Erik Friedlander, Block Ice and Propane
Posted by: Daniel Manuszak
When you grow up the son of a driven artist, you may end up traversing the entirety of the country multiple times in a camper affixed to the back of a pick up truck. These motions, raga like in tone and asphalt drone, would probably seep into your veins and hum the music of the formative years of your life. Every song you play would feel of a picture taken by your father and every photograph you see would sing of the distance between stop sign shadows on the corner of any-town USA… would mimic the upright awkwardness of teenagers standing at a distance in the desert…. smirking with the demeaning well-meaning criticism/witticism of an eccentric former moonshiner, beet farmer uncle. Erik Friedlander has taken those movements of inspiring uncomfortable travel, coupled with the angst of being dragged through the process of self definition, and formed them into a cohesive story that brought back for me all the trips from Blacksburg, Va to Cleveland, Ohio for Thanksgiving. A couple times we made the trek to my mother’s parents in El Paso, Tx, but that was always a 3 day epic journey each way. Oreos rolled out the back windows of our station wagon and, after a bit of coercion, bits and pieces of my younger brother’s Barney doll… a little bit of, “I love you, you love me,” all across the mid-west and through the hills of Tennessee. Man, it takes forever to get across Tennessee east to west! North/south goes a lot quicker, but the length! Almost as long as Texas.
I did not grow up the son of an artist, but our family did take many road trips. Erik’s masterful performance drew me into those moments of relentless boredom spiked by intermittent joy. The joy on family road trips is unfettered, having been distilled through the purifying process of low grade annoyance and the unrelenting passage of land moving past fast on either side. Pictures punctuate the particulars and Erik’s playing is phenomenal!