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Eisenberg, Wendy: Bloodletting [2 CDs] (Out Of Your Head Records)

In a study of memory and the way we alter or prioritize what we remember, NY guitarist Wendy Eisenberg composed this intimately personal long form text score in four movements to be memorized and then performed using the nonlinear randomness of recollection, recorded in two performances at Firehouse 12 in 2019, once on acoustic guitar and once on banjo.

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product information:

UPC: 198000902322

Label: Out Of Your Head Records
Catalog ID: OOYH 012
Squidco Product Code: 31228

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Firehouse 12, in New Haven, Connecticut, on March 22nd, 2019.


Wendy Eisenberg-guitar, banjo

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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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track listing:


1. Bloodletting (guitar) 10:00

2. Ostara (guitar) 10:27

3. Scerzo (guitar) 13:11

4. Coda (guitar) 4:21


1. Bloodletting (banjo) 13:56

2. Ostara (banjo) 8:29

3. Scherzo (banjo) 15:09

4. Coda (banjo) 9:24
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"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. Bloodletting
II. Ostara
III. Scherzo
IV. Coda

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

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Guitarists, &c.
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Solo Artist Recordings
Graphic Scores
New in Improvised Music
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