Mitch Epstein and I met at at a coffee joint in lower Manhattan one Spring morning of 2011. We talked about his his book, “American Power.” Mitch was accepting a prize for the collection and wanted to to mark the occasion with a special presentation that might include music. He suggested I take a look at the book and see if the images kindled any musical ideas. In some photos the grandeur of the structures needed to harness energy from raw materials triggered memories of my little boy’s fascination for big machines. In others, the stark effects of accommodating the power industry in one’s neighborhood were evident and sobering. I didn’t feel these stories needed retelling, however, or craved a score. I was led instead to the source, the power itself: electrical power, hydraulic, solar and nuclear power -- the pace, the heat, the flow as I imagined it, drove my composing and created the backbone for the suite.
I wrote technically challenging music -- fast tempi and tricky hand positions -- and in the weeks leading up to the first live performance I realized that the music was quicker to write, than it was to learn how to play! Mitch and I presented a collaboration of picture and music at Les Rencontres d’Arles in June of 2011, and the experience was instructive. Working with the photos in this live situation taught me how to pace the music and where to place improvisation -- crucial information I relied on in recording the pieces for this special project.
released 23 January 2012
LP Produced by Mitch Epstein & Erik Friedlander
Music Produced by Erik Friedlander
LP Designed by Takaaki Okada & Ryan Spencer
Mastered by Steve Berson at Total Sonic Media
Recorded at Excello Recording, Sepetember 22, 2011
Engineered by Scott Solter
Edited by Erik Friedlander at ArconomX
Scanning and imaging by Laumont Digital, New York
Poster printed by Prestone Printing Company, New York
All photographs copyright Mitch Epstein / Black River Productions, Ltd, 2011.
All music is performed and written by Erik Friedlander
This collaboration was originally performed on July 7, 2011 by Erik Friedlander and Mitch Epstein at Les Rencontres d’Arles, France with the generous support of The Prix Pictet.
Produced by Ryan Spencer and Olivier Koechlin.
Edited by Susan Bell and Steve Hamilton.
With thanks to Stephen Barber, Michael Benson and François Hébel.
Cellist Erik Friedlander is a composer, an improviser, and a veteran of NYC's Downtown scene. Friedlander started studying
music at at age 5 with guitar and then at age 8, cello lessons. Hiss father, a photographer and an avid music lover, made countless mixtapes. Erik's desire to actively participate in the swirl of music styles he grew accustom to hearing led him to find new ways to play the...more