Troy Schafer – ‘Untitled No. 3’

Posted by on April 24, 2015


Ohio’s Cabin Floor Esoterica is on a path to becoming one of my favorite labels. Every cassette arrives hand packaged in a thick card box with a pasted on label and the artist’s name stamped on the lid. Each copy is accompanied by a trinket that plays off of the theme of the release. These are are true works of art, especially when juxtaposed with the stacks of clear Norelco cases on my desk. The music, of course, is also top notch; this stunning piece of work from Wisconsin’s own Troy Schafer is but one example of how Jordan, who runs Cabin Floor Esoterica, chooses his artists with a sense of taste befitting a skilled art gallery curator. Schafer plays the violin, but I consider him to be a sound artist first and foremost. He has made works from artifacts traditionally utilized for the playback of sound, from manipulated recordings of his own music, and from a whole host of processes of which I can only dream. The cassette at hand is composed of two pieces each of which is six minutes in length. Violin screeches and a guttural groan are mated to the percussive effect of a slowly scraped string (or something more sinister, perhaps) on the A side. The recording appears to be made from inside a large room, as the sounds take time to diffuse entirely into thin air. It’s hard to escape the feeling that I’m slowly circling Schafer at a varying distance as the piece unfolds, and the effect is dizzying. A piece of acousmatic collage is presented on the flip, as snippets of synthesized noise jump into and out of focus, peppered with conversation and other, more subtle, events. In its entirety, this cassette distills Schafer’s oeuvre into a pair of equally evocative modes and is a welcome addition to his ever-growing canon. Untitled No. 3 is still available from the label, so grip it while you can.