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Block Ice & Propane 

When: Wed., June 2, 7 p.m., Sat., June 5, 7 p.m., Sun., June 6, 2 p.m., Mon., June 7, 7 p.m. and Tue., June 8, 7 p.m. 2010
Price: $30

Adventurous cellist Erik Friedlander celebrates the uniquely American experience of the road trip with a collection of cinematic cello compositions in a distinctly American style – lyrical, plainspoken, and richly satisfying. A multimedia memoir of Friedlander family road trips complete with campers, tourist traps, truck stops, and visits to kooky relatives, Block Ice & Propane pairs Friedlander’s cello compositions with poetic photographs taken by his father, the well-known photographer Lee Friedlander; charming snapshots taken by his mother, Maria Friedlander; evocative road movies contributed by filmmaker Bill Morrison; and quietly enchanting short narratives about the American ritual of family summer vacations so familiar to us all. Presented by Spoleto Festival USA.

Breeding excellence
New York cellist Erik Friedlander's father is Lee Friedlander, a renowned photographer whose works were shown at the Museum of Modern Art. Lee took his family on photo-seeking summer road trips across America for the better part of Erik's childhood. These trips inspired Erik's Block Ice & Propane, an album he released in 2007, which he'll perform at Spoleto, accompanied by a slideshow of his father's photographs as well as evocative films from Bill Morrison.

This ain't classical music
Referred to predominantly as a jazz cellist, Friedlander sounds like a lot of things. His background with guitar is evident in the unique strumming and picking techniques he uses, while the instrument's rich tones give his music a deep, dreamy feel.

All the cool kids love him
When Friedlander released Block Ice & Propane in 2007, the music critics went into a frenzy. Pitchfork said, "Block Ice & Propane ... is a boy's folk anthem — sweet, naïve, intrigued — gathered and transformed through a virtuoso's adult memory." And said, "Friedlander combines a modern classicist's sense of harmony — Copland's open chords, but also Crumb's gnarly grit — with rhythmic nods toward early folk and blues." He's even performed with acts like Courtney Love and the Mountain Goats.

— Erica Jackson


click to enlarge DARIO VILLA
  • Dario Villa


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