Words: James Frostick
Image: Jake Ollett

Two of Australia’s most intriguing proponents of experimental noise – Melbourne-via-New Zealand’s Ov Pain and Melbourne’s Quell – have teamed up for a split cassette release, out now through Sydney-based DIY label chemical imbalance. Each outfit contributes a track showcasing their respective outsider sound, both textural compositions that double as sensory explorations.

Fans of disquiet-inducing drone were gifted a present in late March in the form of this split release from phenomenal noisemakers Ov Pain and Quell. Titled Delusions, the tape boasts two tracks – roughly 14 minutes of Ov Pain’s freeform skronk and Quell’s unsettling soundscapes. The release comes courtesy of chemical imbalance. – a label that doubles as a treasure trove of experimental sound. Found amongst the label’s extensive back  catalogue are recordings from some of Australia and New Zealand’s best and most far-out makers of primitive, ambient, atmospheric, minimalist and raw noise – making it a spiritual sibling to Breakdance The Dawn in some ways.

As for the tracks themselves, you’ve got two distinct styles. Ov Pain have put forth a blend of free jazz and ambient drone on ‘Under The Sun of Seville’, making for a curious listen. Markedly different from their previous cold-wave compositions, here smooth waves of Renee Barrance’s synth rise and fall while Tim Player’s sax jabs and probes from all angles. On the flip-side, Quell’s contribution ‘A Trickle of Blood’ is just that – a grim and ominous trickle of ambient noise that revels in subtlety. It’s all muted creaks, groans and hums – like you’re stalking through a dilapidated industrial landscape, trying to avoid making contact with the still-electrified debris. Both tracks are gripping in their own unique way – mood setters for those that like to get uncomfortable once in a while.


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