Beyond Image looks like the opening credits sequence to a James Bond movie, albeit one where the tales of the British super-spy are re-imagined through a hallucinatory, psychedelic lens. It falls directly, and fits into, the middle of the British art scene prominent in the late 60s and early 70s - somewhere between Herostratus (Don Levy, 1967, soon to be reviewed) and Performance (Donald Cammell & Nicolas Roeg, 1970, also up for review). 14 minutes of bold colours and shifting shapes, it greatly resembles the patterns that are today displayed on coffee tables and bed-side units in the form of lava lamps, but the film has lost none of its power. It's a hypnotic, dream-like show set to the sounds of jazz-rock band The Soft Machine, a largely forgotten group who are, in my eyes, the English contemporaries of the different-sounding but equally experimental American band, 13th Floor Elevators. The Soft Machine provide the rhythm of the film, their crescendoing track merging with the images and becoming one with them- so much so that it's impossible to listen to some of their music without thinking of the work accomplished by Boyle & Mills. As it is though, the art duos work is sadly forgotten - indeed, I couldn't even find a still of the film to accompany this review. A shame, as their work is of considerable interest - enjoyable and admirable, their oeuvre is a key part of the British art movement.
Beyond Image can be found as a DVD extra on the BFI release of Jack Bond's Separation (1968), which will be reviewed next week.