For a number of years now Fourth Dimension Records has been responsible for releasing most of Gary Mundy of Ramleh’s solo works under his Kleistwahr guise. Each of these albums is possessed of a thematic approach harbouring some of his obsessions, passions and explorations into both pure, unadulterated sonic expression and many of the concerns driving it. Although traces of Gary’s longstanding interest in unforgiving and uncompromising music can often be found threaded throughout Kleistwahr’s work, it is (rather like Ramleh’s own recordings) far more nuanced and subtle. Contorted layers of psychedelic noise converge with tormented vocals, ghostly organ sounds wafting in from a derelict church, lifebeat pulses, rhythms that fall in on themselves and an avant-garde sensibility apparently drawing from minimalist composition and a crushing feeling of unease itself jarred into all manner of surprising shapes.
This is music to fall backwards into whilst understanding vipers lurk ssomewhere close by. In the Reign of Dying Embers, however, is not entirely wracked by the kind of primal despair best reserved for daily coverage of leading world events, though. There are flecks of light in the mix, some held on to and nurtured more than others, that suggest a reaching out to better things. More than this, Kleistwahr proffers a somewhat more personal take on matters, harnessing a sound that embodies the sheer paradox of existential crises converging with meaning as the world around crumbles and burns. Each and every Kleistwahr album appears akin to Gary’s taking another step towards curling into a quiet corner with one defiant fist still raised.
Being itself founded on the idea of addiction in all its forms and the colossal pressure upon us to ‘escape’ by varied means, In the Reign of Dying Embers underlines the hope in hopelessness so boldly it might well constitute the strongest statement thus far. The album closely follows the recent 2LP reissue of the long out of print This World Is Not My Home and Over Your Heads Forever albums originally released on Fourth Dimension Records in, respectively, 2014 and 2015.