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Land Mass, remaster, complete soundtrack

by The Improvisers' Choir

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Bird Bath 07:45
bird bath, by toby thompson call it karma, call it sin a mother’s love, an awkward fling a game of chess, a blade of grass a circle’s curve, a ball of string who built the wall that walls me in? call it yang, call it yin the rising tide, the falling wing the tiger’s bite, the hornet’s sting call it the gauntlet the scorpion's fling who built the wall the walls me in? as mother earth flaunts her floor length gown the one with the 3d floral print call it her ultimate crowning achievement call it a frivolous thoughtless whim call it the killer whale’s dorsal fin cautioning you to stay put where the water is see through and warm and thin call it newspapers to purchase iOS updates and lawn to strim call it autumn lovingly sweeping the leaf strewn floor of yet another catacomb built in a hurry see him scowl, hear him stammer, guiltily, glumly ‘isn’t she plum blossom willingly lovely?’ call her the still warm corpse of spring who built the walls that wall me in? oracle, wise owl, priestess, rabbi Somebody tell me what am i what am i? a chess piece held in a cosmic hand? a house fly trapped in a gossamer cobweb? a colander of sand? hold nothing back, i want to understand call me peter, call me rodger call me thumper, call me bugs what did i do to deserve to be placed in this sorry excuse for a sprawling hutch? call me paddington, even address me as pooh bequeath me the pet name baloo the question remains, what the heck did i do that my soul should be held captive trapped in the prison of me like a grizzly bear in a derelict zoo whispering countless inquisitive prayers into the starry celestial blue really I mean as if anyone knew be they dead or alive in heaven or extraterrestrial who! who built the wall that walls me in who wrote the chorus the dawn birds sing that flawless hymn that raucous din somebody, somebody put us in touch who built the wall that walls me in? call it cowardice, call it skin call it precisely the length of an exhale squeeze it out, draw it in who dug the moat that closely borders this blasted blonde haired blue eyed lonesome so called Toby fortress and with regards to the oaken drawbridge which arse broke the lever? why wont it lower? i wanna roam free where the grass is loads neater haven’t you seen how the leaves on the willow tree’s branches way over yonder can’t but grow greener? let me out let me out! or at the very least riddle me this who chiseled the clouds that shroud my devout lust for life in the thickest of doubtful fogs? by way of reply the wind chimes sigh and the bird bath fountain sobs
Plough 05:01
Sow 06:12
Seed 00:40
Root 06:53
Birds 00:28
Sap 03:23
Bud 04:04
Seed echo 1 00:40
Sprout 04:49
Birds echo 1 00:28
Stem 02:58
Reap 00:56
Seed echo 2 00:40
Husk 03:58
Yield 03:00
Birds echo 2 00:28
Orb 07:18


LAND MASS - how it grew from disparate to conglomerate...

We begin with a poem by UK spoken word artist Toby Thompson, Bird Bath - commissioned by the choir, - it is an echo of contemporary life, striking notes of existential openness, longing, grit and grace. Its message played a part in setting up an atmosphere for the choir’s music.

The choir arrived to the studio fresh to to possibility of new music they were going to create together. The poem was the only pre-written material, acting as an anchor, but without an ocean, which we had still to create.

The singers were together for just two, half-day sessions. The choir worked closely with Jenni Roditi using special signals known as Hand Conduction, which steered the pieces, drawing out the latent music and opening gateways for singers and sounds to find themselves.

Some performers had sung together before, and some were new to the process. After the recording was done, and with some detailed tidying up in editing with the producer, Jenni Roditi found individual track names for each piece, which were essentially at this point, a collection of eclectic non-verbal, vocal pieces without identity, apart from the music itself. They were certainly 'untitled'.

A tactile theme of one-syllable earth centred titles emerged and started joining up the individual pieces into a broadly themed collage. However, a title for the whole form was elusive.

Then, to our delight, the title 'Land Mass' was suggested by theatre director Simon McBurney, with his comment on hearing the whole sequence, - ‘the voices sound as if they are rising up from the land’. It completed the picture that was arising.

The films for each track, created by Sara Pozin were made from a one-page written brief provided by Jenni Roditi, indicating moods and images, but leaving the horizon wide open for Pozin to find her own way.

As the music-film began its sequence of previews the running order was shifted from a musically based sequence to a narratively based sequence. Feedback from previews suggested the whole piece took people through a journey from start to finish. It was not just a series of self-contained pieces, but each built on the one before, creating a deepening wave through the whole sweep.

The subtitle, ‘a spontaneous vocal liturgy for the land’ was then discovered as people were not only appreciating the material but seemed to be transformed in some way. The notion of a spontaneous vocal ‘liturgy’ was cautiously approached (drawn from a play on 'landmass/land mass') and yet, as it settled, it helped allow for this ceremonial aspect - the 'Mass' of the title - and created an expansion - meeting audiences where they were reportedly (from our four previews) positioning themselves.

The final track Orb, moves us off the land and into the air. An orb is said to be a mysterious, floating, visiting spirit or even possibly a UFO. As such, a mysterious visitor appears in the music: the grand old master JS Bach with his Prelude in C Major, played on the piano by Cassie Yukawa-McBurney, reminding the listener of the mighty power and stature of the well-tempered clavier and yet, - testing the sanctity of the music - the choir are heard grinding vowels around their collective mouths, echoing textures of previous pieces.

Then, a solo vocal line is heard over the Bach, expelling the piano further from its known aura, and it willingly accedes, moving into a parallel universe, in intimate relationship with microtones, slides, ornaments and - improvisation.

Order of Service
1. Bird Bath - spoken word
2. Plough
3. Sow
4. Seed - poem
5. Root
6. Birds - poem
7. Sap
8. Bud
9. Seed - poem
10. Stem
11. Birds - poem
12. Sprout
13. Reap
14. Seed - poem
15. Husk
16. Yield
17. Birds - poem
18. Orb


released October 11, 2021

Hand Conduction
Jenni Roditi

The Choir
Uran Apak
Dilara Aydin-Corbett
Rouhangeze Baichoo
Veronica Chacon
Shreyans Iyer
Segun Lee-French
Camillo Menjura
Ebe Oke
Jenni Roditi
Candida Valentino
Yan White
Marcia Willis

Recording Producer
Asier Leatxe Ibañez d'Opakoa

Steve Parr


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The Improvisers' Choir London, UK

The Improvisers' Choir is a group of agile singers from across vocal styles and is lead by composer/conductor Jenni Roditi. The improvisations are led through a system of signals given by the conductor.

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