Music / Features
Track by Track:
Ov Pain - The Churning Blue of Noon
Words by James Lynch
Wednesday 8th September, 2021
Off the back of the release of The Churning Blue of Noon a few weeks back, we got in touch with Renee Barrance and Tim Player, the two minds that make up Dunedin/Melbourne experimental duo Ov Pain, to dig into their dark and disorientating new record.
Ov Pain’s sophomore album is an overwhelming and all-encompassing listen. Following on from the chilling coldwave/punk mishmash of their 2017 debut, The Churning Blue of Noon finds the duo leaning further into brooding dystopian dirges, and across the album’s seven tracks, we’re treated to a enigmatic excursion through slow-moving soundscapes fuelled by dense synthesisers interplay, muggy grooves and forever looming vocals.

With almost every track clocking in past five minutes, you’d be mistaken for assuming this album could be one to put on your player to zone out with. Instead, each soundscapes is heavy and unnerving, and while most tracks play out as largely unhurried, there’s a constant sense of turbulence bubbling beneath the layers that embed the album with a restless energy that’s not difficult to get caught up in.

That’s not to say The Churning Blue of Noon isn’t a compelling journey though. There’s a murky, drugged-out effect as each track careens and expands onwards - from the glistening organ hums and tinkling chimes of ‘Meanness in the Least of Creatures’ through to omnipresent drones that round out ‘Ritual In The Dark Part 2’ - that places us in a delirious haze that’s as unsettling as it is affecting.

To help us delve into the swirling depths of The Churning Blue of Noon, Renee and Tim have kindly pulled back the curtain on the album and walked us through each track.
Meanness in the Least of Creatures

RB: This song was the first song we wrote when we shifted to Naarm and is the most reminiscent of our earlier sound on our first album. We used to like opening our sets with this number when we were beginning to incorporate saxophone and improvisation into our live shows. I took inspiration from one of my all time fav bands Snapper with the organ synth sounds.

TP: The lyrics for this song were inspired by looking out of our bedroom window onto a busy street in Melbourne around the time of so-called Christmas. Watching these kinds of banal excesses usually make me reflect on a few things, in this case it fell on the tension between what appears to be the totally commodified experience of Christmas and what might be thought redeemable within it. That was the basis for inventing an assassin.

Excess and Expenditure

RB: Our attempt at writing a doom song. I love how theatrical this song is and the dystopian lyrics which TP wrote cements the noire mood.

TP: I remember this song being one of the trickier things. The combination of slow pared back drum kit, synths and vocals, was a challenge for us to get right.

Winds of Sorrow

RB: A fav track of mine to play the shit out of live. This one is fun to get super noisy with, pushing the resonance on my filters right up to play against Tim’s free-form sax just feels so right.

TP: This one owes a lot to the no-wavers coming out of New York at the start of the 1980s, the usual suspects really. This is probably one of the first sax-synths things where we could consistently hit it on the stage, I mean we could hit the combination of the right bad attitude and the right wrong sounds. I guess it marks a point in time for us. Post-this we started to care much less for repeating tight structured songs and more for harnessing some of our own obliqueness.

Ever the Twain Shall Chafe

RB: This song was improvised in the studio when it came time to record the album. Tim lay down tracks of thumping percussive drums then free form sax squall. I added to the mix a heavy bass synth and later Tim added menacing vocals and some harsh white noise with the guitar. This is one of my favourite songs on the album, I love its rhythmic dance energy and the demented saxophone shredding.

TP: This was one was made up on the spot, cobbled together from various things we hadn’t yet combined. I remember it being fairly easy and quick, there wasn’t a whole lot of indecision or discussion between Renee, Simon and myself. A ‘push record’ thing I guess.

Ritual in the Dark Part I & 2

RB: I had a dream about this song which was still fresh in my memory when I hit our practice space early one morning. This is one of those songs which seemed to write itself. Tim joined me an hour or so in and the interplay with sax and synths felt magic so we went with that and played a gig with our friend Strange Stains the next night with this one song drawn out for a twenty minute set. The lyrics in part two are from a different recurring dream I've had in which I am descending underground into a crypt lined with my ancestors' bones.

TP: I gave this a listen when we first got the records home and the first thing I thought was that it seemed like science fiction music from the past. It had a dated historical feel about it, not really of this time, but touching on some of the dark days that surround us and that will no doubt engulf us. I love Renee’s sidereal thing, there’s weird speaking noises, all these tortured electrical currents converging and separating, drilling little holes in your brain.


RB: Another song which just worked straight off the bat in our studio. We set out to write a 'banger' with synth drones and the percussion influenced by heavy weights This Heat. The lyrics are about a DMT trip I took with my close friend Mickey who we were living with around the time we recorded The Churning Blue of Noon.

TP: I always liked playing this song live, partly because all I had to do was play a drum kit, but also because I could sit back and listen to Renee. Renee’s in great form in this song.
The Churning Blue of Noon is out now via it Records - head to to purchase the album on limited vinyl.