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DESSAU is the musical output mainly of one John Elliott. Mining a similar artistic vein as Nitzer Ebb & early Ministry, Dessau delivered powerful, rhythmic industrial dance tracks that translated better to the dance floor than to the home stereo. DESSAU songs like "Suffer", "Sun 90", "Unshakeable" & of course "Isolation" are well known amongst the scene's "older" aggro fans.
Elliott began his musical career in 1979 as the drummer for Nashville punk rock outfit Cloverbottom. Elliott later experimented with electronic percussion as a member of Actuals, later known as Factual. Becoming fed up with the stagnant Nashville music scene, Elliott moved to Chicago in the fall of 1981, joining Stations & working with Manchester producer Martin Hannett (Joy Division / New Order). He gained valuable friendships with Steve Albini (Pixies / Nirvana) & Ministry's Al Jourgensen. Returning to Nashville in 1983, Elliott formed DESSAU & worked again with Hannett in 1985 on DESSAU's first 12" EP, RED LANGUAGES.
Working with veteran Nashville rockers Skot Nelson (guitars), Mike Orr (bass) & Barry Nelson (bass), DESSAU would release a series of dance-oriented 12" EPs through the latter half of the '80s, including HAPPY MOOD in 1986. The 1988 MAD HOG 12" featured the remix of the dance floor hit "Unshakeable" by Ministry's Al Jourgensen. Both Jourgensen & Paul Barker of Ministry would contribute to the 1988 cover of Joy Division's "Isolation" 12", which would become DESSAU's dance floor breakthrough. The album EXERCISE IN TENSION, which followed in 1989, included "Isolation", with the CD version including "Beijing", DESSAU's third hit dance track.
During the '90s, Elliott turned toward other production projects which included Passafist, Rebecca St. James, Final Cut, Lick, Pyskosonik & writing the theme music for the Wax Trax! Black Box DVD with Chris Randall of Sister Machine Gun. Re-forming DESSAU with guitarist Norm Rau, DESSAU released the heavier, less dance-oriented DETAILS SKETCHY in 1995 on Fifth Column Records, collaborating with members of Ministry, Die Warzau, Pigface, and Filter. Mausoleum / BMG Records would later buy the rights to DESSAU's back catalog; including the MAD HOG EP, "Isolation" and 5 unreleased 1990 Paul Barker produced tracks for the 1995 release DESSAU.
DESSAU has worked with a virtual "who's-who" of "Industrial" including Paul Barker & Al Jourgensen (Ministry), Jason McNinch (Lick), Van Christie & Jim Marcus (Die Warzau), Luc Van Acker (Revco), Richard Patrick (Filter) and many others. DESSAU has toured with Nitzer Ebb, Pigface, Urban Dance Squad & Die Warzau. DESSAU has remixed Chemlab "Monkey God" & Croc Shop "Order + Joy."
In July, DESSAU will release the 17 song THE TRUTH HURTS on WTII Records. This 1985-2000 retrospective package contains tracks from their first two vinyl only 12" EPs, RED LANGUAGES, produced by Martin Hannett and HAPPY MOOD, plus 4 unreleased Paul Barker produced songs, alternate mixes and 2 live Joy Division tracks. THE TRUTH HURTS will be the precursor to the first new DESSAU material in 10 years.
RED LANGUAGES (12") Dessau Ltd. Records 1985
HAPPY MOOD (12") Faction Records 1986
MAD HOG (12") Carlyle Records 1988
ISOLATION (12") Carlyle Records 1988
EXERCISE IN TENSION (CD / LP) Carlyle Records 1989
BEIJING / EUROPE LIGHT (Remix) (12") Carlyle Records 1990
DESSAU (CD) Mausoleum / BMG 1995
DETAILS SKETCHY (CD) Fifth Column Records 1995
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