Knives, Space Monkeys and Noise. “A Purge Of Dissidents” is an odd one. A collaboration between fine-artist Dalek and HAZE XXL (Tom Hazelmyer), former muckity-muck of the infamous 90's underground noise terrorists Amphetamine Reptile Records. Both players delve into new creative turf with this project, which combines eye-bending animation and a soundtrack that is the antithesis of typical new age art-house fodder. Dalek (aka James Marshall) got his start as an NYC graffiti artist, and has spent the past decade filling gallery walls worldwide. (One of those galleries has been Minneapolis arts-collective/gallery space OX-OP not coincidentally run by HAZE XXL.) Hazelmyer earned his chops through the 80'/90's as guitarist/songwriter for Halo Of Flies, more known for their influential blistering assault than for instrumental soundscapes. Working as a team, this joint venture culminated in 10 animation pieces that debuted in Paris as part of an installation at Galleries Magda Danysz.

“A Purge of Dissidents” animation was intentionally kept stilted and 2 dimensional in the spirit of Dalek’s fine art work; yet with a clean, ultra-tight precision that belies his internship under Takashi Murakami. For those not familiar with Dalek, his three books of collected work show a precision influenced by the computer graphic explosion, yet by performing these feats by hand, Dalek brings a level of craft long missing from the post modern abstract drivel still haunting most accepted art circles.

To insure that the music for “A Purge of Dissidents” (APOD) was anything but the usual sterile avant garde soundtracks that typically accompany most films offered in the fine art world, Hazelmyer enlisted a cadre of underground movers and shakers that included such folks as The Melvins, Grant Hart (Husker Du), and Kenny Greenbaum (of Detroit's infamous Princess Dragon Mouth/Mog Stunt Team 555) to create some twisted aural backdrops that are as disturbed as Dalek’s infamous Space Monkey itself. Though solidly experimental, the soundtrack is still connected to a spine of rock 'n roll. Granted, it draws more from the Pere Ubu/Chrome/post-punk end of the spectrum than the standard 4/4 rock world; with a nod to Raymond Scott snuck in at moments as well.

Though the APOD concept was intended for and has been shown in Gallery installations worldwide, it has also culminated in a Book/DVD/CD package. The three parts are intertwined far more than most projects to date. It is not simply a CD with extravagant packaging, nor a book with some bonus materials, but a project in which the sum is greater than the parts. In addition to the Book/DVD/CD release on Ipecac, HAZE XXL took some of the 30 finished instrumentals, and had various friends put their own spin on them by including vocals. Craig Finn (Hold Steady), David Yow (Jesus Lizard/Scratch Acid), Jon Spencer (Blues Explosion), and Grant Hart (Husker Du) all turned in vocal performances that spun this material into wholly new turf. The APOD soundtrack includes a track from each of these sessions, but they are also being released as a series of 7" singles in conjunction with the entire project.

Aside from various art/gallery shows taking place over the next year, “A Purge Of Dissidents” will be on the road, shown at screenings prior to Melvins shows on their upcoming national tour this fall.

Release date: May 22, 2007


Cover forA Purge of Dissidents
A Purge of Dissidents