"All of Yesterday Tomorrow" (Compilation Album, 2007) !DSO Recommended!
Indie label Rroopp was was set up last year with the aim of releasing high quality compilations of artists' singles, out-of-print and unreleased material. Their first release this time last year was the 3-CD compilation The Beautiful Season Has Past that brought together a collection of works by Yellow6 - an artist we've a lot of time for here at the DSO HQ. Apparently sticking to the principle of quality over quantity, this extensive Amp compilation (another 3-CD four-fold digipack) is only their second release; but the wait has been well worth it.
Experimental collective Amp's considerable oeuvre takes in folk, ambient, looped beats, space rock, electronica, psychedelia, post-this, post that and soundtrack territory - a cluster of genres that reflects the source bands and artists that have contributed to Amp's output over some fifteen years of writing, releasing and performing. Third Eye Foundation, Flying Saucer Attack, Movietone, Moonshake and Prolapse have all had a hand in it at some point during Amp's life so far.
There's a decidedly global feel to the vibe that builds across some thirty-eight tracks. Shades of traditional Japanese folk song instrumentation can be discerned here and there, elsewhere a faint hint of Gaelic bagpipes, or a Parisian accordion (there's a grouping of Francophile dalliances on the second disc that include lyrics sung in French).
It seems faintly futile singling out particular songs from such an eclectic and strong selection, but I feel compelled to anyway. So here goes. Instrumental drift pieces such as the sumptuous Seagreen Serenades envelop the listener in a mist of edgy ambiance that is simultaneously tinged with darkness and yet euphoric (an apparent dichotomy that resurfaces in Amp's work again and again across the years). The warm, soft piano, flute and Karin Charff's whispered non-lyrical sighs on There She Goes has an exquisitely reflective pastoral quality. Then there is the uncomplicated yet astonishingly affecting instrumental Walking A Line that could be the soundtrack to an avant garde piece of geometric animation from the 1950s. Whilst Lutin comes across like a chilling out-take from the soundtrack to Alien.
Experimentation is never without its risks, however, and (very) occasionally the finished article doesn't coalesce. I still can't decide if their rendition of Scarborough Fair is brilliantly subversive or just plain unpleasant. All the tracks have been remastered specifically for this compilation and twelve have never before seen the light of day - though you'd be hard pressed to single them out. All of Yesterday Tomorrow is a remarkable release that stands as compelling documentary evidence of all that Amp have achieved over the years. 8/10
Rob Dyer (June, 2007)