright bass

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Sample The Album:

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Drawing the connections between Wendy Eisenberg's releases feels like undertaking a wide-ranging investigation. Albums of wildly inventive guitar, tempo-shifting avant rock and curiously leftfield pop fit together as offerings of Eisenberg's curious mind. On Auto, their most innovative and inner-reaching album yet, Eisenberg explores emotional, subjective truth, and how it interacts with an objectivity no person alone can grasp. Inspired by the solo work of Mark Hollis (Talk Talk) and David Sylvian's Blemish, with playing skills that have already seen them climbing Best Guitarist lists and an unvarnished vocal immediacy, Wendy Eisenberg has created an album of subtle display that resonates with maximal impact.

Auto has multiple meanings. First, automobile: "A lot of these songs were written about and mentally take place when I'm in the car on my way to gigs," says Eisenberg. Immediate melodies came to them on these trips, to which they'd later add complex guitar parts. And Automata: "I make myself into a machine, which is why everything that's played is precise." Finally, they frame their work in the literary technique of auto fiction, "the semi-fictionalized presentation of the self in a narrative form of growth," as Eisenberg sees it.

The album served as a means toward working through emotional conflicts from adolescent trauma and PTSD, and dissects the dissolution and conflict that led towards the breakup of their former band. With much of it written while its events played out, Auto faces the grief of losing what one thinks is their future while experiencing a dramatic reshaping of their past; it delves openly into the limited nature of one person's narrative.

Written on the last day Wendy spend in their childhood home, opener "I Don't Want To" manifests the wounds of losing innocence ("I don't want to / you can't make me / it's only natural you'd try.") Of "Centreville," a direct address to the person who assaulted them, Eisenberg explains: "The song literally forces me to alienate my body from my singing self. The complexity of the guitar part is exercise enough for me to have to almost ignore my body... singing a bitonal melody above it is a presentation of the mind-body split."

After making a few efforts to record Auto, Eisenberg ultimately chose to collaborate with childhood friend Nick Zanca, who contributes electronic elements and production. Mirroring the personal and organic offered by Eisenberg, synthetic sounds form a kind of boundary or context for everything. They "sound like commentary on songs that were written from an organic or subjective perspective," says Eisenberg. Their place on the album is integral for Eisenberg's goal "to outweigh the subjectivity of normal singer-songwriter guitar songs with the objectivity of electronic sound."

The album's center point is "Futures," the only direct expression of anger on Auto. Lost post-Birthing Hips, Eisenberg explores their desire for self-fulfillment when stuck in repetitive cycles. The song breaks into a full discordant metal attack over the lines "Another weekend, oh / another contract, oh / another basement show / I didn't notice that I didn't notice... that my enemies are finally real." When stuck in repetition and habit, rage is often the most honest emotional response, an acknowledgement Eisenberg builds into the flesh of the song.

Now living alone, they see liberation from guilt as a double-edged reward: "it's also maybe a sign I'm not really existing in the world as much as I once did." On closer "Hurt People," Eisenberg attempts a few steps towards acceptance and equanimity. "When I win I win a lot / And when I lose I lose alone / But now I don't hurt people quite as much," they sing. Auto encapsulates the fullness of its creator's experience. In all of its intention and precision, we emerge on the other side with a very tactile feeling of loss and understanding."-Ba Da Bing

Artist Biographies

"Wendy Eisenberg is an improvising guitarist, banjo-player, vocalist and poet. Using the languages of free jazz, new music, extreme metal and art song, her music sets to pose and expose the questions surrounding the human body in the world and the representational and technical demands placed on it in artistic practice.

She has written and performed in numerous projects, including the critically acclaimed experimental band, Birthing Hips, described by NPR as "brainy, noisy punk based in sonic adventure, technical mastery, and rejection of the status quo." Her work as an improviser has led to collaborations with Ted Reichman, Joe Morris, Damon Smith, John Zorn, Travis LaPlante and Zach Rowden, among many others. Eisenberg has premiered work by John Zorn, Maria Schneider, and Bill Holman, as well as the work of her many peers.

In addition to her work as a collaborative artist, she has two solo careers: improviser/composer, and songwriter. Wendy's debut record as an improviser will come out on the esteemed label VDSQ in 2018. Her "songs" album, Time Machine, released on HEC Tapes in April 2017, will be re-released on Feeding Tube records in the spring, and she is slated to release a new song cycle summer 2018.

Wendy has provided soundtrack work for the scientific projects of MIT Media Lab fellow and scientist-artist Ani Liu. Her poetry has been set into a large scale work by Matt Curlee, premiered at the Eastman School of Music in 2014. Her writings on music can be found in John Zorn's Arcana VIII: Musicians on Music, and on the websites Jazz Right Now and Free Jazz Blog."

-Wendy Eisenberg Website (

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"Nick Zanca (b. 1992) is an audio artist, producer, and writer currently based in New York. He grew up in Connecticut, studied music and theatre at Columbia College Chicago, and first came to prominence with a trilogy of records under the production name Mister Lies. He is co-founder of the band Quiet Friend with Steven Rogers, performs with Mari Maurice in the electroacoustic duo Asemix, and contributes to experimental music publication Tone Glow. His work has been featured on Pitchfork, NPR, Vogue, VICE, The FADER, Interview Magazine, Chicago Reader, Tiny Mix Tapes, Talkhouse, KEXP, NTS, Gold Flake Paint and Portals."

-Nick Zanca Website (

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Austin Vaughn is an American drummer, known for the bands Happy Place, Be Small, and Wendy Eisenberg.

-Discogs (

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Nick Neuberg is a drummer & percussionist, known for Aykroyd, Creative Healing, Dog Suicide, Listening Woman, LolCat, Negative One, Party Waters & The College Tour, and Stephe Cooper & Ensemble.

-Discogs (

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Nick Bisceglia is a bassist, known for his work with Chris Weisman, Leaf Peepers, Wendy Eisenberg, and Na B.

-Discogs (

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"Bassist Brittany Karlson is an adventurous musician with roots in jazz, folk, and experimental music. She has performed across the United States, Canada, Sweden, and Spain in a vast array of ensemble settings. As a leader and composer, Brittany combines folklike melodies and improvising impulses to play and sing under the name Karl. Karl's debut album Feast Day was released on Lungbasket Recordings in January 2015. Originally from the Chicagoland area, Brittany currently studies on a North American Tour Scholarship at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA where she participates as a CityMusic mentor and actively performs throughout New England."

-The Goodbye Girls (

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Track Listing:

1. I Don't Want To 03:12

2. Centreville 02:05

3. No Such Lack 03:16

4. Far Be It 02:43

5. AOB 02:49

6. Urge 03:16

7. Futures 02:29

8. Happier 01:25

9. The Star 03:22

10. Genre Fiction 03:14

11. The Moon 05:15

12. Slow Down 05:06

13. Hurt People 02:34

Related Categories of Interest:

Rock and Related
Improvised Rock
Improvised Music
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Sextet Recordings
Song Based Music
New in Rock Forms

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