The electroacoustic sound and installation artist Ash Fure has uncanny ways of stimulating the acoustical, social, and political properties of living spaces with infrasound and custom instruments. Recently, the Rome Prize winner and Pulitzer finalist, who studied at Harvard and now teaches at Dartmouth, became co-artistic director of The Industry in Los Angeles. The experimental opera company’s work in unusual, character-rich urban settings is in perfect accord with Fure’s site-specific genius.
On the album Something to Hunt, Fure performed music from her live pieces with the likes of the International Contemporary Ensemble, winning best-of-2020 accolades from classical critics at The New York Times and beyond. Bandcamp Daily called it “so riveting, episodic, and alien it’s hard to know whether the listener should be petrified or electrified.” But the recorded format can’t contain Fure’s immersive works. The Force of Things: An Opera for Objects sets musicians and patrons adrift in a ring of subwoofers that emit a subaudible but palpable frequency. The New Yorker’s Alex Ross called it “a reconnaissance mission into an auditory wilderness” that engenders “enveloping dread, ambient unease, [and] a kind of sensuous foreboding.”
In the large-ensemble performance experience Hive Rise—created with the artist Lilleth Glimcher for the legendary sound system at the Berlin nightclub Berghain and now coming to Big Ears—Fure fills a similar sub-bass medium with even more volatile contents. She plays a kit of low-frequency subwoofers as [ten?] performers use 3D-printed megaphones to direct shards of sound and angles of speed “straight to the skin of the audience,” as Fure told Classical Post. “The aim is always that really tactile and social experience of being together, that drives me.”