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Ein Produkt der D.A.F. (CD/LP)

True DAF connoisseurs will, of course, be aware of the early phase of the Düsseldorf-Wuppertal combo. But most fans of the subsequently world-famous duo may well be taken aback when confronted with their debut album: forceful synth bass sounds, snappy rhythms, Gabi Delgado and leather all conspicuously absent. In their place, pure instrumental, unstructured noise-rock, played by long-haired and moustachioed types! A band can barely have undergone a more extreme metamorphosis.

Gabi Delgado joined the band (hitherto comprising Robert Görl, Kurt Dahlke/Pyrolator, Wolfgang Spelmans and Michael Kemner), before the band discarded the name of YOU and christened themselves Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft. And he was also on board for the first recording sessions at Studio 56 in Mühlheim. Disappointed with the results (“too close to Schlager”, the band thought) and “less than happy” with Delgado’s vocals and lyrics (as Pyrolator, responsible for electronics, noted), the group dispensed with Delgado’s services. Yet the creative will was undiminished: “We really wanted to make a record. All the Düsseldorf bands—Male, Mittagspause—already had an album out, everyone except us” and with the singer now gone, an instrumental album was the only option.

In the wake of the studio debacle, the decision was taken to take the recording into their own hands. A tape machine and two microphones were set up in Wolfgang Spelmans’ living room and ten days of unbounded improvisation ensued. And thus it was completed, “Produkt der Deutsch-Amerikanischen Freundschaft”: 22 tracks, ranging from 19 seconds to three minutes in length. The influence of Can is clearly audible. Considering the fact that other prominent noise-rock bands such as Chrome, Flipper or even Sonic Youth recorded similar music at a much later date, this “product of Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft” should certainly be recognized as a pioneering work. Possibly even the first noise-rock album the world had seen or heard.

Was the world ready for such brutal, nihilistic sounds in the late 1970s? The world of record companies was not. Unable to find a label, DAF proved to be not only pioneers of noise, but also pioneers of DIY. They found help from the local bank, with Pyrolator putting up his car for credit amounting to 3000 Marks. A logical step, as he was already running a cassette label called Warning Records (later becoming Ata Tak). “Produkt der Deutsch-Amerikanischen Freundschaft” was the first LP on the label and was given the catalogue number WR 01/LP/1979. Sales were so good that Pyrolator was able to pay back his loan nice and quickly.

In a few words:

= The debut effort by Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft was a feat of musical pioneering. Later to find global fame as a duo, DAF’s 1979 line-up of Robert Görl, Wolfgang Spelmans, Kurt Dahlke (Pyrolator) and Michael Kemner created what was quite possibly the world’s first noise-rock album. Radical, brutish, instrumental.
= originally released in 1979 on Warning Records (later Ata Tak)
= reissue in digipak with liner notes, rare photos and memorabilia= available on CD, as a download or 180g vinyl

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