Welcome to Review Revue, where every Thursday I dig through the KEXP stacks to share DJ reviews and comments written on the covers of LPs (and occasionally CDs) in the ’80s and ’90s, when the station was called KCMU, the DJs were volunteers, and people shared their opinions on little white labels instead of the internet.
As I hope you know, adventurous listener of music that you surely are, the city of Seattle has a long, rich, deep history of experimental music, stretching back many years and continuing into today, with players of all ages and genres exploding with creativity and pushing whatever boundaries they can find. Seattle being Seattle and musicians being musicians, there is a lot of overlap and interplay and collaboration, both within the experimental scene and with musicians from other genres. Two giants of experimental, genre-busting Seattle music for the past few decades have been Amy Denio and Fred Chalenor. Fred passed away earlier this year, and his loss was felt deeply by countless musicians, both locally and globally. (I've gushed about Amy's work elsewhere in this series.)
For a brief moment in the late '80s/early '90s, Amy and Fred joined forces as Tone Dogs, to (it would seem) the delight of college radio DJs everywhere – or at least here in Seattle. For an even briefer moment, they worked with drummer Matt Cameron, taking a little time off from his other gig with that Soundgarden band. (Here's a nice little Instagram tribute Matt shared on the occasion of Fred's death.) Ankety Low Day is the result of that collaboration, and a fruitful collaboration it seems to have been indeed. If you'd like to hear it for yourself (I know I would!), Amy Denio, the hero that she is, has made the whole album available for streaming and purchase at her comprehensive Bandcamp site – along with Tone Dogs' other studio album, and a live recording from Amsterdam! Well, now you know what you're listening to for the rest of the day/week.
"Fine avant-jazz-rock stuff. Check it out! Also on CD!"
"Play this now."
"And play it later, too. Great quirky, jazzy music. Excellent musicianship."
"Hey this breaks new ground which ain't so easy no Kenny G here spin it!" [This comment written in a spiral from outside to in, which is a pretty neat trick if you think about it.]
"'Fifth Grade Brownie Wall' skips."
This week's Review Revue spotlights the album Release the Pressure by Criminal Nation. See what KCMU DJs thought back in the day.