I first encountered this album while I was researching for my radio program on 5RC. It was one of two releases AFC put out on the label, the other being Every Eleven Seconds, an album I had picked up years ago while travelling in New York. At the time, I hadn't cared much for that album- I found it too weird and too uneven. When my research forced me to go back and reconsider that album, I found it still to be very strange and hit-and-miss, and found The People at Large to be a similar experience. But this time the hits stuck out a little bit more, and that combined with Amps for Christs strange story, makes for a pretty interesting album. Before making AFC his primary project, Chris Barnes was in Man Is the Bastard (who I have to admit I haven't listened to before- are they good?)(also, did you know that Man Is the Bastard's last release was a split with Mumia Abu-Jamal on Alternative Tentacles??). Moving away from punk, Barnes continued his experiments with building amplifiers and other guitar tech, and explored a synthesis of folk and noise music in Amps for Christ. Its totally schizophrenic- some tracks are noisy, dissonant and unsettling, while other tracks are mellow interpretations traditional folk songs. The album doesnt really have any kind of obvious direction or flow, and kind be pretty alienating to listen to at points. But I think in the instances when all of the various influences and experimental sounds actually coalesce into something substantial, the results are pretty amazing.
Amps for Christ - AFC Tower Song
Amps for Christ - The Morlough Shore