Tillman Jex |||

In Search of Shadows

Photograph by Guy Grabowsky: www.guygrabowsky.comPhotograph by Guy Grabowsky: www.guygrabowsky.com

Released: June 24, 2019


In Search of Shadows is a narrative journey that beckons the listener through five sonic environments where they may search for their shadow archetype. It was made between July 2018 - Feb 2019.

Continuing in the vein of my previous releases, I wanted to create a narrative form through the approach to, perception of and departure from important narrative moments, which I refer to as signposts’. In the case of In Search of Shadows, these signposts are five different psychological environments’ designed to stimulate different directions of thought.

The one hour performance is a meditation on these five environments. It’s in essence a live performance recorded in one take using my new live performance setup, which was developed over the same time frame as this release was, and in doing so informed a lot of the creative decisions in the music.


First the psychological environments were made, their progression also following a continuous play form. I wanted to make each environment distinct, and not have too many similarities between them. The concept behind the release is still to ultimately present five different environments where the listener can search for their shadow archetype.
Once the environments are brought into the live performance, their functional role becomes like a signpost. Once you reach a signpost, you are presented with a choice of which way your thoughts should drift.

The live performance, which is most accurately described as a hybrid’ live performance. It’s a mixture between live improvisation and playback of the five environments in their original form. A few extraneous sound samples were additionally used during the performance. As a rough estimate, the live performance is 80% improvised and 20% precomposed music.

The desire to incorporate precomposed music into a live performance came through the challenge of emulating a meaningful meditative journey. I learned that a meditative journey is essentially a drifting from one moment of contemplation/recognition to the next. So I figured that to best emulate this, I should have a selection of tracks - which embody moments of contemplation/recognition - that I would task myself with drifting towards, perceiving and then departing from in the most meditative approach possible, which is best achieved though a live improvisational performance.

Live Recording Setup

Tracks 5 and 6 in the release are a live performance of the album.

The live setup used centers around a 10x10 effects matrix mixer built in Max and is controlled by a Livid DS1. A Zoom L-12 acts as the interface between Max and the sound sources, which are a Virus TI and 6u Eurorack modular system. Importantly, the Zoom L-12 is able to playback audio while it’s operating as an audio interface between the synths and Max. This allows me to very effectively incorporate the precomposed signposts into a live performance, as I can send them back out of the L-12 and into Max, merging them into the same sound world.

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