If one did not know the details, it was a bit shocking to find that a Düsseldorf duo called Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft had as a singer someone with such an un-Germanic name, Gabi Delgado-López. This Cordovan, son of a family that emigrated to Germany when he was 8 years old, became one of the protagonists of the fertile post-punk scene in the Central European country: DAF (the acronyms saved many linguistic troubles) created in the early 80’s a fiercely personal and innovative style, which resulted from combining the insistent and somewhat abrupt sequences of a Korg MS-20, the powerful and repetitive rhythms of the drum kit. Robert Görl and Delgado-López’s voice, with pressing phrasing, with short and urgent verses in German. To all this they added an aesthetic full of fetishist and paramilitary connotations, which completed one of the most radical proposals of the time.
“Kraftwerk sounded too boring to me: too pretty, too sedated and too sterile,” explained Gabi Delgado-López, who died this Sunday at the age of 61, on one occasion. Rock didn’t convince him either: “We couldn’t even see the guitars, we thought they were remnants of the old world.” With songs like ‘Der Mussolini’ (his greatest success, with provocative lyrics that exhorted «Dance the Mussolini, dance the Adolf Hitler, dance the Jesus Christ, dance communism»), DAF were the germ of the ‘electronic body music’ of bands like Front 242 (as decisive in the origin of later phenomena as the Bakalao route) and they also inspired electropunk and industrial rock, but at the same time they have remained history as a unique project, which knew how to shape an austere, intense sound and as stimulating today as it was then.