Anna Morley is an Australian multi-instrumentalist and composer, currently based in Berlin. Her music has been described as ¨an eclectic fusion of electro-acoustic vibes with ambient overtones, woven together by fresh minimal grooves¨. On stage Anna blends a unique gamut of instrumentation including the vibraphone, vocals, keys and electronic beats and samples within her compositions.

After completing her musical studies in Australia, Anna made the move to Europe, where she spent seven years in Barcelona, Spain. Inspired by the city of warmth and chill, Anna wrote and released both her debut EP Character (2009, Gazebo Music) and full album Red Balance (2011). Since relocating to Berlin, Anna has recorded and released her third album entitled Water Door (2013).

In 2016 Anna released her fourth album Treasure Pleasure (Cult Classic Records), with recording and production being carried out at a combination of renegade and pro-studios between London, Barcelona and Berlin. In November 2019, Anna will release her fifth album entitled Visceral (Hymen Records).

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Album review of "Visceral" by Roland Torres - Silence and Sound
Sunday January 5th, 2020

Hymen Records propose avec Visceral, un album très loin de son catalogue électronique habituel. Ici les tracks développés par l’australienne Anna Morley font appel aux instruments et aux ambiances acoustiques, tels que voix, violoncelle, piano, violon, vibraphone, contrebasse…

S’il ne séduit pas de prime abord, de par son approche résolument funambule, Visceral finit par convaincre après plusieurs écoutes. L’artiste propose un opus aux textures et arrangements riches, qui demande du temps et une certaine ouverture d’esprit pour se laisser emporter.

Capable de faire le grand écart entre jazz et néo classique, trip hop et ambient, Anna Morley compose des atmosphères à la douceur enveloppante, bien que tapissées d’accidents habilement dissimulés. Visceral caresse tout en grattant, hypnotise et repousse, créant un amas de sensations confuses qui trouvent leur place dans ce chaos aux douces houles, lorsqu’on est prêt à affronter des forces contraires pour vivre une aventure des plus singulières. A découvrir.

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Album review of "Visceral" by André Schönauer - Gezeitenstrom
Monday November 25th, 2019

Sanfte Töne, charmante Schwingungen mit elektroakustischer Untermalung, angesiedelt nicht zwingend in Genre-Schubladen. Wer danach sucht, wird mit Sicherheit fündig mit dem neuen Album „Visceral“ von Anna Morley, welches jetzt am Freitag veröffentlicht wird. Die australische Komponistin ist seit einiger Zeit in unserer Hauptstadt zu Hause. Visceral wurde über drei Jahre in Berlin aufgenommen und produziert, mit einer Besetzung von hochkarätigen internationalen Musikern und Künstlern. Dabei liegt, anders als bei ihren Kollegen, nicht das Klavier oder Streicher im Fokus, sondern ein ganz anderes Instrument.

Anna Morley ist eine australische Multi Instrumentalistin und Komponistin, die derzeit in Berlin lebt. Nach ihrem Musikstudium in Australien zog Anna nach Europa, wo sie sieben Jahre in Barcelona verbrachte. Inspiriert von der Stadt der Wärme und der Kälte, schrieb und veröffentlichte Anna sowohl ihre erste EP „Character“ im Jahre 2009, das Debütalbum „Red Balance“ erschien zwei Jahre später, im Jahre 2011. Das letzte Werk „Treasure Pleasure“ erschien vor drei Jahren, Visceral ist daher nun ihr mittlerweile fünftes Album. Auf der Bühne vereint Anna eine einzigartige Bandbreite an Instrumenten, einschließlich Vibrafon, Gesang, Tasten und elektronischen Beats und Samples in ihren Kompositionen.

Verschiedene Musikbereiche zu einem homogenen Klanggefüge.

Auch wenn Anna Morley ein breites Spektrum an klassischen Instrumenten beherrscht, ist das Vibrafon das Instrument, welches ihr Herz birgt. Auf dem neuen Album wird das Instrument auf vielen wegen eingebunden, markant als die melodische Stimme, dann wieder ruhig und bedächtig als musikalische Begleitung. Der akustische Rahmen birgt viele Facetten, reicht von klassischen Strukturen, bis hin zu modernen und Genre-übergreifenden Farbverläufen. Ummantelt werden dann die Klangstrukturen mit elektronischen Fassaden, Soundschnipseln oder Naturgeräuschen. Selbst die Instrumentalisierung birgt viele Tangenten, reichen vom klassischen Klavier oder Violine bis hin zur Ukulele oder der Gitarre. Anna Morley liebt es, verschiedene Musikbereiche zu einem homogenen Klanggefüge zu kombinieren, so besitzt Visceral Anleihen aus der Neoklassik, Jazz, Trip-Hop und natürlich dem Ambient.

Selbst auf Gesang muss man nicht verzichten, der formschön integriert wurde. Sehr auffällig ist auch der emotionale Grad vom Album, der neben leicht melancholischen Titeln doch förmlich voller Warmherzigkeit und Feinfühligkeit strahlt. Genau das passende, um in diesen Tagen die triste und nebelverhangene Stimmung aufzuhellen, wie wenn die Sonne so langsam durchbricht. Gute Songbeispiele sind da die Titel „Amygdala“, „Dream Distillation“ oder „Land of Make Believe“ zu benennen. Der Opener „Spacetime“ lässt den Hörer mit anmutigen Klanglandschaften einsteigen, sehr ausgewogen der Spagat aus Klassik und der modernen Zeit. Insgesamt befinden sich 9 verschiedene Stücke auf dem Album, die Spielzeit ist mit fast 40 Minuten doch sehr üppig ausgefallen. In Visceral steckt eine Menge an Expressionismus, was dem neuen Werk sehr gut zu Gesicht stehen mag.

Anna Morley ist mit Visceral ein Album gelungen, welches sich nach und nach entfaltet, wie eine Rose an einem Frühlingsmorgen. Es mag vielleicht nicht sofort in den Bann ziehen, doch dank seiner Multi- texturieren Form der Musikbereiche hebt es sich doch deutlich ab. Veröffentlicht wird das Album am 29. November 2019 über das Label Hymen Records. Musikfreunde, die gerne expressionistische Züge mögen, werden sicher mit dem Album sehr glücklich werden.

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Album review of "Treasure Pleasure" by Thomas Mathie - Echoes and Dust
Monday August 8th, 2016

I have grown very fond of Water Door by Anna Morley, it is my kind of downtempo music, so you can imagine my delight when I heard that she had another album out, entitled Treasure Pleasure. I jumped at the chance to review it and immediately bought a copy after getting the nod from my longstanding and very patient editor. I think downtempo music has lost its edge … too many compilations and a real lack of imagination has contributed to a real dearth of content. Morley and her work, however, shines boldly as an example of what is possible. When I reviewed Water Door back in early 2014, I spoke of Morley’s genius … I spoke of her ability to take a well-worn genre and give it a fresh imagining. This is why I keep coming back to Water Door and why I am so drawn to Treasure Pleasure.

Treasure Pleasure takes all that is great about Morley’s work – her love of sound and her ability to craft wondrously expansive walls of sound, her fondness for off-kilter rhythms that dance in your head long after they have passed, her use of ethereal vocals that bring a real and tangible sense of humanity – and polishes it, improves it, makes it better.

Morley has a gift for bringing wonderful sounds together and making vibrant, engaging collages with the various pieces: her use of vibraphone, keyboards, guitar, double bass, violin and cello, and her vocals all combine so well together in such a way to make it difficult to describe.

Take the Rhodes on “Mr Fox” that works in conjunction with the double bass to conjure up the very best in 70s soundtracks … or the smooth Rhodes and glockenspiel on “Inertia” that are so expertly juxtaposed against waves of distorted guitar and then overlaid with Morley’s exquisite voice to create a track that would form the cornerstone of a great soundtrack.

We then have the lilting, almost tropical “Fight or Flight” with it’s backing formed around a plucked acoustic guitar (or is it a ukulele?) that creates a basis for the most delightful of melodies, expressed so serenely on a melodica (to my utter delight) … or Morley’s expertly executed cover of “From Gagarin’s Point Of View” by Esbjörn Svensson Trio (E.S.T.) with the distinctive melody played on Morley’s vibraphone instead of Esbjörn Svensson’s piano. The track is underpinned by eerie ambience from the cello, which works so well in comparison to the original. It is an absolute gem that I honestly believe Svensson would have approved of if he were still with us. “Bruises” is another wonderful bringing-together-of-sound: violin, keys, beats and a wee smidgen of electronic manipulation work to create something truly beautiful. This is, in part, thanks to the collaboration with Thomas Prime, whose drum programming adds a little extra something to the track, and production / mixing of the overall album really does justice to Morley’s vision.

Morley is a visionary but isn’t a one-person band. Whilst she has written all bar one of the tracks on Treasure Pleasure and played the majority of instruments, she has also co-produced and co-mixed the album … working alongside Thomas Prime … she has worked with Jorge da Rocha (double bass), Ben Mahoney (“sonic pieces”), Kaio Moraes (violin), Alex Forster (acoustic guitar) and Nikolaus Herdieckerhoff (cello) to fulfil her vision.

And fulfil it, she has … at least from my perspective. Treasure Pleasure is truly a pleasure, one that will play a big part in soundtracking the second half of 2016 and beyond, one that I will treasure in the days and weeks to come.

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Album review of "Water Door" by Beat Magazine, Germany
Page 96, March issue, 2014

Auf ihrer dritten Veröffentlichung aus Jazz-angehauchten, intim-minimalistischen, von dezenter Elektronik einge-färbten Klang-Aquarellen erzeugt die australische Vibraphonistin eine nostalgisch-gespenstische Stimmung. Man fühlt sich gelegentlich an die Soundtracks von David-Lynch-Filmen erinnert, doch erreichen nur wenige Kompositionen filmische Epik. Stattdessen besteht Morleys eigentliches Talent in der Kunst der Reduktion, der Bega-bung, Stille hörbar zu machen und darin, die schönsten Stellen stets nur ein einziges Mal anzusteuern. Ihre Musik ist fragmenthaft und kündet ebenso von der Magie des Moments – als auch von der bitteren Süße des Vergehens.

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Album review of "Water Door" by Les Petits Chroniques
Monday January 20th, 2014

Anna Morley est Australienne et habite à Berlin. À la tête d’un trio éléctro accoustic, Anna Morley a sorti depuis peu un deuxième album, Water Door.

Multi instrumentiste, Anna et son trio proposent des plages de rythmes ambient et downtempo, au coeur desquelles le vibraphone fait des brillantes apparitions.

Inspirée par Erik Satie, elle lui dédie un Gnossienne et continue son travail de collage sonore amorcé avec Red Balance, son premier album.

Léger et planant, Water door se situe pile entre la comptine pour enfants et la musique de film et pour nous c’est sans conteste le titre Blood orange qui remporte la partie haut la main.

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Album review of "Water Door" by Irregular Crates
Friday January 17th, 2014

Right at the beginning of this year we received an album from Berlin-based multi-instrumentalist from Australia, Anna Morley. Anna has released various pieces through 3 albums on her Bandcamp page of which we were previously unaware. With much to get stuck into, we began with her submission Water Door which was released last summer and what an excellent surprise it turned out to be.

In parts you could class this as pop because of the track length, song structure and ingredients. However, there is plenty of avant-garde ideas, an array of different instruments used and a general appeal that make it all the more accessible to us experimental types. The immediacy of Bold reflects its title perfectly; a piece with great immediacy that sets the tone for the tracks that follow. Then enter Not Letting Go which has to be our favourite, with its languid tempo, vintage synth and soft vocals. The warmth of Minchia will be a favourite with fans of experimental Folk music before the disheveled music-box and arrangement genius of Wind Up follows, almost hinting at 90s Trip Hop. Mid way through the album, more quirky downtempo Folk arrives in the form of Blood Orange which is followed by a special tribute to Erik Satie in Gnossienne No. 1. The beautiful strings of Sea Ballad continue along the Folk lines; a real stand-out piece here. Then Afghan Greyhound drones its way in , suitably ethnic as the title would suggest and perhaps reminding of Esmerine’s recent ‘Dalmak’. Finally, Water Door is rounded off with another real album highlight in Casita, which at this point will leave you wanting to hit play again as this wonderfully colourful set of short instrumentals draws to its close.

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Album review of "Water Door" by Thomas Mathie - Echoes and Dust
Wednesday January 15th, 2014

"These are not your usual downtempo sounds ..."

This was my first thought when I began listening to Water Door by Anna Morley, an Australian multi-instrumentalist and composer, who is currently based in Berlin.

Morley's main focus is the vibraphone, but she is known to lend her talents to violin, vocals and a range of keyboard and percussion instruments. Her musical abilities show on Water Door, an album that has remarkable depth that highlights some utterly fascinating instrumentation.

On her Bandcamp page Morley is credited with not just with the instruments mentioned above; but with keys, harmonica, ukulele, and beats too. Her partners in crime - Jorge da Rocha & Alex Forster - are credited with double bass & classical guitar (da Rocha) and tenor & acoustic guitar, oud, and moog (Forster).

This instrumentation really does come together to make something beautiful. It is used imaginatively and used well to make 9 unique tracks that stand on their own as well as work together to form a cohesive whole. The layers of sound create a truly immersive audio experience, one that I found I could lose myself within very easily. Each track has its own identity, its unique character. Over 37 minutes, I am continually astounded by the sounds presented - for example, the keys on 'Not Letting Go', the double-bass on 'Bold' or the vibraphone on 'Sea Ballad' - it is both a surprise and a comfort, like bumping into an old friend, someone you didn't expect to meet but are glad you did.

Water Door is exemplary of the downtempo genre with its deep, immersive, handcrafted layers of sound. It shows what can be done in a genre that has become almost too familiar to the listener.

The stand out track for me is Morley's cover of Eric Satie's 'Gnossienne no. 1'. It is a wonderfully fresh reimagining of a timeless classic, with the most exquisite vibes on offer. It has a decidedly film-noir feel to it, one that I simply adore especially when her haunting, ethereal vocals are presented.

I guess this is Morley's genius and why I love Water Door so much ... she has taken a loved and well worn genre (downtempo) and given it a fresh reimagining. And, in doing so, she has made something worth listening to, something that will stay with you long after the album has stopped, something that will compel you to press play or reach for repeat.

I would highly recommend Water Door to anyone with a fondness for either downtempo music or a preference for varied and imaginative instrumentation. For me, this album was one of the finds of 2013.

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Album review of "Water Door" by Eva Cantillo - The Equal Ground
Friday 22nd November 2013

Think of ambient trip hop music with an international twist mixed into one; that is the music brought to us by multi-instrumentalist Anna Morley. She is from Australia but is currently based in Berlin; this perhaps adding to her unique exotic sounds. Water Door is her second full-length album, which took her and several other musicians two years to complete. The effort and attention to detail is apparent throughout the album as each song is built from many beautiful and intricate layers of sound, all of which gently drip into a pool of intriguing and soothing sounds.

The first song on the album puts you right in Anna’s world, there is an eerie yet very appealing vocal sound of “eee aahh aahhhh” and these sounds accentuate the beats of the song and almost lull you to another world. The second track, “Not Letting Go” is a bit more slowed town in tempo and has a progressive build until the vocals are introduced. This track really reminds me of sultry trip hop songs from the late nineties or early 2000’s; bands like Hooverphonic, Massive Attack and Portishead.

At times I hear a bit of an Indian influence in the music, as there are many bell sounds and twangs from funky instruments. The song “Gnossienne No.1” has this kind of feel; it also sounds like a track from a mystery movie because the song is just stuffed with undiscovered chaos and careful questioning. The vocals repeat a chorus that seem like it would just echo through a dark alleyway and entice any curious passerby.

Each song on Water Door has its own very unique sound that emulates a world of intrigue, mystery, curiosity and eerie opportunity. The vocals that are meticulously placed within the songs are very compelling and set the stage as they float against the backdrop of the sound effects and unique rhythms. The production of this album is commendable as the sound and structuring of each track is of high quality. This is an eccentric listen and a great one to unwind to or to open the gateways of ones’ consciousness.

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"Contra el calor: Water Door de Anna Morley"
Jordi Isern - This is Underground, Barcelona

Tuesday 13th August 2013

El multi-instrumentismo es peligroso. Puede llegar a perderse en las regaladas de los própios músicos y de allí al bostezo y el aburrimiento del oyente. Incluso Mogwai o Sigur Rós han llegado a patinar por ese peligroso paraje. Por eso se hace de valorar tanto propuestas como Anna Morley, en las que saben medir cuando se les va hacia la nada, y retomar el camino para la medida acertada. Sin abrasar a movimientos, ni piruetas mareantes. Un levitar, una cadencia marina y armoniosa. Anna Morley es de Australia, residente en Berlín y ciudadana del mundo, ha llegado a vivir siete años en Barcelona, y es donde sacó sus dos primeros discos. Pero es el tercero, este Water Door (Autoproducido, 2013) el que nos ocupa las noches de veranos en vela. Vibráfono, ukelele, un moog, violín... Todos se encajan bajo la batuta de Anna, que en alguna vez aporta voces, en el papel de un instrumento más. Con el respaldo de Phil Loof a la guitarra y Dhari Vij a las cuatro cuerdas. Water Door, se abre con “Bold”, una maravilla de tema que hubiesen podido firmar CocoRosie en un momento de alta inspiración, o “Wind Up” como de la Julia Holter más dulce y espaciadora. Termina con una parte final en la que encarrilan “Sea Balad” (qué ideal, mirando el termómetro por encima de los 25º) y el cierre con “Casita” -esa memoria de Barcelona- sellan un disco de fondo, de escucha ligera y no exigente. Para sofocos vespertinos y de alta madrugada. Un disco ideal para luz tenue y poca compañía. Un buen vaso de agua fría. Water Door de Anna Morley.

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Article written by Andrés Aguilar Caro - IT HUNTER
Saturday 5 July 2013

I have a reputation for investing my holiday time in cold cities, but when living in Barcelona with one of the best Mediterranean temperatures I can afford to spend some time off in climates where I can wear a warm coat and drink tea under the expanse of a grey sky.

Such eccentricities as these are the kind that I enjoy when I go to Berlin, one of my favorite destinations, and where this summer I will have a second home just like in the old days when I worked for Bread & Butter. And aside from the traditional Currywurst in the kiosk at Hauptbahnhof, which is my usual welcoming meal, long german breakfasts and beers at the table tennis courts at Tempelhof, it will also be a good opportunity to revisit some old projects that, due to distance, I had abandoned somewhat.

To kick off my music tour in early June we approached Anna Morley one day to see how things were going for her, and who we last talked to here at IT Hunter a little over a year ago, and we discovered that her new life in Berlin has been a magnet for some big projects, in particular she is now about to release a new album entitled “Water Door”.

Of course in line with her personal style, she has continued to use her vibraphone melodies now with a more developed flair, which has a mystical air that I credit to her relaxing lifestyle in Berlin. Rhythms have been, with her professional attitude and irrepressible energy, completed by the most classic inspirations and new mixes.

As a surprise, and prior to its release, Anna along with her new band, Dhari Vij on bass and Phil Loof on guitars, invited us to a private concert where they wanted to promote some of their new songs. IT Hunter, in the company of friends such as the Berlin band SWEATSHIRT and the renowned Stylewalker, went along to enjoy the event and cover it. I left with the feeling that the only excuse for the concert was as a new way for my friends to tempt me to stay longer and move to Berlin. To be fair, who would not want to live there?

To those of you who are reading this from Berlin, you can go tomorrow, July 6th, to the Fabriktheater Moabit at 21h for the official concert to launch the new album, where you will also be able to see the paintings by Marty Kelly, with whom they collaborated to develop the new album cover, all in all a great event!

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Article written by Andrés Aguilar Caro - IT HUNTER
Saturday 19 November 2011

It has never really happened before that I have got to know the professions of my neighbours, and after 5 years of having lived in the same building it has turned out that after all they were one of my best clients that I had only ever met over the phone, or that we are distant relatives, or that once we met in the middle of a party and recognised each other there, but when faced with the embarrassment of being explosively drunk you attempt to hide from the excess of drinks. It can happen this way, and more than once I have realised that I am eternally regretting having missed so many opportunities in my life from having failed to catch someone at the right moment.

I have to admit that I jumped at the opportunity on several occasions to meet my Australian neighbour, Anna Morley, who some of my close friends had told me would be one of the discoveries of my 2011.

Having spied her, I managed to get hold of her album which she produced this year together with the Barcelona based British artist Alex Forster, from where I began, little by little, to steal her songs into my daily life. How did I approach her? Is the question you may be asking at this point. Well, I invited myself to her birthday party, knowing that although I do a great a great job sneaking into parties, and despite the punch being filled generously with spirits, the truth is that I was filled with an impulsive urge to discover the secrets behind the echoes of her music and to discover the influences of her sound, but it was fruitless work. An artist with such talent and with a halo of mystery surrounding her, had disarmed me.

I can certainly say that her music speaks for itself and today I wanted to share with you the song that has over the last few days filled my head with a magical awakening, “Heightened Senses”, which has only been played live once, and which you can see again in Barcelona tonight at 21:30 at the Fantástico Club, a classic on the Spanish underground scene.

As a gift, I also present to you their new video that was recorded at one of my favourite places in the city, the Laberinto de Horta, and a preview of what will be happening tonight, along with Charrua, an artist who will be competing with Anna to steal the echoes of the city to transform them into delicious music for insatiable musical appetites.

My advice, talk with your neighbours, you never know how many hidden surprises may be waiting to be shared.

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Album review of "Red Balance" by Sean -
Friday 22 July 2011

Anna Morley is a classically trained vibraphone player from Australia, now living in Barcelona, and she’s quietly making a stir with her unique compositions. Morley works with London-based produced Alex Foster who adds gentle rhythms and heart-beat sized beats to her instrumentation. Along with the vibraphone, Morley occasionally adds her own vocals to tracks and plays the violin, keyboard, and an array of percussive instruments.

Her EP Character is a chilled-out ambient work and her debut album Red Balance is equally crisp and clean, while a bit more bubbly, a refreshing soda pop on a summer day. Space-age bachelorette pad music at its finest. Although I think anyone, regardless of their marital status, will enjoy lounging to such a soundtrack.

If you’re fortunate enough to find yourself in Spain in the next couple weeks, be sure to check out her shows.

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"Anna Morley - Compositirice, arrangiatrice e talento australiano."
Wednesday 27th of July 2011

Andrea Accetta -

È già passato un anno da quando, per motivi di lavoro, mi trovavo per le strade di Barcellona con in mano una mappa e una lunga lista di appartamenti in affitto da dover visitare per scegliere quella che per i seguenti 5 mesi sarebbe stata la mia casa. La ricerca si rivelò un totale successo, sia per l’appartamento a due passi dalle famose Ramblas, ma soprattutto per la piacevole sorpresa nel ritrovarmi sotto lo stesso tetto di una ragazza, arrivata direttamente dall’altra parte del mondo e dotata di un notevole talento musicale, Anna Morley.
Australiana di nascita, finiti gli studi al conservatorio di Melbourne decide di partire alla scoperta del vecchio continente, approdando prima a Londra dove continua a sviluppare la sua tecnica musicale [e conoscerà il suo futuro produttore Alex Forster]; ma rimane presto vittima del fascino di Barcellona dove decide poco tempo dopo di trasferirsi.
Anna si trova tranquillamente a suo agio nel suonare numerosi strumenti fra cui il violino, percussioni, piano e armonica ma è senza dubbio il vibrafono, strumento sicuramente non fra i più comuni, con cui riesce a esprimere pienamente la sua musica con suoni morbidi ed echeggianti riuscendo a trasportare chi ascolta in un ambiente suggestivo, quasi incantato.
Nel 2009 inizia la sua carriera da compositrice, incidendo il suo primo disco “Character” in cui dimostra di accompagnare al talento da musicista anche una grande creatività nell’arrangiare le proprie canzoni con ottimi accostamenti di suoni elettronici, synt e beatbox che si fondono strategicamente con il vibrafono, ottenendo come risultato un sound molto personale che sicuramente non dà l’impressione di qualcosa di già ascoltato.
Anna, in compagnia del suo fedele collettivo, in seguito al lancio del suo secondo lavoro “Red Balance” ha appena dato il via all’omonimo Tour in giro per la Spagna e si vociferano possibili tappe anche in Italia, in attesa di conferme, vi invitiamo ad ascoltare qualcosa dei suoi due dischi.


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Album review of "Character" by Matthew Woodward
Sunday 28 November 2010

While the concept of "ambient" music might be a little confusing to some, Australian artist Anna Morley proves that such classifications are often quite limiting in the real world.

Morley's EP Character is a laid back affair, a musical collage made up of multiple layers of electronica, acoustics and percussion. Recorded in London and Barcelona and featuring accompaniment by talented musicians like Ben Paddick and Tom Ansink, Morley's debut release is an interesting and mesmerising record that is sure to challenge many listeners with its unconventional musical structure and styling.

Largely bereft of vocals, Character is for the most part comprised of instrumental soundscapes which progress and flow over a number of minutes. A host of instruments are utilised throughout, with acoustic guitar, programmed drum beats and vibraphone featuring prominently in each track. These already complex melodies are further enhanced by tastefully placed violin, harmonica and keyboards, all of which contribute to the overall patchwork of sounds comprising Morley's music.
While some listeners may find it hard to differentiate Character's tracks from one another due to their lack of traditional song structure, two do manage to stand out from the collection as particularly enjoyable. "After All..." opens awash in a sea of melodious vibraphone playing before some of Morley's wistful (though nonsensical) vocals cut through. However, towards the end of the piece the listener gets a real treat, with a floating ukulele melody tying everything together. The EP's closer "Bells And Bottletops" is another highlight, a lounge inspired track that is punctuated by both harmonica and bass melodica before fading out over a laid back keyboard line.

As a musical style, "ambient" is a genre which is often overlooked in the mainstream. While Anna Morley's debut EP is not going to break this trend, it is nonetheless a wonderful exploration of contemporary music which challenges the listener to look beyond the standard "verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo" format. With its warm sounds and complex instrumental progressions, Character is a release that is sure to please fans of the genre, and anyone else who is brave enough to give it a chance.

Anyone interested in seeing some of Anna Morley's music performed live can check out her list of upcoming Victorian shows.

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ALBUM REVIEW of "Character" from Music Forum Magazine
Music Forum magazine volume 16 no. 2

February 1st 2010

Anna Morley
Gazebo Music GM-002

Dreamy and expansive, Anna Morley's debut EP is a curious little thing. It's sort of wonderful hearing vibraphone lead a whole collection of songs, and there's no doubt that Morley is extremely talented at her chosen instrument, and many of the others that she plays on the record. At the same time, it's a little alienating going in to what you're expecting to be a pop EP, and hearing almost no human voice.

Pop songs need structure, that's what makes them recognisable as pop songs, and it's hard to do when you don't have someone there to sing your verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus-chorus. But maybe that's the beauty of this collection of music, the way it hints at a feeling rather than spelling out its message explicitly. The songs are richly instrumented‐ukelele, bass melodica, synthesizers, and strings all weave through the vibraphone and guitar that dominate the EP. The vibe is a great choice to lead a record that's almost completely devoid of singing, as it really has a voice of its own. But sometimes, it's still not quite enough.

First track Es Lo Que Hay swells with cellos and picked guitar over hypnotic, rolling rhythms, picked up later by hand claps, but without words to give it some variety, the repeated motifs get, well, repetitive. It's the second track, Today The Heart, that stands out. Starting off with a dark kind of 70s-lounge keys riff, crunchy synth beats are countered by Morley's fuzzed, whispery, half-enunciated voice. The synth keys solo is enchanting; the whole track is spooky, driving, mysterious‐it has mood, which is the ideal for this kind of "ambient" music. Sure, it plays fine in the background, but listening closely is just as rewarding.

Unfortunately, it's not so for some of the other tracks. These are the ones that encourage you to make drinks while you listen. They're certainly more interesting than most lounge or background music available-again, that vibraphone! It's hard to ignore‐but they seem to shy away from more intent listens.

As far as "ambient" goes, Anna Morley's definitely at the top of the list, and if you like your music gently intriguing rather than brassily attention-grabbing, you'll like it. Otherwise, download Today the Heart, and listen when you're in your most meditative, spacey mood.

Reviewed by Sam George-Allen
MCA magazine, Music Forum