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Saint Cecilia Sinsemilla

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Album Review

After a couple of years of near-total silence, Amp returned to the fray in 2001 with Saint Cecilia Sinsemilla, collecting work from two European dates — one a radio session and the other a live date — in 1998 and 1999. Stripped down to the core duo of Richard Walker and Karine Charff, with an extra bassist on the first few selections and samples of the other members cropping up here and there, Amp makes more beautiful blurred noise. Songs are mostly drawn from the Stentorette album, but other sources crop up here and there, such as "Get There" from the Passe-Present compilation and "Stellata" from Astralmoonbeamprojections. One song, "Non," is actually an edit between the two performances that makes everything sound like one unified concert, a nice touch. Generally speaking, the more immediate radio production and live performance edge adds a fascinating twist to the usual Amp approach, most specifically on the radio cuts with Charff's singing. Not as buried in the murk as she often can be, she sounds stronger than ever, downright cutting at points, giving "Get There" and "Tango Non" a new, livelier punch. Walker's own work still relies on a muffled, distorted hum and heavily echoed feedback howls, but the obsessive rhythms on display on Stentorette sound just as sudden and sharp here, if not more so. The live concert cuts are more familiar sounding in feel, but also demonstrate even more experimental tendencies, with short pieces like "Oh Jesus" scattered among the main numbers. Both performances are quite good, and the disc as a whole can just as easily win over new fans appreciating space rock noise explorations as it will satisfy long-faithful followers. Standout cuts include a blast through "Hum Field Modulator" and a fine take on Stentorette's "Outlier," its biomechanical beats sounding especially creepy with Charff's extreme howling at the end.


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Dubbing themselves ‘Trans-European Esoterrorists’, Amp was formed around the nucleus of Richard Walker aka Richard Amp (b. England) and singer Karine Charff (b. France), working with a succession of collaborators including Matt Elliot (of Third Eye Foundation), Matt Jones (of Crescent), Guy Cooper and Gareth Mitchell (of the Secret Garden), Robert Hampson (of Main), and French programmer Olivier Gauthier. ‘I don’t see the world as a particularly happy place to be in, so I like to confront that and...
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Saint Cecilia Sinsemilla, Amp
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