“I am a fanatic of the verb. I like the German language. I have always considered it a poetic path in its own right. ” Thus spoke Gabriel Delgado-López alias Gabi Delgado, both driving force and theorist of the electronic duo Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft alias DAF: Robert Görl, his artistic half, announced his death on Facebook Monday evening, without specifying the causes or the place where Delgado died at 61.
DAF, it was for everyone the tube Der Mussolini (“Tanz den Mussolini / tanz den Adolph Hitler / beweg deinen hinter / klatscht in die Hände / tanz den Jesus Christus”, “dance the Mussolini / dance the Adolph Hitler / move the buttocks / clap your hands / dance the Jesus Christ”) dating back to 1981, which in return earned them “Sieg heil»Of the public as well as the coverage of New Musical Express, the Bible of English criticism: provocation, gay imagery (Görl was gay, Delgado bisexual) and, since it was necessary to go beyond, a new sound; both dancing and extremely aggressive. “We didn’t accept authority, that’s one of the few things that brought us closer to Robert, explained Delgado in 2018. The ” Sieg Hail ” was provocation [les Sex Pistols avaient joué en 1978 une chanson intitulée ”Belsen was a gas”, sur le camp de concentration de Bergen-Belsen, ndlr], fascism was part of German culture anyway and for me it was liberating. I emigrated from Spain at 8 years old to join Germany and Wuppertal: this is where I met my father for the first time, because he had fled Francoism and he could no longer go under sentence to be arrested and thrown in prison. “
The German language, therefore. “On that, we changed our listening habits. We gave the song a different meaning. It’s not rap, it’s not notes either, it’s injunctions, orders, performed not by a musician but by an actor. ” Before DAF, Delgado had trudged through artistic circles in Düsseldorf and more particularly at the Ratinger Hof, a pub open to underground culture where the plastic artist and performer Joseph Beuys, guardian figure of the German post-war art scene, sometimes spent with his students. Delgado formed several punk groups: Mittagspause, Charly’s Girls or Yuri Gagarin and the Soviet Union.
His great project then took shape: music “Without tradition, was it German” : “Without root at all. Anything that reminded us of music or something preexisting went out the window, even if it was good. Punk was just a re-emergence from rock’n’roll: I wanted to end this American diktat. ” After a purely noisy first attempt, Ein Produkt der Deutsch-Amerikanischen Freundschaft, where the all-military drought of rhythms begins to be heard, DAF decides to reduce itself to a duo and goes in 1980 to London.
Where the group meets their good fairy, the man who will initiate them into controlled dissonance and open all doors for them: Daniel Miller, the boss of the Mute label (The Normal, No, Depeche Mode, Fad Gadget), who puts them in the hands of producer Conny Plank, a liege man on the kraut rock scene for a good ten years. The latter therefore sees music as a flow: regardless of his initial skepticism for this purely percussive group who plays without a note, he is familiar with an approach that does without refrain, high or low and even subject. Instead, Delgado’s voice emerges from a crash somewhere between disco and industrial music – we can imagine that it is difficult to imagine – to make an emergency assault in a sort of sadomasochistic restraint; a gasp that says violence, breathlessness and the pleasure that the barking German language transcends.
“The history and culture of my time”
Delgado also gives a speech: “Fascism or anarchy have become fashions for nightclubs, moments of hatred or moments of love. But there’s nothing sacred anymore. Nothing bad. Nothing good. “ The hype will take like a bush fire, the tubes (including the incredible Der Raüber und der Prinze played on a children’s keyboard and designed “Like a homo-erotic moment”) will succeed four albums during (including three on the multinational Virgin) and will carry DAF until 1982: the group then separates and none of the reformations which followed (1986, 2003) will add anything to their glory. Delgado pursued a career as a producer while building on the reputation of DAF, through a catalog background which he owns the rights with Görl (“A lesson from Conny Plank, he taught us a lot about business”) and a few concerts that he was striving to strategically rarefy.
On his work: “It was important for me to draw the history and the culture of my time. Afterwards, no one can create the illusion of a line of code that no one can ever crack. Capitalism assimilates everything, music and the rest. But by the time it gets there, the formula wears out, expires as it is used. Precisely because it is a good formula.“