DAF’s Gabriel Delgado-López, better known simply as Gabi Delgado, has passed away at age 61. The news was announced by his DAF partner Robert Görl, who had worked with Delgado on and off for over four decades.
Delgado and Görl began making music as DAF, short for Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, in late-’70s Düsseldorf. Their earliest work, particularly as heard on debut album ‘Ein Produkt der Deutsch-Amerikanischen Freundschaft’, was on the noisier end of the Neue Deutsche Welle spectrum. In 1980, their ‘Die Kleinen Und Die Bösen’ served as Mute’s first LP release; already, they had begun to refine their sound into a tough EBM style — martial rhythms, tough synths lines, aggressive aural aesthetics — that brought them to a somewhat wider audience. (DAF, who often worked with the influential producer Conny Plank, was at one point the fifth highest-selling German-language act in Germany.) By the mid ’80s, Delgado and Görl had distilled their style yet further into something resembling glittering synth-pop, garnering a string of minor club hits that includes ‘Brothers’, ‘Absolute Body Control’ and ‘The Gun’. In the midst of DAF.’s success, during one of the group’s many splits, Delgado also released an excellent 1982 solo album, ‘Mistress’.
John Peel once referred to DAF as “the grandfathers of techno,” and while that might be a stretch, Delgado’s role in shaping a sound which has gone on to influence countless electronic artists can’t be overstated. No cause of death has yet been given; our sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends, and everyone to have felt the power of his music.