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Psychological Strategy Board – Penny Slinger: Out Of The Shadows

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Psychological Strategy Board - Penny SlingerPaul Snowden (AKA Time Attendant) and Maybury capture the surreal sensuality of Penny Slinger‘s story in shuttering drone and distempered decay. The merest sense of rhythm lurking in a marginalised menagerie of modular synapse and scissored sizzle. That pendulum(ed) strum that doomically chimes on “Purgatory In Control Of Us” inviting tempting flashes of the artist’s inner world.

As the documentary’s narrative unravels, it’s a soundtrack that revels in a hiccup of lizardly tones that atmospherically coax at Slingers’ aesthetic, apocalyptically flies on collaged collagen. The roomy nature of neglect lucidly licked. The lichen-covered brickwork of Lilford Hall rivered in reverbed clank and callipered click. The excellently entitled “Rats In Our Mind” finds its numb kinetics knitting a darkening corridor to who knows where. The contracted granulars of “Stranded Here For All Of Eternity” mark a cogged interior measuring a bubbling cavern of internal time, complete with hamster-wheeled gulls. A teasing taste of otherness suddenly cut to the ill-harmonic mirrors of “Out Of Formation”.

Film-wise, a lot of this is repetitively decorative, extended for the talking heads to chat over or used to forge a bridge for the film’s superb editing, but the vibes truly shine when they are left to sonically stipple the power of Penny’s arresting imagery (the sinister action in the cover artwork is a rather tasty example). Artwork that may have been conceived in the 1960s and 70s, but still kicks you in the gut with its directness and arresting ambiguity all these years later.

I’m really liking that subtle unease the Psychological Strategy Board are plying here, the way it eerily lingers on the film’s details, as if it were running a blind man’s cane over Penny’s transcendence of the flesh. Those ghostly exhales and whirling capstans eating into your consciousness, the flickering moth wings of the familiar becoming disembodied sigils that latch onto its surroundings. A vibe that mines her unsettling involvement with Jane Arden‘s film The Other Side Of The Underneath. Clings to the explicitness of Slinger’s An Exorcism collection in splattering electronics and the alarm purr of alienation that claws at her Opening exhibition. This weird sense of tune trying to escape on “Untreading Time” to the dreamlike repurposing of Penny’s vocals that shiver on through.

Theirs is a crafted vibe that fuels plenty of further investigation into this artist’s work — the highest compliment that any soundtrack can pay to its subject matter.

-Michael Rodham-Heaps-

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