NEW SOUNDS #2: ASHLEY FURE

Hey there, reader/listener/new friend!


Thanks for stopping in! All of us here at Loop38 firmly believe that it’s much easier to enjoy a concert when you have some background in what you’re about to hear and why it’s incredible! SO, leading up our concerts this year, I will be posting these short little tidbits about our featured composers. Hoping that this will feel like you’re chilling with a friend, getting psyched about great music! Feel free to take a peak, have a listen, and get a taste for what’s to come!


Our upcoming concert BEHIND THE SCENES, BEHIND THE SOUNDS, on November 14 features performances of electro acoustic works by Maja Ratkje, Ashley Fure, and Lewis Nielson.

__________

Hope you had a great listen to Maja Ratkje’s stuff from last time and are ready for MORE because this week we are hitting up the one and ~only~ Ashley Fure.


If you’re into new music (which you DEFINITELY should be), you have undoubtedly heard about Fure. She has racked up a substantial and impressive resume, including the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a nomination for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize. Not too shabby. All of those accolades are beyond well deserved: her work constantly tears apart what sounds belong in the concert hall (answer: all of them) and how we listen. Think: wild bassoon, ASMR, and megaphones.

If you saw ASMR and did a double take, no, you read that correctly. For the uninitiated, ASMR stands for “autonomous sensory meridian response”. This refers to a tingling feeling that you can get listening to certain sounds that start in your head (re: ears) and then travel to the rest of your body. The internet has made a killing off of ASMR videos, with people whispering, crinkling, and scratching into high quality microphones. Definitely check it out if you haven’t before.

Now, although Fure’s work is not explicitly ASMR, it does frequently incorporate sounds that made your skin tingle and have a similar affect. In both her piece The Force Of Things: An Opera for Objects and her recent premiere Filament with the New York Phil, Fure used megaphones to amplify unusual sounds, lending an experience every similar to ASMR. You can read more about Filament here! And listen to a clip from rehearsal below:

You should also take a listen to a bit of The Force Of Things here (featuring the incredible Lucy Deghrae whose festival, Resonant Bodies, you should also check out).

Fure once said that, “classical instrumental technique deemphasizes the body behind the sound: one is meant to hear the melody, not the fingernails on the keys.” Fure takes up the challenge of flipping this narrative: in her works the bodies playing become instruments as well, and the movement and physicality of the players is of utmost importance. In Albatross, which you’ll hear if you come to our concert November 14 (!!!!), physical gestures and textural sounds on the instruments are written into the score. In the piece below, Soma, you will here all kinds of environmental sounds. Close your eyes and allow you mind to let go of expectations and completely drift!

Most importantly, since the piece we are performing is called Albatross, here are some facts about the aforementioned bird:

  • They have the longest wingspan of any bird

  • They have a special tendon in their shoulders that allows their wings to maintain spread, with minimal muscle expenditure. This allows them to soar for AGES.

  • They do a special mating dance, and then they mate for life.

Finally, if you’d like to know more about Fure, articulated MUCH better than I attempted here, check out this interview! My favourite part is where she talks about the process/struggles of notating all these wild things (and how notation holds us back). Also, this interview features maybe my new favourite quote:

“LET YOUR AUDITORY FREAK FLAG FLY” - ASHLEY FURE

(screaming)

Hope that all made sense and got you just a lil’ tingly with excitement! If you want more of where that came from, you know what you need to do:

xx ally xx

*tingly*