Untitled No. 1

by Troy Schafer

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Here, as a slave to incessant cultural artifacts that pervade my imagination, I have surrendered my familiarity of organic proportions to pneumatic systems. On Side A, I altered a palette of sonorous events thrust from their originary sources, mangling 36 hours of long-form, freely associative material into six mutant minutes.

Out of respect for the dead, I choose not to expound on side B. Such has been my absurd attempt to document - and cope with - genetic memory while composing practical new language through schizophonic and gestural appeal.

Edition of 300 random color 7" discs.


"Untitled No. 1 is a gleeful cacophony of string section mayhem, modular synthesis, tape manipulation, and a whole host of unknown processes. The A-side is the culmination of thirty-six hours of recordings diced up and assembled into a hurricane-like collage of manic energy executed with a sense of poignancy. On the flip-side, Schafer explores a sinister scraped metal motif that culminates in an explosion of sonic chaos. Equally daring and daunting, Untitled No. 1 is not to be missed."

-Decoder Magazine


"[...] six dense minutes of collage not entirely dissimilar to some of Zorn's investigations into the area but much better, far less facile. Very cinematic in effect, it could easily work as a soundtrack for a dreamy/harsh video, the lush overlaying of strings near its conclusion being especially evocative. About Side B, Schafer enigmatically writes, "Out of respect for the dead, I choose not to expound". Whatever its essence, it's quite different from the preceding, a hollow set of scrapes (possibly from some mutation of a violin), with a subtle, grim plodding aspect, creating an image of a forlorn creature in some alien passageway, gamely wending its way through the dark, until things erupt. Within the brief track, the sudden welter of spiraling sound is disorienting and even unwelcome; this is one of the things I meant when I said I'd like to hear the ideas elaborated upon further, but so it goes."

-Brian Olewnick


"After releasing an excursion into solo violin, a “survey of a broken tape recorder” and a business card filled with five minutes of feedback, Troy Schafer returns to the wild experimentalism of his 2012 release, Supreme Happiness Forever. That cassette packed multiple albums of ideas into a single 20-minute cassette; this record pushes it further, condensing 36 hours of music onto a 7″ record. And that’s just Side A!

The format is perfect for this type of release. Given their length, there are two types of 7″ records that one might want to play again and again. The first: the instantly accessible pop hit. The second: something so dense and peculiar that it can only be comprehended through immersion. This is the second type of release. An added bonus is the random coloring of the vinyl; buyers must wait to see the shade they will receive. This facet of the release compounds the mystery of the music, which seems at times like a glass rainbow shattered, then reassembled with new rules.

The mind seeks to find a form in the music, and there is a form, albeit a tricky, convulsive form. The first three timbres are dissonant violin, liquid electronics and even-tempered drone: fire, water and earth. Side A rotates through phases, challenging the listener to draw back and consider the fuller sonic map: an aural version of pressing the minus key on Google Maps. Here are the patterns, the edges, the troughs. The heart of the piece is found toward the end, a stringed cacophony stretching from 4:11 to 4:59. Once one identifies the heart, one can begin to detect the veins. The drones seem like skin, the dissonance like disease. The crunchy minute (2:43-3:42) is the sound of the fragments being swept into a dustbin. After a while, one begins to receive even the swiftest transitions (1:47-1:48-1:49) as miniature parts of an abbreviated symphony.

While Side B tumbles slower, it is no less creative. This time around, Schafer pays tribute to genetic memory and [schizophonia], while keeping the details secret “out of respect for the dead”. One might hear the scrapings as demons in the mind, the squelch as transmissions in the molars. Or one can seek to discern the unbroken thread, a buried remnant of the person prior to illness. The piece is disturbing even without the explanation, but it’s also honest; there’s no happy face to put on such an ailment.

Untitled No. 1 bears the weight of personal testimony and metaphor. By keeping it compact, Schafer increases the power of his witness. The message, however, remains in the ear of the beholder."

Richard Allen

"Having just finished up a grueling Master's degree in Sound at the School Of The Art Institute Of Chicago, It's impressive, but unsurprising, that spirited Chicagoan violin prodigy, sound designer, and composer Troy Schafer has been able to balance a wealth of inspiring musical work with his intense studies. While he's best known for his weeping string and guitar arrangements for Kinit Her and Wreathes and composing with Burial Hex, he's also kept plenty busy over the past few years dialing in a brilliantly soulful approach to more scholarly sonic endeavors. We couldn't be more excited to present 'Untitled No. 1;' some of the most inspired work from Schafer yet, as he presents this holy trinity of his artistic identity. According to Schafer, the incredible A side is the culmination of 36 hours of recordings chopped up and expertly sequenced into a gorgeous collage packed with string arrangements, modular synthesis, algorithmic analog and digital systems, tape, and much more. The controlled pacing of the B side's moodier dirge pushes the listener into steady footing before twisting him/her into panicked, screeching emotional heights via organized bursts of sonic chaos."

-Signal Dreams


released May 1, 2014

Sounds created and arranged by Troy Schafer.
Recorded in and around the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Instrumentation : violin, viola, cello, voice, horn, E-muModular, Doepfer Modular, Moog Prodigy, room resonance, various types of steel and glass, tape and algorithmic analog and digital systems.

Mastered by Nathaniel Ritter
Design by Dani Schafer
Lacquer cut by Clint Holley, Gotta Groove Records, Cleveland

(P) & (C) by Signal Dreams 2014
33 1/3 RPM GD08



all rights reserved


Troy Schafer Madison, Wisconsin


CONTACT: troyallenschafer@gmail.com

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