In Block Ice & Propane, innovative cello provocateur Erik Friedlander recalls summer-long cross-country road trips he took as a boy with his family, seeing America from the vantage point of an old camper mounted on a 1966 Chevy pickup while his father, famed photographer Lee Friedlander, created indelible images of the times. Erik Friedlander is now an acclaimed cellist and composer who has blurred the lines among classical, jazz, indie rock, and the avant-garde while becoming a stalwart of New York's hip downtown music scene, his collaborations stretching from John Zorn and Laurie Anderson to the Mountain Goats and Courtney Love. Frequently eschewing conventional cello techniques and tunings, Friedlander, working solo, created an extraordinarily vivid musical portrait of that far-off time on the road, tapping a variety of American roots that are more suggestive than specific, yet still invested with rich lyricism and surprising epiphanies. In the relatively rare instances he uses a bow, Friedlander can sound like an Appalachian fiddler. More often he fingerpicks the cello, suggesting a latter-day John Fahey. The prevailing mood is strikingly lit portraits of weathered roadside America. When Friedlander steps a little further into the avant-garde, such as on "A Thousand Unpieced Suns," ominous undulations build into a Hendrix-like maelstrom. This multimedia presentation will include Freidlander's solo cello performances of pieces from his 2007 album, Block Ice & Propane (Skipstone), accompanied by his father's photos, largely abstract films by Bill Morrison, and short tales about his travels. (Photo © Lee Friedlander)
Sat., Dec. 5, 8 p.m., 2009
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