The Squid's Ear Magazine

Davis, Caroline / Wendy Eisenberg: Accept When [VINYL] (Astral Spirits)

Based on a growing friendship and friendly improvisations developed between 2022 & '23, New York guitarist Wendy Eisenberg and saxophonist and activist Caroline Davis developed this set of ten songs--poignant, expressive, deeply personal, unconventional, illusory--performed with drummer Greg Saunier, reminding of the early Downtown NY scene in their confident fragility; beautiful.

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Caroline Davis-alto saxophone, voice, synthesizers

Wendy Eisenberg-guitar, voice

Greg Saunier-drums

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Label: Astral Spirits
Catalog ID: AS235
Squidco Product Code: 34893

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2024
Country: USA
Packaging: LP
Recorded at Figure 8, on February 23rd and 24th, 202, by Lily Wen.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"We wrote Accept When between 2022 and 2023, after a long, beautiful period improvising together intimately in the safety of a friend's practice space. Our friendship, the quality of attention that colored the light of that and all our other practice spaces, became the basis for our activity and growth as songwriters and our relationship as improvisers. Friendship, how we relate to each other, is our nucleus: the central and essential part of our movement; the positively charged central core of our atom.

A nucleus is supposed to be an especially essential form in eukaryotic cells. Their nuclei are surrounded by a membrane, which in that world permits them to be said to have "true nuclei." Even their smallest parts, their organelles (incidentally also the name of Caroline's keyboard heard throughout the record), are held by that membrane. The deepening of our musical friendship, the affordance of space we give to the possibility of synchronicity, the reminders we write of the preciousness of our existence - all of this we put into these songs for you, to help us all accept these miracles and metaphors, in our lifeboats."-Astral Spirts

"Accept When brings together two idiosyncratic American free-improvisers - alto sax and synth player-vocalist Caroline Davis, an advocate for social justice in the realms of gender and the movement for carceral justice and supports artistic endeavors and the message of prison industrial complex abolition, and guitarist-vocalist Wendy Eisenberg, who plays in Bill Orcutt Guitar Quartet and a musician who does not recognize any musical limitations.

The album was created between 2022 and 2023 and relies on the deep intimacy of these good friends - musically and otherwise, and became the basis for their activity and growth as songwriters and improvisers. Deerhoof's drummer Greg Saunier joined the duo on a few pieces. The album was recorded at Figure 8 in Brooklyn in February 2023.

Accept When is a collection of left-off-center and mostly dream-like short songs and open-ended free improvisations that imagine a synchronized nucleus in the lives of Davis and Eisenberg. At times, the close, dance-like interplay of Davis and Eisenberg and their rebellion against any genre conventions brings to mind the sorely missed singer-songwriter duo of guitarist Mary Halvorson and violist Jessica Pavone. These songs and improvisations, with their restless and generous doses of eccentric assaults and timbral searches, remind us all of the preciousness of our existence, and as these fine songwriters put it "help us all accept these miracles and metaphors, in our lifeboats"."-Eyal Hareuveni, Salt Peantus

"Caroline Davis's expression covers a wide range of styles. As a saxophonist and composer, she has released six albums and has won Downbeat's Critic's Poll Rising Star. She has worked with Lee Konitz, John Zorn, Angelica Sanchez, The Femme Jam, Rajna Swaminathan, and Terry Riley. Caroline has been a resident fellow at MacDowell, The Jazz Gallery, The Rockefeller Estate, and ICE Ensemble Evolution, and a recipient of Jerome Hill, CMA, and NYFA fellowships. She is an advocate for gender equity (This Is A Movement, The New School) and justice for incarcerated people.

Wendy Eisenberg is an improviser and songwriter who uses guitar, pedals, the tenor banjo, the computer, the synthesizer and the voice. Their work spans genres, from jazz to noise to avant-rock to delicate songs; their performances span venues, from international festivals to intimate basements. Though often working solo as both a songwriter and improviser, with acclaimed releases on Tzadik, VDSQ, Out of your Head, and Garden Portal, they also perform in the rock band Editrix, and in endless other combinations of their heroes and peers including Allison Miller, Carla Kihlstedt, John Zorn, Billy Martin, and Caroline Davis. They are also a writer on music and other things, with published essays on music in Sound American, Arcana, and the Contemporary Music Review."-Firehouse 12

Get additional information at Salt Peanuts

Artist Biographies

"Alive with nurturing visions of simple sonic offerings to morph our present situation, Caroline Davis' main reason for playing music is to connect with others, beckoning new vistas among curious listeners. Her musical journey began in Singapore, in a humid climate, hearing sounds underwater that she would recreate by singing to her German shepherd dogs, who treated her as their own. Her family moved to the United States, Atlanta, Georgia, around age 6, where she encountered R&B and gospel music rife with horns that called her to choose the saxophone 6 years later.

Today, Caroline's music covers a wide range of styles, owed to this shifting environment. As a leader, she has released seven albums: Live Work & Play (2012), Doors: Chicago Storylines (2015), Heart Tonic (2018), Alula (2019), Anthems (2019), Portals: Mourning (2021), and Alula: Captivity (2023). Her active projects include jazz-leaning Portals, experimental R&B outfit My Tree, and protest band Alula. She has won Downbeat's Critic's Poll Rising Star Alto-Saxophonist (2018) and has been included in numerous Reader and Critics Polls. Her work has garnered much praise from NPR, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Wire, DownBeat, and many international publications.

Davis is active as both a side-person and a leader in a diverse set of expressions. Davis has shared the stage with Lee Konitz, Rajna Swaminathan, Michelle Boulé, Angelica Sanchez, John Zorn, Bari Kim, The Femme Jam, Matt Mitchell, Terry Riley, Miles Okazaki, and Billy Kaye.

Outside of these performance relationships, she has been involved with the following mentorship communities: IAJE's Sisters in Jazz, the Kennedy Center's Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program, and Mutual Mentorship for Musicians. Grants and residencies supporting a grateful Caroline include: Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Chamber Music America, New York Foundation for the Arts, Jerome Hill, Civitella, BringAbout Residency, The Jazz Gallery, and MacDowell. Some of her compositional practice integrates music with cognitive science, influenced by her Ph.D in Music Cognition.

Caroline's awards and recognitions are plentiful. She has been involved with various mentorship communities: IAJE's Sisters in Jazz (2006), the Kennedy Center's Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program (2011), and Jen Shyu/Sara Serpa's Mutual Mentorship Program (2020). Davis was the recipient of CMA's Performance Plus Grant (2021), NYFA's City Artist Corps Grant (2021), Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship (2019-2020); and she has participated in several residency programs, including fellow-in-residence at The Jazz Gallery (2022) and composer-in-residence at MacDowell (2019). Some of her compositional practice integrates music with cognitive science influenced by her Ph.D in Music Cognition. As a teaching artist, Caroline brings her unique knowledge of music and psychology to her teaching. She offers a yearly Jazz & Gender course at The New School, co-taught with Sarah Elizabeth Charles, and private lessons at Manhattan School of Music, and has been invited to institutions of all levels as a guest educator.

Caroline is an advocate for social justice in the realms of gender (This Is a Movement) and in the movement for carceral justice (Justice for Keith Lamar). She is organizing community events as "Community Conversations on Art & Justice for Incarcerated People", showcasing the intersectionality between liberation and art of all forms."

-Caroline Davis Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"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 (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Greg Saunier is a musician, producer, and composer best known as the drummer of Deerhoof. Rolling Stone included Saunier alongside Brian Chippendale (Lightning Bolt) and Zach Hill (Hella) as together composing "a generation of trailblazing 21st-century avant-rock percussionists".

Saunier graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 1991. The next year, he joined a four-piece band, Nitre Pit, in San Francisco as its drummer. When the band's two guitarists left, Saunier and Nitre Pit's bassist, Rob Fisk, reformed as an "elastic, hyper-expressive" band to fulfill Nitre Pit's extant scheduled shows, which later became Deerhoof when Slim Moon of Kill Rock Stars signed the group in 1995. Saunier moved to New York with two suitcases and has said that he does not own many possessions. As a drummer, he says, things he touches tend to break.

Saunier uses a minimal drum kit, with a kick drum, snare drum, and a cymbal, inspired in part by the kit and play style of Questlove (The Roots). In 2008, Saunier said that he rarely practices, mainly for lack of time. When he writes songs, he usually considers the drum part last and is more concerned about the components of rest of the song and its technical elements. His interest and judgement in the latter came from his experience starting Deerhoof without producers, a record label, or much outside help.

Outside of Deerhoof, Saunier's bands include Mystical Weapons (a duo with Sean Lennon) and a collaboration with Brian Chippendale, about which a documentary, Checking in at 20, was produced. He also formed Nervous Cop with drummer Zach Hill and harpist Joanna Newsom, and bands with members of Erase Errata and Rainer Maria, soundtracked a film by Martha Colburn, and collaborated with Xiu Xiu. Saunier has produced albums including Xiu Xiu's The Air Force and Always, Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog's Your Turn, Sholi's self-titled album and People Get Ready's Physiques, remixed tracks for Shy Hunters and WOOM, and appeared on albums including Zach Hill's Face Tat. In 2016, Saunier collaborated with American Brazilian composer Marcos Balter, in which they wrote songs for Deerhoof and Ensemble Dal Niente."

-Wikipedia (

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Track Listing:


1. Attention 4:26

2. Sequins 3:32

3. Flounced 4:21

4. Slynx 3:07

5. Concrete 3:32


1. How Sensitive 3:30

2. Accept When 5:00

3. Shall We Dance 4:10

4. All the Glory 4:36

5. Ultra Detached 3:51

Related Categories of Interest:

Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Jazz & Improvisation Based on Compositions
Song Based Music
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Trio Recordings
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music
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