Emily Jane White has announced the release of her fifth album They Moved in Shadow All Together, the title for which was inspired by the opening line of Cormac McCarthy’s novel Outer Dark which is set in Appalachia sometime around the turn of the century. It opens to a group of travelers descending a hill…
…strung out in silhouette against the sun and then dropping under the crest of the hill into a fold of blue shadow with light touching them about the head in spurious sanctity until they had gone on for such a time as saw the sun down altogether and they moved in shadow together which suited them very well.
White remembers being struck by the vision of the travelers’ collective movement – fragmented, yet whole – and felt its resonance with her burgeoning record and its thematic exploration of trauma.
The 11 songs on They Moved in Shadow All Together focus conceptually upon the symptomatology of trauma, a pattern of experiences marked by a fragmentation of the self. These songs contend with the impact of trauma on individual and collective identity – the shattered pieces within the psyche left to cope after tragedy, and the dissociative co-habitance of belief and disbelief that results. White wrote “The Black Dove” in support of the anti-racist struggle against police violence. In “Womankind” she mourns the continuing epidemic of violence against women, and the silences that suppress the truths of survivors.
Throughout the recording process, she experimented extensively in the echo chamber at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone studio in San Francisco. She used the room as her instrument, wherein she gave herself permission to roam free, exploring every capability and constraint.
“I began to recognize a hidden concept within my work,” she recalls. “Most of my lead vocals were recorded in a vocal booth, and I chose to record the backing vocals in the echo chamber – but it was all me, and in that process I seemed to be fleshing out a concept of voices and pieces within a whole. I wanted to give a harmonizing quality to the fragmented pieces of self that result from trauma. I wanted to give them life and make them beautiful and real while still occupying an intimately distant and eerie space.”
They Moved in Shadow All Together is out on 10 June 2016 via Talitres