In a 2015 interview, Bruce, real name Larry McCarthy, told The Quietus that Hessle Audio asked him to remove a synth that was too "earnest and emotional" from "Trip," a track from his debut for the label. This editing process wasn't a part of The Trouble With Wilderness. The title track starts with an off-kilter techno beat, before dissolving into a miasma of echo. McCarthy intones, "I will always love you," and brings in a haunting piano that hangs in the air like a memory. Later in the eight-minute track, the beat snaps as a ghostly, unintelligible vocal sample weaves into the mix. Not unlike Burial, Bruce sees a low-end-heavy roller as an apt setting to deal with human drama.
If "The Trouble With Wilderness" represents dissolution, "Waves (For Yasmin)" sees McCarthy, who admits there were tears shed when producing this record, wallowing in loss. Fortunately, this has resulted in a remarkable ambient track: three chords slathered with heavily processed field recordings that sound like a distant motorway. On the closer "Summers Got To End Sometime," McCarthy opens the blinds, letting in some hopeful melodies. Though it hints at resolution, the sound design is just as sparse and brittle as the other two cuts. At several points, the sound dies out completely, before shocking the listener out of reverie with a violent bang. It's another instance of McCarthy wringing emotion from unexpected places.