Outside the Lines, Vol. 3

A 5 track ambient ep (36m 55s) — released February 28th 2020 on nonclassical

Meet our favourite emerging artists. The third edition of Nonclassical's annual series of EPs 'Outside the Lines' brings together work by our four Associate Composers for 2019–20, alongside a piece by Alex Ho and performed by the winner of Nonclassical's Battle of the Bands in 2020, Reylon.

It's a diverse selection of tracks, each capturing the essence of the artists' individual practices. Dan Samsa's 'Saturn' opens the EP with a jolt – a piercing sample is chopped up and repeated, ringing through an echoing haze of electronics like a sonar pulse. It's followed by Blasio Kavuma's 'Mvnt (in blue)', a work that nods to Debussy's piano preludes. Performed by Lydia Lallemant, it's taken from a set of piano pieces that combine the African tradition with contemporary classical, it melds the lyricism of blues and jazz with tone-clusters and unusual textures.

'The Embalmer' by Lola de la Mata responds to the artist being diagnosed with fibromyalgia – a condition causing chronic pain all over the body. The piece explores themes of retaining, seizing and emerging – layered vocals create dissonance and natural beating, which fight to cut through a veil of instruments

Yfat Soul Zisso captures the feeling of modern isolation in 'Together, alone'. It's a plaintive microtonal work for string quartet (Zisso's research specialism is microtonal music). The melodic line uses standard tuning, creating a tension with the quarter-tonal accompaniment – representing the alienation one can feel even when surrounded by other people.

Finally, there's the elegant and contemplative 'Rituals & Resonances' by Alex Ho, performed here by Chinese-American yangqin (a type of Chinese dulcimer) player Reylon. It's a piece that explores the diasporic paradox of feeling nostalgic for your place of origin – perhaps a place you've never lived, let alone visited. Alex and Reylon are co-founders of Tangram, an artistic collective dedicated to Chinese diasporic culture.

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