Compulsion | PO Box 19577 | Kilbarchan |Johnstone | PA10 2WX | Scotland | UK

Kleistwahr - Don't Let Go: Complete Kleistwahr 1982-1986

Kleistwahr - Don't Let Go: Complete Kleistwahr 1982-1986 coverAs the title indicates this double CD set collects all the material Gary Mundy of Ramleh released as Kleistwahr between 1982 and 1986, including the four albums which originally appeared on cassette on his influential Broken Flag label, together with 2 compilation tracks from the time. His solo project Kleistwahr was, as Mundy told As Loud As Possible, invented as a group to release material to help establish the then nascent label. Using the Ramleh set-up housed in his home Mundy recorded all of these albums. Myth was the first to appear in 1982 and while the first tracks are saturated with tapes and radio broadcasts, and riddled with abrasive and caustic whirs, phasers, chugs and reams of noise distortion, it takes until 'Myth Part III' before vocals appear distorted, distended and disturbed, echoing amidst passages of extreme distortion. From then, following the clink of a distorted chime there's little let up with the raw, brutal power electronics which Mundy agrees shares something of the feel of the first Ramleh cassette.

What's interesting about this compilation of early Kleistwahr works isn't so much that it charts the evolution of Kleistwahr but that it further underlines Mundy's constant striving to do something different and continually find new ways to vary the sound. For instance, Arsonicide released later in 1982, moves to a sparser palette of sounds, largely feedback frequencies and heavily manipulated vocals. The 12-minute 'Arsonicide Part II' is especially noteworthy with bursts of near indecipherable hollering and screams punctuating arcs of distortion and sculpted feedback wails. The other tracks ring out to manipulated feedback and amplified mutters with the mechanical whirs of the final track settling into a flickering uneasy atmospheric ambience. Any sense of ease though is obliterated by the chundering noise and queasy shrieks of 'Flesh Razor' taken from the Neuengamme compilation.

Mobility, which followed in 1983, is perhaps less forceful and direct. Piercing feedback and rumbling noise remain the core sound but its construction is more considered with a greater emphasis on sound manipulation. Erratic treated rhythms pound throughout the noise shudders and frequency laced sound of 'Mobility Part III', while the rampaging noise storm of 'Mobility Part V and IV' is cast against atmospherics and intercut with random radio broadcasts. The fact that the sound is split between channels creates an effect which is quite uncomfortable.

Those manipulations and intercuts found on Mobility are taken to extremes on the wilfully experimental Do Not, the final Kleistwahr cassette to be released on Broken Flag some 3 years later. Using loops created from a Casio keyboard with a 1.5 second sampler, the resulting collage involved looped sounds and effects mixed with snippets of speech and music samples culled from radio, film and television (I think I heard John Peel, Sleazy and Paul Weller), and interspersed with passages of noise music. At times it appears glitchy, years before that was even a thing, and at others the looped sounds remind of Boyd Rice, with a randomness more akin to Nurse With Wound. Some surprising elements do seep through in the form of droney psychedelics found towards the end of 'Do Not Part 1' and the organ drenched drone of 'Do Not Part 2' with added distant vocal wails. This is Kleistwahr at their most experimental and listening blind I'm not sure I would have guessed this was the work of Gary Mundy.

Kleistwahr resurfaced in 2009 and a bit later Mundy set out his intention to release at least one album a year. Nothing here really hits the heights of those annual releases but Don't Let Go is a worthwhile historical document which will satisfy followers of the Broken Flag label - some of this material has never been reissued before - while, more importantly, providing insight into the sonic experimentation often incorporating more avant garde techniques Gary Mundy was working with alongside the feedback and noise approach associated with power electronics of the time. Don't Let Go: Complete Kleistwahr 1982-1986 is released a double CD set from Fourth Dimension Records and digitally from Kleistwahr bandcamp