TUNE Ellis - Saturn Return
Ellis - Hamilton, Ontario’s Linnea Siggelkow - will release her debut album Born Again next week on April 3rd, and today she shares the final single off of the record ahead of its release. Following the previously released tracks “Fall Apart,” “Embarrassing,” and “March 13,” the gloriously sprawling anthem “Saturn Return” is out today.
Much of Born Again finds Ellis immersed in rigorous self-examination, but the album - as evidenced on this track -also channels the pure joy and hard-won triumph of transcendence. “Saturn Return is an astrological term for the time in your life where Saturn literally returns to the same place in its orbit that it was the moment you were born,” Siggelkow explains. “The first one happens in your late twenties, and it's a time of radical transformation. I am in mine now and have been feeling it big time! I wrote this record while reflecting on all the ways my life is changing, reconciling things from the past and making space to move forward.” Listen, watch the Michael Pugacewicz-directed video, and read an interview with Ellis now via NYLON.
Produced by Jake Aron (Snail Mail, Solange, Grizzly Bear) and recorded partly at Aron’s Brooklyn studio, Born Again arrives as the follow-up to Ellis’s debut EP The Fuzz—a self-released, self-produced effort that promptly led to a deal with Fat Possum Records. In a departure from the viscerally charged dream-pop of The Fuzz, Born Again unfolds with a mesmerizing subtlety, gracefully spotlighting Ellis’s unhurried melodies, starkly confessional lyrics, and luminous vocal work. Not only does this record and its production showcase Ellis’ incredible growth as a songwriter, but it also explores more complex and honest themes than her earlier work. “I grew up Christian and was quite devoted to faith up through my late teens, but I started challenging that once I got to university,” says Siggelkow, the daughter of a travelling book salesman and a piano teacher. “Since then I’ve been trying to redefine who I am and where I stand and what I think about these things on my own, and that journey very much played into the songwriting on this record.
The full-length debut from Ellis, Born Again takes place in spaces both intimate and vast, ordinary and near-mythic: warm beds and lonely church pews, restless cities and desolate forests and the furthest reaches of the cosmos. Throughout the album, those spaces serve as the backdrop to Ellis’s sharply detailed and sometimes-painful experience of self-discovery, as well as the life-changing transformation echoed in the album’s title.
Embedded with Ellis’s untethered guitar work and elegant piano melodies, Born Again showcases the sophisticated musicality she’s honed since taking up piano at age four (partly due to the influence of her mother, a piano teacher). The summer she was 12, Siggelkow saved up her babysitting money and bought her first guitar, then began writing her own songs a few years later. “Because of my anxiety, the idea of performing was always intimidating, so the songs stayed in my bedroom for a long time,” she notes. Upon moving to Toronto in her early 20s, Siggelkow started playing in local bands, later making her name as a solo performer in the city’s DIY scene, until she eventually adopted the moniker of Ellis (a play on her initials).
For Ellis, the making of her debut album proved to be incredibly demanding. "When the record was finished, I didn’t feel how I had anticipated I would. I thought I was going to be feeling excited and fulfilled and proud of myself, but truthfully, I felt very depleted and drained and emptied out. The more I thought about why that was, the more I realized that I really did give this record all of myself, every last bit." But through that process, she slowly made her way to an unforeseen clarity—an effect she hopes might ultimately transfer onto Born Again’s listeners. “I feel like I’ve found some sort of closure, and a better understanding of all the ways I’ve grown and the things I still have to work on,” says Siggelkow. “I rarely sit down with any specific intention when I’m working on music, but if these songs help people to find some comfort or feel less alone in what they’re going through, then that’s really the greatest takeaway I could ever hope for.”