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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Erik Friedlander - Claws and Wings (Skipstone, 2013) ****

By Stef

It is extremely hard to cope with the passing away of a beloved one, let alone to turn this grief into music, but that is somehow what cellist Erik Friedlander does on this album, after his wife died end November 2011. Friedlander is joined by Sylvie Courvoisier on piano and spinet, and Ikue Mori on laptop.

Friedlander, best know to a broader audience for his work with the Masada String Trio, is a very sensitive player, whose technical skill allows him to play with refinement and sophistication, with usually a very stong emphasis on melodic composition.

That is not always the case here, apart from the beautiful theme of "Frail As A Breeze". The trio creates sonic atmospheres, with slow and precise playing, allowing for lots of space and silence, with a sadness that is all-pervasing. The music is fragile, beautiful and tender, with quiet piano chords, bowed cello and the electronics weaving tranquility. Friedlander is sufficiently intelligent to make it all sound authentic, digging deep into his own feelings and expresses not in a self-centered anger, but in sad beauty offered to the other one.

Listen at BandcampAvailable at

Erik Friedlander - Haunted (Skipstone, 2013)


"Haunted" is a kind of sequel, an EP played by the same trio, probably with material that didn't make it to "Claws and Wings", but could have, bringing the same sad atmosphere, with a more ominous feeling, and this one was offered as a halloween special.

Listen and buy from Bandcamp.

Soon, his soundtrack album "Nothing On Earth" will also be released.