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 I use our music to do so’, maintained Walker, in Melody Maker, upon the release of the band’s 1996 debut Sirenes. Over a series of enrapturing albums (including a singles collection Passe Present), this ‘reflection of the times’ was manifested in the form of delicate piano figures, junglist rhythmic clatter, esoteric drones, trace remnants of trip-hop, feedback-doused oceanic folk, and echoic experiments with bass that made explicit Walker’s assertion that ‘it’s as interesting listening to abstract sound sources as it is to music’. Preceded by a single packaged in a paper sunflower, the band’s third studio album Stenorette (1998) found prismatic beauty in looped drones, ambient drift, dislocated vocals and Satie-inspired piano.
Walker also, notably, creates music under the A.M.P. and A.M.P. Studio monikers, the punctuation and suffix codifying the personnel involved in the recordings and the circumstances in which the recordings were made.