Review: Old Komm – Ventspils EP

Spindly metal cranes arcing over the water’s edge, dreary angular factory buildings, monolithic rusting sculptures of industrial shipping equipment. Not only can one hear the influence of Ventspils – an ex-USSR Baltic port city in Latvia – but also one can actually hear Ventspils itself, cast into pensive, creeping re-assemblies of muffled radio broadcast and deteriorating machinery motors. Most prominent of all are those guttural hums of foghorn, which swamp the music in a manner undoubtedly similar to how they subsume the soundscape of the city itself, sending rusting metal chassis into reluctant, rickety vibration.

The first of the EP’s two tracks collates the duo’s bank of Ventspils field recordings around a sparsely applied beat, which ticks awkwardly like some gigantic, uncalibrated clock. Despite the grey and concrete that dominates the texture palette here, those warm wafts of church organ sound strangely appropriate, clinging to the air like industrial smog. Meanwhile, the second side loses the presence of rhythm (well, of explicitly musical rhythm at least) to let the sounds of Ventspils (real and imagined) unfurl at their desired pace: subtle applications of synthesiser hover above a city that respires with the sound of its day-to-day, with unoiled metal gates (or violin perhaps?) squealing under the unholy crumble of thunder.