Amp - All Of Yesterday Tomorrow
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All Of Yesterday Tomorrow

Amazingly enough, Amp have now been kicking it around for a decade and a half, releasing several albums and a slew of singles, compilation tracks, and various other ephemera along the way. Their high-points were probably the minor classic Astralmoonbeamprojections (and possibly Stenorette) on Kranky, and possibly the two-CD epic burnout of Perception on Darla, but they've also put out music on Wurlitzer Jukebox, Space Age, and several other labels over the years. Along the way, the group was incredibly prolific, and essentially All Of Yesterday Tomorrow pulls all those little orphaned songs up into one singular release.

If you've heard Amp before, you probably know what you're getting into here. There are more than enough dense, massive swirling pools of fuzzy guitar feedback, muffled beats, and dreamy vocals to keep you head-tripping for almost four hours on this release. The CDs aren't really sequenced in any sort of chronological order, rather they're roughly placed to provide a few ups and downs on a set where things could turn into one long drone-fest rather easily. Given the rules of the group (they liked to incorporate improvisation into both their studio recordings and live sets, and supposedly never played a song the same way twice), All Of Yesterday Tomorrow has a sort of half-awake quality that lends itself well to the recordings.

As mentioned above, each disc on the compilation is nearly packed full, and with a total running time of over three and a half hours, there's a lot to focus on. The first disc is all over the place, with tracks like the acoustic/electric guitar trip-outs of "Melatonin Red" and "Small Light" alongside more experimental pieces like the deep programmed drums and drones (and sampled baby noises!) of "ICU." Tracks like the more straightforward "Remember" (with a fairly traditional guitar/bass/drums lineup) help keep things just slightly grounded.

The other two discs of the release are nicely-varied as well, showing everything from droning, spoken-word pieces with Karine Charff ("Standing In The Darkest Corner Of The Room") to creepy, damaged chamber orchestra ("Le Revenant") along with a couple tracks that fall somewhere close to dream-pop. Of course, when you're referencing Amp, pop is a pretty relative term, and most of the time the group is content to let things stretch out over the course of six minutes or more while producing sometimes gorgeous and sometimes queasy textures. The vocals of Charff are equally up and down, sometimes providing another ethereal layer to the mix, while at other times grating with an almost tuneless-ness.

With this second release (they also put out the whopping 3CD collection The Beautiful Season Has Past by Yellow6), RROOPP has certainly proven themselves as a little label who is willing to do things the right way when it comes to archiving the work of a musician or artist. The packaging on All Of Yesterday Tomorrow is gorgeous, with a lush triple digipack and tons of great information in the extended liner notes (including detailed notes on each song, full band discography, biography, and other information) along with track-by-track remastering. For a avant/drone/noise rock band, Amp is certainly more consistent than most, but given the vast reaches of this release, it will likely be more (or possibly the only thing) that average listeners can handle. It's not always mindblowing, but if you're a fan of Amp or space/drone rock in general, you could certainly do a lot worse than picking up this massive, but reasonably-priced collection.

rating: 7.2510
Aaron Coleman 2007-07-12 20:04:13