Today’s find is a collaboration between two likeminded experimental musicians, Massachusetts’s Wendy Eisenberg and North Carolina’s Shane Parish. The two met in March of 2018 while Eisenberg was on tour in Parish’s home state, and recorded a series of improvisational acoustic guitar duets only hours after first contact. The resulting works, given the title Nervous Systems, were released in March 2019 by Washington, DC-based label Verses Records. It’s incredible to hear two near-strangers conjure interlocking streams of jagged, angular guitar plucks and chords out of thin air in real time; you can tell that Eisenberg and Parish are kindred spirits by how they each approach their shared instrument and react to the other’s playing. The freeform, energetic, sometimes atonal sound reminds me of the guitar work on Gastr Del Sol’s 1998 album Camofleur, which I’ve been listening to a lot recently. (The connection may be enhanced in my mind because the two albums feature faintly similar cover art.) “Nightcap On The Danube By The Busted Ferris Wheel” is my favorite from Nervous Systems, partially because I’m a sucker for evocative song titles, and partially because it recalls a pricklier version of Pat Metheney’s work with Charlie Haden on 1997’s Beyond The Missouri Sky. The song, which closes out the album, is more leisurely and atmospheric than some of the others; you can even hear one of the guitarists sighing during several lulls in the music. Quivering chords ring out in space as fingers meander up and down fretboards, creating swirls of sound that mimic the eddies of the titular river. I have no clue how they do it with such minimal instrumentation, but Eisenberg and Parish manage to create a nocturnal, dusky soundscape that befits the song’s elaborate title. Probably wouldn’t recommend this one to a person whose response to any kind of music has ever been “It’S jUsT rAnDoM nOtEs!”, but an openminded listener should be able to get into the song and album.
Check out the rest of Nervous Systems: https://versesrecords.bandcamp.com/album/nervous-systems
More from Wendy Eisenberg: https://wendyeisenberg.bandcamp.com/
More from Shane Parish: https://shaneparish.bandcamp.com/
More from Verses Records: https://versesrecords.bandcamp.com/