Erik Friedlander's haunting and passionate new album 'Block Ice & Propane' (August 14/Skipstone Records) redefines what can be done with the cello. Inspired by American roots music and Friedlander's own history as a young guitar player, the album's thirteen tracks feature a kind of back porch pizzicato and rich evocative bowed landscapes--a new kind of cello music.
The inspiration for 'Block Ice' - which is subtitled 'Taking Trips to America' - come from Erik's experiences as a child traveling across the United States with his family during the 1960's and 70's. His father, the photographer Lee Friedlander, would plan these journeys around his work and some of his photographs from that time figure in the CD's packaging. As Erik remembers, "Our camper was a thin shelled box sitting on top of a 1966 Chevrolet pickup truck. An economy model with a propane gas stove, a sink and a table -- no shower, no fridge. Fifteen-pound blocks of ice kept the food from rotting. Cities, campgrounds, parades, outhouses, wild animals, and strange characters suffused in the haze of thousands of hours of highway travel. Writing these pieces put me back in that camper."
In Septemeber of 2011 I went into the studio to record the The American Power Suite, a group of six pieces I had written in June of the same year. After the audio recording was finished, we brought in the Michael Grenadier and Peter Christ to video 6 unique performances of the 6 movements and these are what we are presenting here. Enjoy! More info about the project: www.americanpowermusic.com