he didnt - Anti​-​Ambient Passive Resistance (Album Review)

From the mean streets of Oxford comes he didnt, an experimental guitar player who uses distortion and effects to produce a gnarly and bone-chilling assault on the senses, although one that is deceptively rich with intention and feeling. Released on drone alone records, Anti​-​Ambient Passive Resistance is the artist's debut album and is an uncompromising, unpolished, and unflinching collection of beatless noise cuts. While on the surface there may be little to differentiate this music from other noise-based guitarist-first projects, underneath the sustained disfiguration of melody are arrangements that put mood as paramount.

After a brief introduction, "Marcus Aurelius (AD version)" sets things off with a brutal and repetitive guitar riff imbued with layers of harmony, adding sonic richness that culminates in an epic and explosive listening experience.

The album has two title tracks. The first of which, "Anti-Ambient Passive Resistance I", sees heavy distortion and feedback play out across four minutes of intense, face-melting sonic structures. Reminiscent of Lou Reed's polarizing Metal Machine Music, this track explodes in a cacophony of turbulence near the end, jolting the listener into awareness more effectively than 2000 volts of electricity. The second installment, "Anti-Ambient Passive Resistance II", follows suit for much of its existence, but fades into luxurious and gentle tones. This juxtaposition is striking, if not jarring, but successfully adds welcome dynamics to the collection.

Giving the distortion pedal some much-needed respite, "Filter" accentuates he didnt's idiosyncratic guitar playing style, which is both loose and tight, abstract and actual, ugly and beautiful. Elsewhere, "First Notice Dissociation" is noise music with a twist of lime, illuminating the darker corners of he didnt's auditory world with sweeps of sustained electric guitar strums.

It takes bravery and conviction to make this kind of music; the kind that is easy for the uninitiated to criticize but difficult for those well versed in noise music to ignore. Simplicity is difficult, especially when dealing with the chaos; however, he didnt balances the extremes of his playing with moments of restrained and musicality hiding underneath the blanket of noise. Not one for the faint-hearted, Anti​-​Ambient Passive Resistance illustrates how he didnt can subtly add genuine personality to his otherwise impersonal sonic experiments.