Troy Schafer- “Untitled No. 2”

Troy Schafer- "Untitled No. 2"

As the second post in a series, I felt that this tape made sense in this spot. The concept of field recordings and sampled works is one that has long intrigued me. While nature sounds are clearly fair game, what can we say about those who collect their source materials in a public space? The manipulation of these elements is the real art much of the time, so I’m not debating the artistic merit, but on a release like Troy Schafer‘s Untitled No. 2, I find myself contemplating the experiences and the places that led to the creation of such a jagged and fascinating blend of sounds. The result is something not quite human yet undeniably culled from the travels and trials of an individual surrounding by so much of the human element that evading and shaking it off entirely is a natural response, or perhaps I’m reading too much into the back story here.

Readers who do their homework are likely familiar with Troy’s work of a more traditionally tonal nature, either with Wreathes or Kinit Her, yet the choppy and disconnected collages of hideously manipulated city life and oddly composed melody make sense when considering his guest appearances with the decidedly more uncomfortable likes of Venowl. While this release occasionally lacks anything resembling consistency in form or pace, it still feels like a set of sonic experiences that have all been cut from a similar cloth. Whether it’s a unifying theme of some sort or simply that the listener comes to expect nothing but confusion and unnerving variation, Schafer keeps things interesting, skillfully walking the line between painfully “off the wall” and digestible. Folks seeking the predictably intense patterns of harsh noise wall or the pops and chirps of mixer abuse may be slightly let down by the ollage work on Untitled No. 2 but the release carries a similarly ominous and unforgiving energy to each of these noise-related niche communities.

While my personal preferences have me leaning towards losing myself in moments where a constant path is followed for a minute or more, as is displayed to horrifying effect on the tape’s B-side, I find myself drawn to the sheer ugliness and discomfort of the less easily absorbed moments. It’s only through enduring pain and challenge that one grows, and Troy Schafer’s Untitled No. 2 feels like a call to growth from where I’m standing. Destroy your comfort zone. Listen to the sounds of Chicago burning to the ground by getting this tape from Black Horizons, who have done a brilliant job with the tape’s packaging as always. Closing this post is a brief video of me showing the tape’s jacket and insert.