David Schafer

Times Ten Resequenced With Two Second Gap X10R.1 (47:35)

Times Ten Resequenced With Variable Gap X10R.2 (58:41)

1999 edition of 25
2002 on Transparency
Edited & mixed by Mark Wheaton at Catasonic, LA

Originally made in 1999 and shown at Shoshana Wayne Gallery as part of "Attention Spam" curated by Paul Zelevansky. Produced on Transparency the label in 2002.

Available at

REVIEW: Disco Graphie - Collecting clues on new sound territories, "The Anti-Fun Magazine" (Media Library of the French Community in Belgium) Pierre Hemptinne, Listening Note 113 - Monday November 18, 2002 David Schafer Ð "x10R.1 Ð x1-R.2" "A work of collage, but almost a document, a research project, a study on a traumatic section of our universal musical culture (2 copious CD for a very vast and complex matter). One could say [it is] the analysis of the repressive and coercive role of the liberal music of department store, music[s] of conditioning, forced therapies at the service of a fun vision of your situation in society. And everything goes. By successive waves. Overlapping, interpenetrating. Impetuous waves of sublime sillinesses. Primped [looking pretty]. Layers of tap dancing. Layers of chabada. A swirl for the romantic rags [magazines]. Tons of the pathetic. A flood of orchestral vacuities. Layers of "Volare" [the song]. Layers of spaghetti westerns. Layers of jingle bells. Layers of melodies of happiness. A swirl of sound tapes for certificates of the good life and morals. Syrupy praise of quietness, of the flat social electroencephalogram. Layers of "whisper" [speak more quietly]. Layers of heroic tear jerkers. From superposition to superposition, here is a fabulous oozing pile-up. All of these musics of the century are the testimony of a will to contain anguish, to drive back anxiety, to contain impulses in a watched [in the sense of surveillance], policed environment. And in this accumulation carried out by David Schafer, something occurs, unforeseen. Accumulation, the reactivated memory of pressures exerted on the social by these sterilizing ditties, makes these insipidities suddenly, excessively aggressive. It is complete symbolic violence contained - applied in homeopathic amounts, to the body of the social - which suddenly breaks out all at once. What a grand disturbance! From the infernal orchestra pit rises the nightmare! It overflows, oozes from everywhere, formidable nausea ("Clockwork Orange" style, except that here the horror is distilled by the most asexual music[s], the least suggestive to the act - it is a whole enterprise of repression which suddenly throws up). Impressive! Trying! Essential experiment."

For this project I selected ten easy listening records that were either arranged or composed by individuals who at one point or another had some affiliation with the Muzak Corp. First, the selection of songs on each record were resequenced by starting with the slowest and progressing to the fastest song. This was done to emulate the theory put forth by the Muzak Corporation, of the Ascending Curve and the Stimulus Progression. The ten resequenced records were then superimposed, layered onto each other. CD1 maintains the two-second gap between all songs, while CD2 varies the gap to allow for other collage possibilities.

Compression Progression (70:00)

Originally presented at Chuck exhibition space in LA, and then again at Gallery 400 in Chicago
Edited & mixed by Mark Wheaton at Catasonic, LA

Five popular rock albums from the 1970's were superimposed in their entirety. Each album was doubled except for the Chicago LP, which is a double LP to begin with. All two second gaps between all songs were removed from each record. The five records are; Yes: The Yes Album, Deep Purple: In Rock, Steppenwolf: Seven, Chicago: Chicago, Emerson Lake and Palmer: Tarkus. The albums were chosen because of my extreme familiarity with them, and their early influences on me as a teenager. I had the idea of trying to understand what my memory from that period might sound like, as a block of audio material.

Drumming: Same Old Bureaucracy (13:04)

Edited & mixed by Mark Wheaton at Catasonic, LA

Excerpts from 3 popular rock drum solos were superimposed. I attempted to gather material from each solo that focused primarily on the drumming without the other instruments present. The strongest and most recognizable excerpt is from Iron Butterfly's, In-a-gadda-da-vida, and the other solo segments are doubled or tripled to match it's length. The other 2 solos are from Cream: Toad, and Deep Purple: Mule. I was interested in the event of crescendo and climax in classic rock, and by having the 3 solos superimposed, there was a kind of cancellation that occurs, a fight, that ultimately never climaxes. The position held by the drummer in rock bands are thought to be the core, the center of the band. I wanted to superimpose the centers, to eliminate the idea of center. The piece was made specifically for a hanging speaker object, and is looped continuously. The listener, viewer, is intended to also stand underneath the speaker and experience the sound as if it is falling onto you.

Forever In Love In Forever (5:03)

Forever In Love Sustained (2:50)

Forever In Love Restored (5:01)

Remix of Kenny G's, Forever in Love
Edited & mixed by Mark Wheaton at Catasonic, LA

"""Forever In Love In Forever" was my contribution for a collection of background listening pieces for a project titled "Lounge" Curated by Regine Basha for the Arthouse, Austin Texas November 2004.

Kenny G's music is ubiquitous and represents an idea or state of mind of being on hold, in the waiting room, or in an elevator. It also might suggest a kind of anxiety of empty spaces and technology, a pathology that is manifested regarding the need of filling spaces, and the fabricated desire to sooth, and to be pacified at all times. "Forever and Forever in Reverse" is based on a song that Kenny G wrote for his wife who he refers to as his "doll". Every time I have ever seen a picture of Kenny G, he is grasping his instrument. I am interested in the objectification process and have concluded and propose that he is also forever in love with himself and that the instrument is actually a prosthetic. I wanted to bring out in my song the repressed aspect of narcissistic love. "Forever and Forever in Reverse" is the superimposition of the forward version with the reversed version of the song played at the same time. Forwards and backwards, blowing and inhaling simultaneously, perhaps relevant in how it might refer to the idea of circular breathing, and noise abatement. G's work is emotive, resolved and optimistic, I wanted to evoke a kind of optimism in reverse, or negative infinity. I am also interested in the idea of "unhearing"; there is a cancellation process that also occurs not unlike noise reduction devices that emit the counter frequency in order to eliminate the noise. I wanted to eliminate the song by canceling it out with itself."Forever in Love Sustained" is a dramatization based on the idea of how Kenny G is known for how long he can sustain a note utilizing the art of circular breathing. After a brief intro, the highest note is elongated for three minutes (he actually held a note continuously for 45 minutes) with subtle shifts in the reverberation effect, the sound causes gradual phase dissonances, perhaps referring to Steve Reich and his phase experiments from the late sixties. I wanted the piece to abruptly shift from the most common and sentimental, to the most avant-garde. "Forever in Love Restored" uses a reverse version of "Forever in Love" and through the use of celestial filters and effects, I wanted to repair the original flawed version, which I am repulsed by, and transform it into something that evokes a more complex emotion or sense of melancholy and beauty.

The Intruder/De Indringer

Track 1: Intro (0:33)

Track 2: English Version (11:08)

Track 3: Intermission (0:34)

Track 4: Dutch Version (12:37)

Track 5: Finale (0:32)

Edited & mixed by Mark Wheaton at Catasonic, LA
English voice over: Josie Roth, Dutch voice over: Erik Grouwstra

Part of the exhibition titled "Futureways: The Middelburg Biennial 2304", Middelburg Holland. Curated by Rita McBride, Glen Rubsamen, and Rutger Wolfsen.

Mounted on the exterior of the 15th century deVleeshal is a large PA speaker-horn that emits in both Dutch and English a short Dutch children's story approximately 10 minutes long. The story is sounded once a day after the 1:15pm bells at a volume that can be heard just out of the public square that the deVleeshal faces. A female voice over from Los Angeles read the English version, and a male Dutch voiceover read the Dutch version. The story is from a book by Piet Prins, a Dutch author, and the story deals with the subject of oppression and ethics during the Reformation within a typical narrative structure. On the interior exhibition space of deVleeshal is two other works. One is a freestanding medium sized sculpture fabricated of small aluminum I-beams that are bolted and riveted together and whose orientation and composition may recall a late modernist formalist style of expression. The third element is a wall-mounted digital C-print whose image is derived from the sculpture itself as it is modeled in a 3D comic book style. The fourth element of the project involves an 18" x 24" poster that uses a double image of the deVleeshal tower. The poster was put up around the town of Middelburg as part of the exhibition.

General Theory Expo

Track 1: Intro (0:34)

Track 2: (10:14)

Track 3: (10:07)

Track 4: (9:44)

Track 5: (9:54)

Track 6: (10:06)

Track 7: (1:35)

Track 8: Finale (0:30)

Edited & mixed by Mark Wheaton at Catasonic, LA
Voice over: Josie Roth

The Sculpture Center LIC. As part of the exhibition "Treble" curated by Regine Basha.

Audio CD, PA Speaker, Playback System52:35 minutes.A continuous play of a reading by a female voice actor of a Jacques Derrida lecture from 1966, with musical introduction and ending. The PA speaker is mounted outside on the front of the Sculpture Center building and facing the sidewalk and Purves street, Long Island City, New York.

""General Theory Expo" and "General Theory" is installed in the entrance area and on the outside front of the Sculpture Center in Long Island City. The signage, speaker, and posters are mounted on existing walls that are part of the architecture that separates the gallery from the offices and front receiving desk. I wanted to utilize and expand on the ambience of the commercial lobby, complete with large signage, piped in sound, advertisements and architectural display. The loud speaker outside is the type of object you would see in another kind of public space such as a zoo or airport. "General Theory" is built around a voice and musical audio track titled "General Theory: Lecture #1" that is emitted through a large PA cone speaker. Its visual presence is prominent while a female voice is reciting a speech that was given by Jacques Derrida in 1966 at the Johns Hopkins University during a symposium on the human sciences. The title of his lecture is "Structure Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences" which continues to this day, to be a very early and influential theoretical text expressing his ideas that pertain to Metaphysics, Deconstruction, and the concept of 'center'.

I wanted to create a mini-expo within the "Treble" exhibition, and that obliquely references the idea of the original symposium. My project for the Sculpture Center is a play on the notion of 'center' and Deconstruction including the idea of the Sculpture Center itself as an institution basing itself on the subject of sculpture, and whose notion of center, has also been contested by art historians and theorists. But perhaps more relevant than the references I am offering, the audio component of the project may itself be considered a form of slapstick or even sculpture. The words, out of context from the scholarly event, become more of a parody of presence, and represent the general discourse of intellectualism in art and theory. It enters into the mainstream, or more literally the street, through cultural institutions and is then disseminated. The Sculpture Center, as its name states, claims itself as a center that brings together art that associates itself with the idea of sculpture, and also uses the word center in it's own title. The book that first published the lecture by Derrida is titled "The Structuralist Controversy" and here I am interested in the shared usage and the layering of the letters 'S' and 'C' as well as the usage or exchange of the words 'center' and 'controversy'.

How to Look at Sculpture

Track 1: Intro (0:32)

Track 2: (5:02)

Track 3: (4:47)

Track 4: (6:01)

Track 5: Finale (0:32)

Edited & mixed by Mark Wheaton at Catasonic, LA
Voice over: John Lee

A male voice actor presents a spoken word piece that encourages a connoisseurship of art history, and directs the listener to appreciate sculpture, by looking, touching, and seeing.

In The Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus) Remix (3:44)

Edited & mixed by Mark Wheaton at Catasonic, LA

The song "In the Year 2525" by Zager and Evans, 1969, was one of the most popular songs of 1969. One of, if not the first science fiction Surrealist pop song. The bleak prophetic quality of the folk song predicted nothing but catastrophe in the future with regards to science, reproduction, drugs, inter-relationships, and the earth's resources. The second coming, and judgment day, represent the climax of the song.

I was drawn to this song because of its seeming timeliness. It tells a dystopic story of the future. I felt the song should be remixed to reflect the current milieu. It was remixed according to the "Recipe for Poetry" created by Tristan Tzara, the Dada poet in the 1920's. He suggested that if you wanted to create a poem, that you should select a length of text that you wish your poem to be, then cut out each word individually, and place them in a paper bag, shake gently, then pull out each word and tape it down to a piece of paper in the order in which you pulled them out of the bag. I performed this act with the lyrics to "In the Year 2525" and then had the original song mixed accordingly. I wanted to subject the original song of 1969 to the elements of chance that the Dadaists put forth as a response to WW1 and the encroaching bourgeois.

About David Schafer

David Schafer is an artist who started exhibiting in the mid eighties in New York and was primarily involved in public art at the time. These projects incorporated language, signage, and architectural structures. The projects were driven by site-specific strategies for excavating and revealing buried information. They interrogated existing structures of viewing, public space, and history. His interest in structures of language and public space evolved and eventually started incorporating sound and audio components. Having, over years, amassed an extensive collection of records with an emphasis on noise and sounds experimentation, as well as a focus on easy listening, moog, and electronic records, Schafer often mines this archive as the subject of his work. Sculptural, digital graphics, sound, and drawing based projects structurally and conceptually explore ideas about how the structures of space and sound data, controls, oppresses, stimulates, or enlivens the listening and viewing subject. Schafer has worked with voice actors and also with various degrees of superimposition that border on, or fully engage, the noise side of things. Linear narrative structure and its fragile relationship to intelligibility is an ongoing subject of interest.

Schafer resided in New York from 1983 to 1996, then in Los Angeles where he taught at Art Center College of Design until 2006. He currently lives and works in New York.

Schafer's sound works have been exhibited at Special K, Beyond Baroque, Shoshana Wayne Gallery; in Los Angeles, The Sculpture Center in New York, Gallery 400; Chicago, DeVleeshal; Middelburg Holland. His work has also been played extensively on WFMU. He has written reviews and features for Cool and Strange Music Magazine, Exotica Etc., Paper, and Documents Journal. His sound works have been written about in: Chartsweep, The Anti-Fun Magazine of Belgium, Cabinet Magazine, Chicago Tribune.