Friday, December 6, 2013
'New music requires new sound and new instrumentation, thought the founders of Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft in the late 70s. The concerts that followed in Düsseldorfs (in)famous Ratinger Hof were closed down by police and their records caused at least as much fuss. The 'Der Mussolini' single provoked a media-fuelled public debate on the limits of freedom of speech. The first two D.A.F. albums featured the original four-piece line-up and a range of styles. Some songs on Die Kleinen und die Bösen (The Small Ones and the Evil Ones), featured thrashed guitars, electronic screeching, and hammered drums while Gabi screamed and ululated. The record was widely lauded by the British music press, and earned the group an early cult following in the UK.
'As their sound crystallized into a more rhythmically intense and minimalistic style, Gabi and Robert ejected the other members, who had become superfluous both musically and in terms of the chemistry within the band. On the later albums recorded by the remaining duo, the arrangements were sparse and heavily electronic, the singing evolved from abstract screams and mumbles to a very direct, rhythmic vocal style, and their live performances were delivered with such intensity that a 1980 concert in Düsseldorf had to be stormed by the police to bring the crowd under control.
'The third full length album, Alles ist gut, was recorded entirely by Gabi and Robert working as a duo, and displayed the distinctive D.A.F. formula. Robert played drums — usually fairly simple and relatively unsyncopated patterns, but with simple variations that prevented them sounding robotic — while Gabi sang. The only other instruments used were Korg MS-20 and ARP Odyssey analogue synthesizers usually driven by a Korg SQ-10 analog sequencer, with an Oberheim OB-Xa added around the time of the album Für Immer. 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. This was uncompromisingly minimalist pop.
'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 aug 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 electro-pop artists in the 1980s.
'After Für immer D.A.F. split up for approximately twenty years, except for a brief reunion in 1985 to record 1st Step to Heaven, their only album in English. During this extensive period their historical importance began to become clearer.' -- collaged
Nacht Arbeit (1980)
'At that time in Europe there were only rich guys with their huge synthesizers, the guys like Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream. They always used their equipment in a really accurate manner and... we really disliked this kind of approach. We wanted to use it in a completely different way, the free way. With no rules, even no rules on how to treat a machine. We used them as we wanted to. Even if the machine goes kaput - it's good, there's a sound of this machine going kaput and this sound is music.' -- DAF
Coco Pino (1980)
'We liked the punk energy, but we never understood why they were using the instruments of their fathers, the same old tools and same riffs. So we thought it's good to combine this fresh, new vitality with the new style of music, not with rock & roll.' -- DAF
Der Mussolini (live; 1981)
'In music, in life, in art, in culture - basically anywhere - there are no mistakes. You can do whatever You want. Most of the people always use technology in an accurate way, but the elites, they don't even use mobile phones like everybody else. For example if you go to Bristol the people from the house scene are doing crazy things with the wifi network and their mobile phones as the means of creation. So I think the elites are still working on different, new things, but the masses they still follow their grandmothers. But it was always like that, there are people who experiment and people who consume.' -- DAF
Sato Sato (1981)
'When we started looping stuff we did it on tapes, because nobody thought of building samplers or loop stations back than. We anticipated the development of electronic music and we found our style in it. We're still using same Korgs and as we just started recording our new album, almost all of those sessions were mostly - like 95% of them - recorded on Korgs. Of course there are also other machines and they are all interesting but we simply like the Korg sound.' -- DAF
Der Raeuber und der Prinz (1981)
'Just thoughts, ideas and the necessity of changing something. We were really aware that if we wanted to change anything, we had to come up with something truly new, even if it was odd or strange. And we liked it more and more, we liked the strangeness in sounds.' -- DAF
Greif nach den Sternen (1981)
'When we started, we used to listen to the tracks that we had just made and if anything reminded us of anything else, of whatever - even if it was good - we threw it away. It's the same approach that applies not only to music but also to film or art. There are always influences in the subconsciousness, but you can't get away from them. In the moment that we saw them, we threw the piece away. If it was too much nouvelle vague or too much Devo... Away with it. Away with it!' -- DAF
Liebe auf den Ersten Blick (1981)
'All those nationalist trends nowadays are just pure nostalgia. The world is global and nation states are losing more and more of their importance. In Germany one in every four people has a background that is fully or partially foreign; Turkish, Italian, many others. So the people are really racially mixed and it's just a few nostalgic individuals who think they must fight for it because it's disappearing.' -- DAF
El Que (1981)
'They are making a lot of noise but they are small in numbers and small in power. I think the right wing movements in the 60s, 70s and 80s were much more dangerous than nowadays. Nowadays there are just a bunch of freaks.' -- DAF
Ein Bisschen Krieg (1982)
'Music can change the culture it comes from so it can also change the way people feel, but I don't see the direct influence of the music on political movements. You can change the spirit, the way people think in general over longer periods. However, if you make an anti-Nazi song, it's ridiculous. If You sing "fuck the Nazis", do you think that the Nazis who hear it will say, "Oh, they are right, I won't be a Nazi any longer? The 'Fuck The Nazis' song won't stop the Nazis.' -- DAF
'We have to remember that the function of the political role is much more important than the person. An American president will always be an American president. It doesn't matter if it'll be Obama, Romney, Smith or whoever else. He has the function of being the American president so he is under all the pressure from all those pressure groups, the industry, the lobbyists, the other countries. He's not alone. ' -- DAF
'In interviews we always claimed to not target anything or anyone specific while creating lyrics to be taken as a parody of words and phrases floating around in the public media. "Sato-Sato" and "Der Mussolini" are both examples of songs written around Delgado-López's fascination with the sound of a particular word.' -- DAF
Absolute Body Control (1985)
'For a time, both Delgado and Görl pursued solo careers, which proved a mixed blessing; Görl's weak singing sank his best efforts, whereas Delgado's lone solo outing suffered from equally weak musicianship. In 1985, they temporarily re-formed to record another album of house music, this time in English, 1st Step to Heaven, which disappeared without much fanfare.' -- collaged
1st Step to Heaven (1986)
'The two of us agreed on a concept for the thing called DAF quickly - virtually overnight. Our core statement was: We're a punk-band, without guitars, meant fully electronically. We know English and American bands but we're no imitation of them. We're a German formation but the German culture doesn't affect us. We're nothing but exciting and new.' -- DAF
'While British electronic pop pioneers were still mired in alienation or camp futurism, DAF presciently combined disco and electronics in a new, distinctive variant of the electro scene which was then current in groundbreaking New York clubs. Either leathered up or stripped to the waist and glistening with sweat, DAF looked as they sounded, all pumping muscle and sinew, the very physicality of their music upturning the then current cliché that equated electronics and alienation. DAF were the precursors of the electronic body musics of Die Krupps and Nitzer Ebb, while their musical reductionism gave techno minimalists the courage to pare music back to beats and atmospheres.' -- collaged
Der Sheriff (2003)
'Of course the people can get a new health care and some other little details, but - in the first place - he must do certain things because he's not in charge. So Obama is now a black sheriff, which is good because when you're watching cowboy films it's not very often that the sheriff is black. Nevertheless he will always be "Der Sheriff".' -- DAF
p.s. Hey. If anyone out there has any ideas for guest-posts and feels like making one, the blog and I could really use such things at the moment. Thank you! ** Oscar B, Hey, buddy! Thanks a bunch, nd you should be front and center on each and every one of them. I'm good, you? We should hang out pronto. ** les mots dans le nom, Hi. That is a nice one. The one you linked to. No, I don't know where any of those stages actually are, or I don't remember in the cases where the locations were noted. Wow, 'a fireless furnace,' that's really, really nice and apt. Cool. I guess I really like eating, even though I basically eat the exact same thing almost every day. There would seem to be a dichotomy there. Hm. I almost bought some truffles yesterday, but I sprang for olive bread and a couple of very shiny, dome-like pastries. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. I just read about the European storms in true news this morning and wondered where exactly was being attacked because Paris is its usual mildly gloomy looking place right now. I'm jealous. That is a really good idea for your article. I don't know anything about her, and, based on a glance at your post, I definitely want to have at least some amateur expertise on her matter. In other words, good one, man. Cool, I'll pass along your great, generous YnY offer. Everyone, please read the following words by _Black_Acrylic because they offer a possible golden opportunity. Take it away, Ben: 'This an opportunity for anyone in Scotland wanting to make a zine: Yuck 'n Yum are offering the support, guidance, and £500 of seed money to make your own self-published zine venture a realty! This is ZINE IDOL. You must be available to attend the presentation on the 8th of February in Dundee.' ** David Ehrenstein, Morning, David. ** Tosh Berman, Hi, Tosh. Okay, apparently we share the space issue thing, and that might explain our recent stack alignment. Interesting. Oh, shit, I just read yesterday that fucking Sparks played here in Paris two nights ago, and I had no idea that was happening. Huge grr. ** Sypha, Oh, I didn't think that you actually like Manson, I just meant that you don't seem to have the blah/meh reaction to his thing like I do. I did go look at the remains of Spahn ranch once. And I do like what the Beach Boys did with his song on, which album was it, '20/20'. And I read and really liked Ed Sanders' 'The Family' book when I was younger. Anyway, yeah, I totally get how your interest lies in how his thing informed art you like. Yeah, sure. ** Torn porter, Hi. Interesting questions re: the 'porn' film project. Well, we're still in the earlyish days of its development, but the idea at the moment is that it will be a real film, ideally shown at festivals and maybe in select theaters or gallery contexts or something. It's more a film that works with explicit sex than a traditional porn that has Zac's and my imprint on it. No clue re: what its audience will be. I never think about that stuff with my fiction or theater collab. work, and it's no different with the film, although I suspect that the producer and marketing people and so on will want us to think about audience targeting at some point along the way, and, if so, I guess we'll try to do that. I think we want to try to work with what gives erections while testing and experimenting with that trigger as much as we can so, ideally, the reaction will be a more full-body one, or at least that the brain will be a lot more in collaboration with the erection than erection-seeking people normally expect and want from explicit sexual visuals. Writing the 'porn' is vaguely like novel writing, but it's probably closer to writing the theater pieces, and the writing/script is collaborative with Zac, so that distinguishes it from my usual stuff. Thanks for wanting to know about all of that, man. Like I said, we're early on, so it'll be easier to talk about what the film is or wants to be when we get into the beginnings of the actual making of it, meaning probably in the very early spring. Your thoughts about 'AI'? Pray tell, please. Darn about the package not being mine, but no surprise, I guess. ** Steevee, Hey. Oh, disagreement about one film certainly won't interfere with my appreciation of your top ten list. And I'm the one who feels fairly alone in my opinion of 'Gravity'. Yeah, I just don't get it. I can see that its visual minimalism and flexibility are kind of fresh, but I sure don't get how it can be compared to 'Enter the Void' or 'Leviathan' since it seemed like standard mainstream fare with a better than average tailor and dry cleaner, and I can see that its huge popular success is a positive thing, but the script was a whole lot worse than relatively weak in my opinion, I guess. I don't know. Anyway, I do look foreword to your list. ** Tonio K, Whoa, hey there, TK! It's really great to see you! You're trying to make a video game? Can you say more? That idea really excites me. I've always wanted to make a video game. Tell me about that project/game if you can and don't mind. Yeah, I'm glad you're doing really well. Take awesome care, man. ** Robert-nyc, Hi! Thanks. I spent way too much time turning those photos and black and white and darkening them to what seemed like just the right/wrong degree. I'm good, really good, thanks. It was a really sweet year for books. Narrowing the good stuff down to a wieldy list is not going to be easy. Adios for now. ** Lee, Hi! Symmetry, cool. I want to see that thing you're doing, duh. Yeah, let's confer and figure out the logistics and stuff. I hope everything that has anything to do with you is awesome. ** Etc etc etc, Hi. Cool link/add. Yeah, ha ha, I made a decision to do everything I could when making that stack not to bring in Lynch directly because, well, I don't know why. Maybe because searching for stage and curtains imagery called up so much Lynch imagery, and I got all rebellious, and, yet, why struggle against the potent and inevitable, and so your add kind of busted the stack's chops in a most beautiful, magical and yet anti-magical way, if that makes any sense, and I'm pretty sure it doesn't. Long story short ... Everyone, Etc etc etc has completed yesterday's stack on a spiritual level by linking it and us to this. ** Creative Massacre, Hi, M! Dude, it was so sweet. And, yeah, buches are pretty rich things, even when they try not to be. French cakes and pastries in general have this sensory overload quality, which I guess is why I get obsessed with them and, yet, relatively speaking, why I eat less often than I gawk. So, if you only took one bite, who gobbled up the rest of it? ** Misanthrope, Hi, George. You're sitting in front of your computer or smart phone or iPad or something. That's where you are. The rest is a meaningless crapshoot. Okay, natural adjustment, gotcha, enjoy. You'll probably miss the delirium someday. A poem! Goodness gracious. Did you get it finished yet? What kind of poem is it? ** I guess that's all for today. I put the spotlight on DAF today 'cos I used to really like them, and I realized the other day that I probably would still like them if I listened to them again, and so I listened to them again, and I not only liked them, as I had guessed I would, I went ahead and foisted them on all of you good people. See you tomorrow.
Posted by Dennis Cooper at 12:09 AM
Thursday, December 5, 2013
p.s. RIP: José Esteban Muñoz. ** David Ehrenstein, Merci to you! Ah, nice about the Sondheim, or, err, God doc. ** Gary gray, Hi, Gary. Good to see you. You're still in Chicago. That's wild. Sounds like you made the best of the situation. Or creative use of it with noble purpose. Or something. Acid notes are the best. Aw, thanks for getting him 'Guide'. I like the name of that cassette. I miss my player. Laptops should really come with a cassette port. I'll see if I can find something about Alex Halsted. Things are good with me, thanks, just busy on the borderline of too busy, but the borderline is okay and exciting. ** Sypha, Glad you liked. Twenty years older is nothing, ha ha. Right, the Process Church. I have friends who are really into that/them, but I've never gotten further than noting the references to them in cool things. I have a fairly limited interest in Manson, but maybe because I grew up with it all around me, and I think I like the solitary, confused, confusing 'bad guys' better. Because they're more like me maybe? ** Brendan, That's what I thought! ** Etc etc etc, Cool. Yikes about Mao's theatrical corpse and display. Good yikes. The only preserved famous corpse I've seen is Lenin's in Moscow. He looked like a dirty popsicle stick. The electronic novel, yeah, wow, I remember when that was 'the future' and all that. Too much of that stuff just ended up seeming like a very boring, overly egg-headed video game. Fun idea, though. Letting tech play god is pretty risky. It's like asking an 8 year-old to promise he'll still delight your life with his childish antics when he's 14. Cool about the potential 'Vice' thing. Let me know what happens. That's kind of like the place to be seen these days, it seems. Have a day of days, man. ** Steevee, Thanks for sharing the Hoberman list. Man, I just do not understand the appearance, much less the high placement, of 'Gravity' on these lists by generally smart critics. ** Tender prey, Hi, Marc! How's it? You kind of should maybe put those photos up somewhere, or I'd give them traffic. Thanks about the post and about the book one too. What's going on? Are you doing Xmas in any particular shape or form? ** Misanthrope, I've been wondering where you were. I guess you have been too, ha ha. Maybe the new med isn't meant to be, vis-à-vis George? Or is the 'getting used to' phase sometimes this rocky and at length? You sound like you're really a lot like I was like back when I couldn't sleep for 6 weeks and walked off the metro station platform, kerplunk. I kind of liked that state in retrospect. I was so daring and footloose. But, yeah, right yourself somehow. I'm good. ** Creative Massacre, Dude, you sell yourself short. That buche looks really, really good. I've seen many buches in bakeries' windows here that don't look half that good. Sweet! You're magic, my pal. Everyone, the awesome Creative Massacre handmade a bûche de Noël! Read this account and then click the blue words to get a mouthwatering effect. Here's CM: 'Well, I managed to sort of make a bûche de Noël. Like any first attempts, I experienced some problems but it was really fun to make. My roulade was undercooked so it didn't roll properly and the first attempt at making the filling ended in disaster when my chocolate curdled my egg mixture, so I ended up with chocolate scrambled eggs. HaHa. All in all, it was a cool experience. It tastes a lot better than it looks! bûche de Noël'. ** Kyler, Hi, K. I'm into Xmas over here 'cos it's basically just the way it looks. No obligations or ceremony or X-Day plans. Just the pleasure of buying some presents. The sound of your family jaunt makes me tense. I think I remember the unpleasantness you faced down there last Xmas. Concentrate on mom and eating. I don't think the interview with Ed White ended up being very interesting at all, as far as I could tell. Kind of disconnected and blahdiblah. I'll be surprised if it ends up getting published, but I'll let you know if it does. ** Bill, You actually went to Haw Par Villa? Wow. Does that early experience explain certain aspects of your interests in the way that it seems like it might? If only we were that traceable and simple, sigh. Anyway, you went there! There seem to be a inordinately huge number of best of 2013 lists this year. Either that or my FB friends are particularly on list finding rampages right now. I'm about to make my list and add to the useless clutter. Cool about Dodie's event. I saw a bit of the reading that KK posted. How was Thursday? ** Okay, I guess that's it. You get my newest stack today. Uh, yeah, that's all I can think to say about it. Enjoy? I hope? See you tomorrow.
Posted by Dennis Cooper at 12:01 AM