Friday, April 23, 2010

D is for...

TGIF. Now I could think of 20 reasonably worthy groups and artists beginning with D but it's stretching it a bit. So here's my top 10 in no particular order:

- Dead Can Dance
- Depeche Mode
- Dif Juz
- Anna Domino
- Miles Davis
- Dome
- Deuter
- Dreamfish
- Thomas Dolby

The glaring omission is of course Bob Dylan. Am I serious?! How could, say, Dif Juz (pictured right, in all their prosaic oscurity) be 'better' than the Bard? Well, they're not, but for some reason they had an effect on me in the early 80s, especially live, and I regret that me and Bob just don't get on. What about Nick Drake or The Doors?! Some great songs but no. Deep Purple? Dire Straits? Duran Duran? Er, no.
Bubbling under are Danielle Dax (a wilder version of Anna Domino perhaps), Dubstar (one or two great 90s albums), Dubsquad (Japanese trio), Devo of course, the inconsistent Durutti Column, Howard Devoto, Deee-Lite and De La Soul, The Damned, Ian Dury, two Dennys (Martin and Sandy), Death In Vegas.
Of course Miles Davis has to be in there and Depeche Mode, but I must confess the rest are a bit obscure. Dome were Bruce Gilbert & Graham Lewis of Wire, who made four albums under that name in the early 80s (and many more under myriad other names); DAF invented EBM (Electronic Body Music); Anna Domino (pictured) is an underrated Tokyo-born American indie singer who released several albums on Belgium's very cool Crepuscule label; Deuter recorded a number of atmospheric 'new age' albums in the late 70s / early 80s before the term was invented (but then succumbed to blandness); and Dreamfish (Pete Namlook and Mixmaster Morris) was a one-off masterpiece of early 90s electronica.
And I forgot Lonnie Donnegan (whom I'm just reading about now) who's actually pretty naff but with whom, for Britain at least, it all began.


  1. I'd have to have: Deaf Centre (Norwegian ambient duo), Taylor Deupree (glitchish electronics), Ross Daly (the Irish guy who lives in Crete), Sussan Deyhim (for her Turbulent album if nothing more), always been fond of Thomas Dinger's solo "Für Mich" & the main one would be the kora player from Mali, Toumani Diabate, who is perhaps the greatest single instrumentalist I've ever seen - his solo concert 2 years ago was one of the great gigs.

  2. Hmm, good choices. Your comps have included tracks by most of these but somehow I've failed to follow up and get the albums. I do have an old Sussan Deihim album (with Richard Horowitz) on Crammed which is good.

  3. One glaring omission: the terminally unhip but undeniably mighty Donovan.

  4. @ gary: taylor got a little too much into 'pc-music' imo. i love his '90 work, Human Mesh D (secretnumbertwelve) and Seti (all albums).

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  6. Yes, I guess they could claim that honour. Or Nitzer Ebb even!

  7. Anna Domino - for sure!!
    Human Mesh Dance and Seti - yes, great period for electronic music anyways, nearly all instinct releases, and the wonderful em:t
    Front 242 - hm, I think they "claim" that title for themselves...but don't think they deserve it. I remember vividly when the first Front 242 single came out, it already sounded "dated" to me...Would be worth a book research…For sure it's DAF!! "Alles ist Gut" is from 1981 when Depeche Mode were still cuddly (and maybe so were Nitzer Ebb and -thinking about it, maybe NOT- bald Front 242). Also DAF created that sweaty sporty Leni Riefenstahl look, EBM flirtation with fascist "Kraft durch Freude", muscles and all. Still sounding good today! Then I think it's Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, Ministry, even Finitribe, or Die Krupps before the commercially more successful Nitzer Ebb (odd comeback) or Front 242 (any comeback?) Not sure exactly where to put the excess-drumming and mass gathering of Test Dept in here…any comment?
    Btw just saw, you did some research, Fre, yup, so DAF it is :)

  8. Must correct myself! I was wrong about Skinny Puppy and so on, they were indeed a bit later than Front 242.....Anyways, if I hear "EBM", for sure I think of belgian bands, that's for sure (A Split Second, Luc van Acker, Neon Judgement etc...!