Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft  

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"As performers and media personalities Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft were, much like New York's Suicide, forerunners of later 1980s synth-pop duos, such as the Pet Shop Boys and Soft Cell, in that the singer (in this case Delgado) appears relatively extroverted while the one who plays with the electronics (Görl) appears quiet and reserved. Visually, at least from Alles ist gut until 1st Step to Heaven, they cultivated an image of black leather, muscles, hairy chests, and sweat. The acronym D. A. F. are also the initials of the first name of Marquis de Sade." --Sholem Stein


"The irony of Anglo-Euro synthpop is that, for all its whiteness (DAF loved disco but prided themselves on not sounding black), it had a huge impact on black America. DAF and their offshoot group Liaisons Dangereuses influenced the embryonic black electronic sounds of Chicago house and Detroit techno, while Kraftwerk almost single-handedly inspired New York electro."--Rip It Up and Start Again (2005) by Simon Reynolds

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft or D.A.F. is an influential German band from Düsseldorf, formed in 1978 around Gabriel "Gabi" Delgado-López (vocals) and Robert Görl (drums, percussion, electronic instruments).

The band is known for songs such as "Der Mussolini", a composition from the album Alles ist gut (1981) album which also spawned "Der Räuber und der Prinz".

In their early days they flirted with the "nazi chic" look but, as Simon Reynolds confirms they disavowed being fascists:

"Far from being fascists, though, DAF were erotic renegades in the tradition of Genet, de Sade and Bataille. They flirted with forbidden imagery only because they refused to recognize any taboos. Delgado was fascinated with sadomasochism and other forms of fetishistic sexuality deemed 'perverse' because unconnected to reproduction."--Rip It Up and Start Again (2005) by Simon Reynolds

Contents

History

Formation and early albums

Görl came to Düsseldorf in August 1978 and met Delgado as both were regulars at punk club Ratinger Hof. Görl noted, "The earliest line up of DAF was Gabi and me in the basement of the Ratinger Hof. We created our basic ideas and we had a very strong will as a duo. Gabi Delgado played the stylophone and I played the drums." Several early Neue Deutsche Welle bands formed from this social group, and Görl and Delgado played with multiple other bands. The first two D.A.F. albums featured the original four-piece line-up and a range of styles. Their first album, Ein Produkt der Deutsch-Amerikanischen Freundschaft, was released in 1979 on Dahlke's Ata Tak label (then called Warning). The album was 22 improvised untitled instrumentals, Delgado having temporarily left the band at the time.

The band then moved to London. As Delgado later noted, "at that time if you wanted to do new music you’d go to London because that was the center, not Düsseldorf." Daniel Miller signed DAF to Mute Records because "they weren’t relying on past rock traditions at all, which is the criterion of what goes on Mute." DAF recorded Die Kleinen und die Bösen (The Small Ones and the Evil Ones) for Mute, one side studio and most of the other side live. Some songs featured thrashed guitars, electronic screeching, and hammered drums while Gabi screamed and ululated.

Virgin trilogy

DAF then shrank to just Delgado and Görl, who signed to Virgin Records and released Alles Ist Gut, their breakthrough album. The band became pop stars in Germany and gained great critical acclaim in the UK.

Görl played drums — usually fairly simple and relatively unsyncopated patterns, but with simple variations that prevented them sounding robotic — while Delgado sang. The only other instruments used were Korg MS-20 and ARP Odyssey analogue synthesizers usually driven by a Korg SQ-10 analog sequencer. Typically only a single sequencer-driven line would be used for a song, the sequence functioning both as melodic accompaniment and as a bassline. The song "Der Mussolini" is a perfect example of this. On other songs, such as the title track, certain notes of the sequence were set slightly out of tune. Overall the songs entail a complex tension between the predominantly visceral (the voice), the relentlessly robotic (the 16-step sequences), and the drums, which lie somewhere in between. One song, Der Räuber und der Prinz (The Robber and the Prince), also features a Glockenspiel-like sound as a sinister reminder of childhood.

Alles Ist Gut sold hundreds of thousands in Germany, and DAF became the fifth-biggest German-speaking group in Germany.

The next two albums, Gold und Liebe (Gold and Love) and Für Immer (Forever), continued in the same vein, until, as one British music journalist of the time put it, D.A.F. had exhausted all the possibilities of the 16-step sequencer. These possibilities ranged from something resembling rhythm and blues — you could just about play Der Mussolini as R'n'B if you wanted — to the microtonality of Im Dschungel der Liebe (In the Jungle of Love) (on Für immer) or Knochen auf Knochen (the B-side of the single "Sex unter Wasser"). These three albums (from Alles ist gut to Für immer) were all produced by Konrad "Conny" Plank, who was renowned for his pioneering work both with minimalist-influenced Krautrock bands and other experimenters in the 1970s, and with electropop artists in the 1980s. The band added an Oberheim OB-Xa for Für immer.

The band split during the recording of Für immer.

Post-split

Each member released solo albums: Delgado Mistress (on Virgin), and Görl Night Full Of Tension (on Mute).

Delgado and Görl reunited in 1985 to record 1st Step to Heaven, their only album in English, which achieved one week in the Swedish album chart at no. 46. Delgado later noted: "So we wanted to break our own rules and said: OK, so now we sing in English, now we don’t wear black. (laughing) With purpose. Because we wanted to break our own rules."

During this extensive period their historical importance began to become clearer. Legendary radio DJ John Peel went as far as to call them the Grandfathers of Techno. Both Robert and Gabi had solo musical careers, with Robert becoming a respected techno artist in his own right. Gabi Delgado also recorded two albums as DAF/DOS ('Dos' here referring to the Spanish word for 'two') together with Wotan Wilke.

When DAF reformed for the 2003 album Fünfzehn neue D.A.F.-Lieder (15 New D.A.F Songs) their style had shifted to a fusion of the classic Plank-produced D.A.F. sound with elements taken from Robert's techno work. The drums were replaced with crisper electronic beats, but the ARP Avatar and, of course, Gabi's vocals remained in place.

The band prepared more music, but split before they could make another album. Görl played in 2007 as DAF.Partei with Thoralf Dietrich (from Jäger 90) as lead singer.

Delgado-Lopez and Görl have played occasional reunion shows since their thirtieth anniversary tour in 2008. In 2010, the band returned with a new single "Du bist DAF", limited to 2010 copies. The sound snippet is available via SoundCloud.

The band declared its split again in January 2015, with another farewell tour to start in May.

An authorised biography of the band, "Das ist DAF" , written by Miriam Spies and Rudi Esch, was published in 2017. There is no English translation of the text available at present. According to the publisher's page, "This richly illustrated book tells the unique DAF story from the perspective of Gabi Delgado and Robert Görl", both of whom as DAF are "regarded as a forerunner of the techno and EBM scene"

Discography

Albums

Singles

  • 1980 Kebab-Träume / Gewalt, 7" (Mute Records)
  • 1981 Der Mussolini, 12" (Virgin Schallplatten GmbH)
  • 1981 Der Räuber und der Prinz / Tanz' mit Mir, 7" (Mute Records)
  • 1981 Goldenes Spielzeug, 12" (Virgin Records (UK))
  • 1981 Liebe auf den ersten Blick, 7" (Virgin Schallplatten GmbH)
  • 1981 Sex unter Wasser, 7" (Virgin Records (UK))
  • 1981 Der Mussolini, 12" (Virgin Records (UK))
  • 1982 Kebab-Träume, 12"/7" (Virgin Schallplatten GmbH)
  • 1982 Verlieb' Dich in mich / Ein bisschen Krieg, 12" (Virgin Records (UK))
  • 1985 Absolute Body Control, 12" (Illuminated Records)
  • 1985 Brothers, 7"/12" (Dean Records)
  • 1986 Pure Joy 7"/12" (Dean Records)
  • 1986 Voulez Vous Coucher Avec Moi Ce Soir 7"/12" (Dean Records)
  • 1987 The Gun, 12" (Dean Records)
  • 1987 Der Mussolini (Remix) / Der Räuber und der Prinz, 12" (Virgin Schallplatten GmbH)
  • 1988 Liebe auf den ersten Blick '88 Remix, 12" (Virgin Schallplatten GmbH)
  • 1989 Verschwende deine Jugend / El Que, 12"/CD (Virgin Schallplatten GmbH)
  • 1998 Der Mussolini, 12" (The Grey Area) (5-track compilation EP)
  • 2002 Der Sheriff (Anti-Amerikanisches Lied), CD5" (Superstar Recordings) (541)
  • 2010 Du bist DAF, CD (self-released)

References

See also




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