The acoustic guitar driven instrumental album by Wendy Eisenberg “Its Shape Is Your Touch” brings to mind my favorite Moody Blues lyric: “Thinking is the best way to travel.” The mystery of the dissonant nature of these tracks coupled with glimpses of melody and light brings on a vision quest inside my own memories and senses.
The minimalist style of visual artist Sol-Lewitt is reflected in the dreamy first number on Eisenberg’s seven track record. You can hear the in-breath of the guitarist as a mad flurry of nightmarish intervals climaxes the piece after minutes of tension building. It’s easy to see Eisenberg in your mind toiling like a scientist out on the fringe, choosing to ring out a harmonic after purposefully playing a crack of dead notes. This ain’t brain-off music. If you’re going to listen to this record saddle up and put your ears to it.
“Bay Road” is a cerebral ode to the historical “King’s Highway” in Massachusetts dating back to colonial times. The guitar work plays like a spell to bring you to a pivotal point in history. The rhythm is choppy yet piston-like as Eisenberg arpeggiates a three note pulse and further down Bay Road we go. An impossible clock-like ticking snaps along with the groove. The smoke clears and we get a taste of an uplifting major chord pulse bringing to mind the style of Francisco Tárrega.
The guitarist improvises a meditation to the oncoming winter hibernation and the emotional tide of changing seasons in “Early November.” Darkness and light echo in each passage. Equally as important to the notes is the ambience of fret buzz and that peculiar clicking falling in line with melody. Another focused audible breath opens the ceiling before a long run of percussive blips brings us into full view of Eisenberg’s introspection. With so much inward reflecting it’s no surprise the following track runs as a love note to the magical herb in the bouncy warmth of “Goldenseal.”
It’s stimulating to hear an artist’s emotional expression on the location of “Lower Allston” as I have my own thoughts and experiences meeting with her river of Spanish style guitar runs. Perhaps this is where listener experience and the title of the record come to holy ground. “Its Shape Is Your Touch” I translate to “what ever you envision is what it is.” This album is like a ball of mercury. Wherever your mind travels is the right place. Or, wherever your mind travels is the place.
Tremolo screeches emulate a violent cutting in “Sawn” followed by a contradictory melancholic chordal sweep. The paradoxical emotions expressed through Eisenberg’s six string is a wonder. Art imitates life here allowing space for all those grey areas mainstream culture often denies. Not to say there isn’t room for a pop tune in this world or this is somehow elite. I see it more as a truth seeking through an original voice where pop music is usually more about how well you can lie (albeit in a good way, but many times in a disgusting way, don’t kid yourself).
“Its Shape Is Your Touch” closes with “Halloween.” Muted notes bubble as a pick attack grates the bronze strings. Is it a sugar high Eisenberg is emulating or blood from a wound at the hands of a serial killer from a slasher film? Again, all at once full of light and darkness the track title grounds your senses and sets your memories and experience ablaze.
Take the ride, you’re in the hands of a visionary. Headphones, on. Distractions, bye-bye. Hang-ups, bye-bye. Don’t enter these waters with your taste guards on. Go naked and be rewarded.