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PREMIERE: Cue the waterworks, Alanna Eileen’s Motion is a magnificent tearjerker

Alanna Eileen folk

Alanna Eileen is a young folk singer from Melbourne who has already has one EP under her belt after getting her start in 2014. Clearly not one to waste time, Eileen is preparing to release her second EP in February, Motion being our first taste. Her debut, Absence, is a pristine folk record, the highlight being Eileen’s vocals. Clear and light, they no less command your attention.

Alanna Eileen Motion

Not the type to give you sickness, Alanna Eileen’s Motion is a defiant love song that stands as a sentinel against the cold winds of melancholy. Cue the waterworks.

Motion, while still occupying folk territory, is markedly different from Absence. While her vocals were already a highlight, here they are the centrepiece of the track. They ring out with conviction, supported by the melancholy keys and the strings that tremble at the back of the mix. Eileen says the focus on the vocals wasn’t intentional, but is a result of the minimalist production, “I enjoy experimenting with my voice – it’s my main instrument – but it’s also important to me that the tone is captured accurately and presented as close to how it sounds in real life as possible.

If you’re willing to wager that Motion is a love song then count yourself the winner of this hypothetical meat tray. It’s a song steeped in yearning, one that Eileen says features “an accretion of remembered instances that strive to communicate, or crystalise, something vital as a whole.” She continues, “It’s told from the perspective of someone standing on the platform of a train station. I felt an affinity with the sense of transience – or motion – evoked by the location, because the song arose during a period in which I was quite unanchored and moving around a lot. It’s a story of leave-taking.

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The single was recorded during the sessions for her sophomore EP In Your Hands, which saw Eileen team up once again with producer Mark Myers after their collaboration on the Absence EP. “I felt like a lot of it was left up to me, which is liberating,” Eileen said. “Recording in Cairns, where his (Myers’) studio is based, is always an interesting experience, because it’s such a distinctive place. It’s bright, humid and rampant with lush vegetation, a completely different environment to the half-dark of a Melbourne winter in which most of the tracks were composed. That dichotomy created a sense of distance between me and the material, which made it easier to record these particular songs.

The half-dark Melbourne winter feels like an appropriate setting for Motion. You can almost picture the scene as Eileen’s vocals cascade gently upon you; the towering building with motionless stares, the biting wind at your back, the sun masked by wisp of grey clouds. There is a chilling loneliness that haunts Motion, yet ironically enough it’s comforting notion.

If this is what we can expect from In Your Hands then we’ll be waiting patiently to hear it in full once it’s released on February 18. Anna Eileen will be playing some shows at home and abroad before hunkering down in New Zealand in July to begin recording her full-length album.

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January 21, 2016

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