Kleistwahr – In the Reign of Dying Embers (CD Forth Dimension)
It’s getting hard to keep up with Gary Munday’s Kleistwahr releases. He seems to have been on a really prolific phase with this project and at the same time also managed to squeeze in a couple of Ramleh releases.
“In the Reign of Dying Embers,” is 6 tracks over about 45 minutes. It’s hard not to want to make comparisons with Ramleh and though they might occupy a vaguely similar type of musical space I feel Kleistwahr tend more towards the atmospheric compared to Ramleh’s tending more towards a noise element. Amongst these atmospheric sounds there’s quite a variety of pieces on this album. So rather than give an overview of the whole thing I’ll go through it track by track.
The opener “So Harsh the Moon,” has some quite tension building sounds as it starts. Psychological film style tension building, sounding like treated guitar that gradually raises the temperature until Gary comes in with some vocals. Then other more insistent guitar noises join the fray.
The mood completely changes on the second piece “Requiem for the Fallen.” A gentle piece of random (synth?) notes backed with some lowdown in the mix guitar sounds reminiscent perhaps of a slightly angrier version of Fripp and Eno’s “No Pussyfooting.” My favourite piece on the album. I’d happily have a whole set of Kleistwahr pieces like this.
Track three is the harsher but quite melodic “Nights of Grape and Grain.” (Is this track referencing the mixing of wine and spirits?). Lots of metal clanking sounds permeate among the more melodic elements. It’s a track that changes quite a lot as it goes on. Quite an adventurous piece but one that happily works.
“Save Me,” the next piece is a more industrial sound piece with stabs of noise in and amongst a bed of echoey guitar chords.
Track five “A Rain of Dying Embers,” is another with a soundtrack feel. It’s a gentle laidback piece fairly ambient in feel and quite calm. A wash of gentle arpeggios with some more aggressive guitar lower in the mix and what sounds like some vocals even lower down. The aggressive nature of the guitar (verging on feedback) seems to fit in with the more subtle overall feel of the piece.
The final piece “In Memory of Higher Times,” is the most difficult listen on the album. Swirling loops of what almost sounds like a looped mouth organ or harmonium are overlaid with quite harrowing guitar sounds giving the whole piece a very mournful feel. Given its title perhaps that’s the aim. Talking of titles, it would be interesting to know what’s behind some of the titles Gary uses. They seem too specific to be random names for tracks.
If you’ve liked any of the last few Kleistwahr albums then there’s no reason why you wouldn’t like this. I don’t want to keep saying the same things about the tracks but a lot of the guitar work reminds me of “No Pussy Footing,” with a more raucous edge to the guitar sounds of the single note lines Gary plays. Another fine addition to the Kleistwahr canon. DB