‘Arsonicide’ was the second release by Gary Mundy’s solo project Kleistwahr in 1983 as a cassette on the Broken Flag label (BF15) and has now been released on vinyl by Harbinger Sound at a much more affordable price than a copy of the original tape now goes for. The vinyl releases for both Arsonicide and Myth have the cover image that was used for the 1985 Kleistwahr cassette release Don’t Let Go (BF51).
The sound on Arsonicide starts with sharp frequency noises overlaying one another as an intro to haunted noises that move alongside the sharper sounds. A muffled claustrophobic vocals shouts out, totally inaudible and panicked; sounding like someone being suffocated. This is the lead vocal for the most part of the album, which is far more nightmarish in sound than Myth. Although there are some power frequencies through their aggression, I also seems to experiment with ambient textures too. II continues this with guitar-like feedback sounds that are punctuated by suffocated vocals again. The vocal distorts becoming noise through its continued inaudibility and continues to intensify in its urgency and anger. The track continues to switch between and combine feedbacks and vocals/ both working different and at times the same shift. Arsonicide makes full use of vocal, whereas Myth barely used any or kept it in the background. Towards the end of II the vocal becomes more aggressive and slightly blasting, switching to more drawn out agonised cries ending in a lone squealing jutted feedback.
Side one bares the nearest resemblance to Ramleh as they were at this time, certainly their 31/5/1962 cassette . It is a warped resemblance, the vocals aren’t as distant and in the background as Ramleh have always seemed to favour and on here they are very much at the forefront of the entire sound.
III is a quieter affair, restrained jolts of medium pitched noise tickle at a consistent frequency. A human voice creaks and breathes over the noise, muttering incoherently giving the whole thing the feel of semi conscious surgery. IV shifts through passages of further modulated noise, keeping a vertigo cymbal-like sound as the consistent while noises and feedback change in speed. There is no vocal on IV; does this symbolise the death of the character behind voice, the end? Side 2 has more of the experimental workouts of the earlier Kleistwahr tape Myth, however the vocal dementia of side one makes it a completely different record. Arsonicide incorporates a lot more vocal sounds and uses a more minimal pallet of noise than before.
As with a lot of the earlier work of artists of this era the minimal methods used on Arsonicide are refreshing and the less is more theory is very effective. When a selection of sounds work with each other building up to higher levels it works perfectly, the quieter tracks such as III & IV are uncluttered and straight to the point. The rawness of Arsonicide is a plus, even a lot of these artists who still record now have a fuller more produced sound and it’s great, but in terms of noise, this particular style is one of my favourite sounds. Arsonicide is an effective second release from Kleistwahr widening the scope of work Mundy produced at this time. His intention was to create different releases for Broken Flag, this worked and created a project that demands respect in its’ own right.
Journalist name: Lazrs4