The Final Final version of Land Mass, the music-film – is coming down the track!
This is the last free showing and the fifth airing: submission to festivals begins in November.
This audio on this version has been mastered by the brilliant Steve Parr which takes the music into a whole new dimension of presence. Join us for this intimate sharing of the work with friends and colleagues on zoom: v
Register here for the 16th Oct at 5pm
Register here for 17th October at 8pm
“For me it was a shamanic journey.”
MS, preview audience member.
PL, preview audience member.
How LAND MASS grew from disparate explorations to a conglomerate vision
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 moods for the choir’s music.
The choir came to the studio knowing nothing about the music that was about to be created – they were going to create it together.
This group of singers were together for just two, half-day sessions. The choir worked closely with special signals from the conductor, Jenni Roditi, who 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, individual track names were found for each piece, which were essentially at this point, a collection of eclectic non-verbal, vocal pieces.
A tactile theme of one-syllable earthbound titles began to emerge 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.
The Narrative Order
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 – a Mysterious Visitor
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.
The “Order of Service”
4. Seed – poem
6. Birds – poem
9. Seed – poem
11. Birds – poem
14. Seed – poem
17. Birds – poem