Troy Schafer
Untitled No. 3 [CS; Cabin Floor Esoterica]

The works of John Cage often encouraged the audience to explore the non-music; the space which exists between the cacophony of the stage and the din of the crowd. It’s still a fantastic device, be it the airy distance in works from Loren Connor to the distractions of the uninterested as portrayed by Food Court. Troy Schafer will have none of it, filling up every piece of available real estate with some sort of concentrated noise and idea — the moments of silence merely a quick rest stop before another aural assault. Untitled No. 3 takes the opposite approach of Cage’s endpoint though the journey to get there still seems in line with the experimental composer. Schafer deconstructs the idea of sound artistry on each side of this cassette, blending violin with electronic caterwaul to produce a disturbing portrait of what happens when senses are overwhelmed. This isn’t about distractions taking away from art, but rather distractions as art. This has been out since March and it has taken me this long to really digest Schafer’s latest, because much like my admiration for modernist composers, I have a need to place such work on a pedestal. The breakthrough discovered upon listen after listen of Untitled No. 3 is to destroy that school of thought. If Schafer is beholden to any previous generational philosophy, it is buried beneath the rubble of this explosive set. Cage may have caught the sounds of a living city, but Schafer has captured its death rattle.


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