released on cassette via Klangverhaeltnisse 10.31.12
recorded at the Bornless Sanctuary in Madison Wisconsin, from 2010 to 2012
"The unique and compelling experimental violin works of Troy Schafer combine the primordial, the spiritual and the unexpected, to form challenging, droning pieces of chamber music. His soundscape is obscure and solemn at the same time.
Supreme Happiness Forever links the poetic warmth of symphonic music and the decomposing approach of some radical modern classical music, merges the unsophisticatedness of traditional music with the experimental approach of avantgardism."
"An odd note about experimental music: we often support an artist’s desire to go all-out atonal avant-garde, dissonance shrieking from warring strings, once we know that the artist doesn’t have to go this route. In other words, once an artist proves that he is perfectly capable of performing amazingly melodic, intelligent music, we realize that the experimentation is truly experimentation rather than the weirdness of an untrained dilettante. This is what makes Supreme Happiness Forever such a fun release; it’s a C-20 that drops like an M-80.
Imagine being introduced to a new person and punching them before shaking their hand. Or in a kinder sense, meeting an attractive person and frenching them before saying hello. With only 20 minutes to work with, Troy Schafer (Rain Drinkers, Burial Hex) doesn’t have time for niceties. ”The Breath of Life Is But a Kiss” takes a single second to introduce itself as an amplified, unoiled barn door thrust back and forth between two lawnmowers. Woah. But it’s not all noise; there’s devilish intention behind the clash and gnarl. On the surface, the bow is dragging willy-nilly, but underneath, the real action is unfurling like a snake that has just finished digesting. When the transition occurs in the sixth minute, the listener is caught completely off guard; it’s not until subsequent plays that one can hear it coming. At this point, dual violin patterns edge and swirl around each other, creating a crater of enormous beauty.
“Hail, True Body” is even better, a single piece that bursts with multiple genres. First, there’s the bell, a charming start that leads to a Disney-like introduction, replete with trumpet fanfare. Where did this come from? The modern classical piece then shakes off its straightjacket and redefines itself as drone, albeit drone with a komische smudge. Then Moroder moves in; it’s “The Chase”, updated. Six minutes in, the tone turns ambient; okay, that’s where it stops mutating, right? Nope. Just as the track seems ready to dry out, choral chants enter the mix – a dab of meditative music, reaching for the heavens, supreme happiness forever. This cassette travels further in 20 minutes than most people would believe possible. So yes, Troy, go as crazy as you want, because we know it’s not crazy."
"Troy Schafer (Madison, Wisconsin, USA) offers up a set of 3 pieces which is highly recommendable. More profoundly, his vanguard-ish, violin-led soundscapes are craftily tense, accentuated with different, massively droning keys thus getting close to such masters as Tony Conrad, and John Cale, though, he is idiosyncratic in his creative process (The Breath Of Life Is But A Kiss). Or on the other side, he is able to leave the academical tradition and to get involved in more poppy traditions (flirtations with Americana, noise and epic post-rock-ish seeds at Hail, True Body). TS`s soundscape is hell-ish and solemn at the same time. Apparition is an example of how classical tradition meets successfully modern days thereby establishing new frontiers and frameworks for the listener to understand music on a new level. In a word, it is a very fine crossover issue."