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We Are Amused

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Album Review

As of 2011, three and a half decades had passed since a 22-year-old Greg Ginn founded the influential punk rock band Black Flag in 1976. Ginn's album We Are Amused cannot be called punk rock, and, as its facetious group name "the Royal We" suggests, it is not the work of a band, either. Ginn applies the term "the Royal We" to himself to indicate that this is a one-man project on which he has played all the instruments. But if the music is not punk rock, it is still identifiable as rock. On each of the nine lengthy instrumental tracks, Ginn sets up a simple pattern of, say, six ("Laundering Reality") or eight ("Morning in the South") notes, played on an electric guitar or a keyboard, over a steady rhythm section. He also employs a theremin on several selections for an eerie, slide guitar-like effect. The music is certainly trippy, if not exactly psychedelic since, to call rock psychedelic usually implies that there are long, virtuosic solos. Ginn isn't so much interested in instrumental virtuosity as he is in layering sounds within constant rhythmic constructs. This isn't dance music, either, despite the constancy of the beats. The tracks have a trance-inducing effect, especially given their lengths, which get close to 11 minutes in one case. The music is engaging, but at the same time uncompromising, which, come to think of it, also could have been said of Black Flag.

Biography

Born: 08 June 1954 in Tuscon, AZ

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Unquestionably the most influential guitarist to emerge from the late-'70s/early-'80s U.S. hardcore/punk movement was Black Flag's Greg Ginn. Never afraid to incorporate other musical styles into his playing (namely jazz fusion and Black Sabbathy heavy metal), as well as squealing feedback from his amplifier, Ginn's guitar also served as a defining ingredient in the Black Flag sound as he was the only member to remain in the group from its formation until its demise. Influenced equally by the Grateful...
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We Are Amused, Greg Ginn
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