Amp is an English group based around the core members Richard Walker and Karine Charff.  Walker was a member of a band in Bristol called The Secret Garden that incubated a number of groups including Flying Saucer Attack and Third Eye Foundation.  In 1992 he left the band singles from Amp began to come out on a number of small English labels and a debut album called Sirenes was released in 1996 on the Wurlitzer Jukebox label in the UK and a short-lived American label called Petrol.  Walker made some guest appearances on Third Eye Foundation recordings, and Matt Elliot did a TEF remix of Amp music for the In Version album.

A London-based, live Amp unit coalesced around Walker and Charff with Walker's bandmate from The Secret Garden, Gareth Mitchell, joining on guitar.  Amp contacted kranky when their American label dissolved and began work on a new studio album in summer 1996.  Recorded partially at home and partially in North Wales, Astralmoonbeamprojections is a expansive album that The Wire described in June 1997 as "a panoramic sweep of experimentation, encompassing cavernously loud landscapes, murmured vocals and a paradoxical blend of violent ethereality."  Packaged in Richard Walker's luminous artwork (Walker also did artwork for the Creation label at this time) reminiscent of igneous rocks and a starlit night,  Astralmoonbeamprojections  was both ambitious and visceral.

    "Despite the easy comparison to Flying Saucer Attack, with whom Amp shares lineage and an obvious fondness for Popul Vuh's  Werner Herzog sountracks, the sound of Astral is one descended from Lee Ranaldo's abstracted free-guitar on Sonic Youth's early albums.  The influence must be contagious as Karine Chariff sounds positively Gordon-esque when she mewls through 'Onehopesinuncertainty."  Percussion and bass are employed uncoventionally, creating a trans-Atlantic mirror sound-image of the New Zealand underground (Rain, Gate, A Handful of Dust) or of our own Pelt and Charalambides."
     Gil Gershman,  Magnet  Sept./Oct. 1997

A number of EPs and singles followed.  To delineate between group and personal recordings, Walker began to designate some recordings as being from A.M.P. and A.M.P. Studio.

For their next album, Amp began collaborating with Loop/Main prime mover Robert Hampson.   Gareth Mitchell had left the band to focus on his own Philosopher's Stone project.  Olivier Gauthier added his expertise with rhythm programming and the album that came out in 1998, Stenorette, marked a new and more crystalline musical direction for Amp.  With a more concerted rhythmic underpinning, the songs on Stenorette ring out more concisely, especially those motivated by piano melodies.  Chris Twomey wrote in the Feb. 1999 issue of Exclaim! that Amp's "space drones and abstract soundscapes now introduce 4AD-style instrumental melancholia and provide textures to biting cuts of Scala/Echo Park-ish trip hop" and Matthew Moyer went so far as to say in Ink 19 that "this album has every bit of the glacial calm, distance, disaffection and quiet longing that made groups like Japan and John Foxx's Ultravox so very romantic and European."

kranky titles available

see also
Philosopher's Stone - Apparatus
Philosopher's Stone - Preparation

external links