TIC – poetry by Alistair Smith, from March 2019 gig

My friend and colleague, Alistair Smith has been an allay throughout the choirs’ project. He has blogged extensively about it, published on this site. At one concert (March 8th 2019) he moved into poetry in order to capture his responses. They are such good poems I reproduce them here, with his kind permission. Some have titles, as we presented new versions of tracks from our double EP ‘Landmass,’ recorded in summer 2018. Two are ‘open form’ and are examples of ‘being in the unknown, with the audience’.


Rise and fall

in ancient organum

waves of breath

 An Abbess intones

the colours of the overtones

toned over

Drawn out

and revealed from within

A sonic temple

Walls defined

by pure acoustic space

Cracked open

 Animal instincts

break out

and riot against the sacred

Profanity exploding briefly

Before placation

and back

into the reverence of silence



tight little buds

born of hidden seeds

are teased to open

 stretching stems

emergent roots entwine

into an undergrowth


holding each other

A dialogue of limbs

Becoming intricate

Weaving into a carpet

of uniformity

and settling into appearance

of organic coherence





and exhale


Revel in the expelling

and the visceral

salivation of air expulsion 


Between song and scream

“Human” & “Beast”

Tribal rotations


gathered in revolutions

of circular volitions



Yawning and unison

shaped mouths

sculpt a drone

into an envelope of tones

At altitude she soars,

swoons and glides

in effortless increments


Focusing an energy

up my spine

towards a higher mind

Rhythm becomes multiplied

and subdivides

Sweet intervals are held – sustained

Until only they remain

Holding and enfolding each other

in concertina folds



Born of silence

a sustain

becomes a tremble

becomes a line

A track to trace

in the palm

in the face 

Its undulations


its altitudes and attitudes

elevations and contours

Waves of meaning perhaps

sent on ripples from mouth

to ear

Orifices offering

Chalices proffering



Sweepings & brushwork

Raspings & breath work

Granular oscillations

of sub-sonics

and infrasonic openings

Haunting humanity slides in

Harmonics highlight

add dimension and illuminate

 Low frequencies return

and submerge

in additive synthesis

of raw humanness



Song is embrace

A person speaks and personalities meet, allowing each other in welcome embrace.

And the embrace is “song”!

A success of sets, communing in diversity, join each other and try each other out; More than mere accommodation, they support and sustain in balanced differentiation of enhanced embrace.

Spurring and urging onwards, the whole emboldens’ the one. Each filament is fortified by the collective and fostered to thrive in the communal mass of encouraged embrace.

 And the embrace is “song”!



Vocal codes

Sensuality of an inflection

a slight downturn

tiny slides between


smack of the tongue

The voice – a cavity

beat the tattoo

on taught skin

Chamber muse

Roll off the tongue

tremble off the lick

stutter off its flick

 Be ridiculous

Be sublime

Release the wild – tame the mild


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