The title of Emily Jane White’s fifth album, “They Moved in Shadow All Together”, is a play on the opening line from Cormac McCarthy’s novel Outer Dark.
The 11 songs 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.
White’s new body of work recounts for us the terrain of her empathic inner world. The breadth and depth of her maturing voice are evident. Her layered vocals effect a sense of camaraderie, a space populated with voices, angelic perhaps, definitively ethereal. She studied classical singing while working on this album, which enabled her to broaden her vocal range. 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.