Review Revue: Jeff Greinke – Cities in Fog

For someone who considers himself to be a champion of the local music scene of today, I will acknowledge that this particular series could do more posts on local music — and not just the Nirvanas and Pearl Jams that we all know and love (or know, anyway), but the more obscure bands and artists that might have fallen by the wayside in the decades since these records were first marked up by pointy-headed college music snobs (and I say that with the utmost love and respect).

For this week’s installment I went back to a request from Damon Creed, a regular reader and one of the original KCMU commenters, from a while back (OK, 2 and a half years back… whatever). He suggested we pull out Jeff Grienke‘s record Cities in Fog, recalling it had “a pretty lively debate.” And how!

Greinke’s name might not be familiar to you, but he is a highly respected musician — once local, now based in Tucson — who has been releasing albums of ambient and jazz music for close to thirty years now. Cities in Fog was his second of 17 solo studio albums to date, of which I’m sure there will be more to come. It seems to have been quite well regarded by critics (see for example this brief review on Allmusic), and many of the DJs loved it (it’s hard to imagine a local ambient album making it into heavy rotation these days), but of course with our friends at KCMU there will always be debate…

“A fine record of industrial/ambient sounds from Jeff Greinke, of Intrepid, Angus & Greinke, maybe even Storm, and possibly other local noisemakers. It’s pronounced ‘grenkee,’ more or less. Play.”

“This kicks ass!”

“Man — this rocks. Play this. Face smashing.”

“Eno’s got nothin’ on Mr. Greinke. Available at Mount Olympus imports. (Cheap)”

“Thanks for the H, Faith!”

“This is truly cool.”

“This is ambient more or less but so neat to see this come out of Seattle. Just think — your own local ambient record! The trains + freeway noises phased into music. It’s nice. A sense of place.”

“This fuckin’ jams! Did I already say ‘HOT DAM!'”

“This is boring and monotonous. Sounds the same at 33 or 45.”

“Do you know anything about subtelty?”

“Can you spell?”

“Does sounding different at 45 or 33 indicate quality?”

“I was merely making an observation — any quality judgement stemming from it is all in your mind. Don’t get upset – it’s just one person’s opinion.”

“Sounds best on 45 RPM.”

“Sounds like a Jacque Cousteau ‘Special’ soundtrack.”



“Art says: ‘What more could a girl want?’ And I tend to agree! Ah, satiation!”

“‘I simply do not understand all the fuss,’… ‘I don’t see the things,’ and, oh yeah, ‘nothing new here.”

“I think people just decided it was cool to like this so now they like it. It’s good. It is. But…”

“Try going to sleep to it! Fucking weird…”

“This record ain’t horrible ‘r nothing, I just don’t think it’s as groundbreaking as music like this pretends to be. Thus the borrowed quotes (1 from Foetus, 1 from Scratch Acid, & 1 from Squirrelbait).”

“But I never said it was groundbreaking – I said it was nice that Seattle produced an ambient record. Everyone outside of town thinks it’s a ripoff of Ambient 4.”

“Regarding the above discussion, I’m quite glad that we can realize that rather than simply assuming one’s taste is better than another’s, that it is instead merely different.”

“I’m just writing on this because everyone else did.”

“Why don’t you two kiss an’ make up, wussies…”

“We have & it was great!”


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One Comment

  1. Damon Creed
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    You said a mouthful there, Levi, “it’s hard to imagine a local ambient album making it into heavy rotation these days.” And look, the old blue “H” for heavy rotation sticker is still on it.

    Great that this album was reissued a few years back on cd, sounds awesome and you don’t have to put up with the vinyl pops & crackle. Don’t get me wrong, pops & crackle have their place but they do little to enhance this fine record. Jeff enjoyed fine support from KCMU and rightfully so. All his work is quite good.

    Amusing to see all those comments again. You’d be surprised if you knew who some of those folks are today. I’m sworn to secrecy though.

    Fair warning, be careful listening to this album with the volume turned up to eleven. I did once when I wanted to use the deep rumbling sounds that permeate this record to annoy some upstairs neighbors on the last night of living in a basement apartment. To heck with screaming guitars when you can use locomotive size bass drones to piss off the neighbors! The stereo tried valiantly to keep up but after about 10-12 minutes, the power amp was scorching hot and the safety fuse blew out! Only time I’ve ever blown out a piece of stereo equipment and it was with an “ambient” record.

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