Full Amp Biography (currently being updated to cover 2007-2015)
Amp formed out of the musical wanderings of Richard Amp (b. England) formerly in ‘The Secret Garden’ with Dave Pearce now of ’Flying Saucer Attack’. They recorded together the ‘Distance’ project from which one track ‘November Mist’ finally saw the light of day on the FSA album ‘Distance’ in 1994.
The first Amp release was an audio- cassette, accompanied by a short story, written and recorded in 1992, entitled ‘GreenSky BlueTree’ This release features Ray Dickaty, who was working with Richard on an experimental free punk jazz project, which became Skree, whilst Richard was studying at the Royal College of Art. Richard leaves the Skree project (apart from occasional contributions later on) to concentrate on Amp. Ray subsequently, goes on to be a member of serval notable bands, from Gallon Drunk, MoonShake, Spiritualized, Duke Spirit....as well as his own Solar Fire Trio, as well as performing with several jazz illuminati, he later returns to work with Amp during 2004-2005.
In London 1993/94 Richard’s ‘Green sky…’ inspires singer Karine Charff (b. France) and after joining Richard, AMP’s first single ‘Get There’ is released on Linda’s Strange Vacation Records. Both initially recorded some material at home and in Wales with friends Matt Elliiot of ‘Third Eye Foundation’ and Matt Jones of ‘Crescent’.
The first two 7" singles were released in 1995, the album ‘Sirenes’ was released in 1996 in the UK and USA.They played a spree of gigs around London and Bristol.
“…Amp douse their folk melodies in oceanic effects, with a commitment to fidelity so low it would make a philander blush…Amp have created a soundtrack that actually attempts to address their imaginary film they are scoring…” Christopher Porter, Alternative Press 1996.
After the two members ‘Matts’ departed to work on their respective projects. Karine and Richard recorded some more material in London and Wales with G. Mitchell and G. Cooper resulting in the first album for the Kranky label ‘Astralmoonbeamprojections’ released in 1997.
This line up continued to play live around London, as well as Leeds, Manchester, Brighton,and notibly the 20th aniversary gig for the ‘Rough trade’ shops at thet Subterania, London.
".... Amp’s Kranky debut is a panoramic sweep of experimentation, encompassing cavernously loud soundscapes, murmured vocals and a paradoxical blend of violent ethereality…” Tom Ridge, The Wire.1997
“.... Amp is the most beautiful band currently in existence. Their music, ideas and approach to the art of sound is incredibly honest to an immaculate end…” Eric Kowalski, Millk 1997.
1998 saw Amp restructuring more closely around bi-polar forces of Karine and Richard. They work with Olivier Gauthier from France for programming, Producer Robert Hampson (Loop/Main) and together record the album ‘Stenorette’.
“The Amp duo’s second album for Kranky marks an obvious change in approach from 1997 Astralmoon…Here Amp makes conspicuous use of electronic beats to provide solid structures for the glacial beauty of their music…” Tom Ridge, The Wire Jan. 99.
After releasing the second Album on Kranky Records, Amp toured Europe in 1999 as a duo centred around Richard and Karine. Amp sign a 2 album deal with Space Age Recordings in 2000, their first release, ‘Saint Cecilia Sinsemilla’ a collection of Live recordings from their European tour in 1999, including a radio session for VPRO Radio 5 in Amsterdam, recorded three months prior to the tour.
“... Hearing Amp in what is (for most people) a new context, creates a new perspective for looking at not only this release, but previous releases. I have found myself returning to their other albums and enjoying them even more than before…” Pete Baumann, Fake Jazz.com. Oct.2001.
“Lamour Invisible’ was released in June 02 on Space Age Recordings. Recorded in London with Richard Walker, Karine Charff and Olivier Gauthier (an electronic french house artist, who released under the monikers of Sexy Kool, Star Deluxe, then from 2002 Exotica)
The band started to tour Europe more often as a 3+4 piece with Marc Challans joining to replace Olivier, who could not commit to touring, Olivier leaves to go to Barcelona, he goes on to subsequently form Soul Minority.....
Amp Tour Europe in Spring 2002, they meet Donald ‘Ross’ Skinner on the road whist driving for us on Tour, he joins us on an encore in Dresden, we click so well and enjoyably , he ends up joining the group!
This line-up notably support Interpol in London, at 93feet east. in October 2002 with members of Interpol professing to be fans of Amp!
“… And with L’Amour Invisible, I finally discovered this truly eclectic leftfield band. What they present to us in just over an hour is amazing in variety and quality. Never have I heard a band that combines different musical styles so easily as Amp…” Bas Ickenroth, KindaMuzik. Oct 2002
Another European Tour follows in Early 2003. Richard goes to America on a road trip with film maker Lucas Tizon, and formulates concepts and ideas and imageary for an album...which begins recording in the Autumn.
‘US’ is released in Feburary 2005 on Very Friendly.Records on CD (Cargo/UK) The new album marks another development in their sound, to one which is bolder and more direct. Richard and Karine are joined by Marc Challans, Donald Ross Skinner (Julian Cope) and re-joined by Ray Dickaty after his contribution to GreenSky BlueTree in 1991/1992. Challans leaves the band in 2004 before the release of the album.
‘… Expansive in its claustrophobia, propelled by its own density and darkness,, it is a panegyric to a transatlantic apocalypse.” Nick Southgate, The Wire April 05.
‘Transmissions Phase1’ 2xCDR was released on Ampbase.net, Autumn 2005. Amp’s own imprint via their website, ampbase.net, it is released as a digital download in Jan 2006. Transmissions is a return to the landscape of ‘Perception’ and was intended as a kind of follow up. Preformed by Richard, Karine and Ray.
Amp performs one gig at ‘La Zone’ in Liege Belgium in November 1995, with Richard, Ray, Karine, Donald, and Jason Rivers (on loan from the Summer Sang) on bass.
In early 2006 Amp Toured Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Holland. with this same line-up minus Ray (who had other commitments with the Solar Fire trio).
Amp played the ‘Croma Festival’ in Tenerife in September 2006 as a 3 piece: Richard, Karine and Kevin Bass (of Snow Pony) on Drums. Donald couldn't make it along on this trip sadly.....
to be continued...