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Album Review

As the band's contribution to the Darla label's continuing Bliss Out series, which encourages artists to record efforts more or less in line with that general sense of moody modern psychedelia, Amp came up with what is flat out one of the greatest atmospheric ambient albums ever recorded. Powerful and beautiful all at once, Perception consists of four lengthy tracks over two discs, all of which were recorded in a one-day session by key member Richard and early sidemember Gareth, then later remixed and prepared for release. The day itself was a wet one, so a recording of rain heralds the beginning of the album, leading into the title track, a majestic combination of guitar drones, buried feedback, keyboard echoes and pure, pure float and drift, completely eschewing percussion of any sort. The three other songs follow almost exactly in this same general pattern, but far from being repetitious, they all sound like variants on a basic, awe-inspiring theme. It's the type of music that invites the kind of flowery critical descriptions used in the heyday of shoegazing — "oceanic swells of feedback" and so forth — which for once sound utterly appropriate instead of being metaphors gone berserk. Various extra touches, like the inclusion of Gregorian chanting on "Receive," enhance the hushed, affecting quality of Perception, making it a very English form of dark blue sonic art, the type of music to soundtrack a night on the moors or a day in the fog. In sum, wonderful.


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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Perception, Amp
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