|2-disc set. First two DFA’s critically acclaimed cult albums “Lavori In Corso” (1996) and “Duty Free Area” (1999) digitally remastered and including 3 live bonus tracks.
Liner notes by GLENN ASTARITA:
One of the pitfalls of the progressive-rock genre is often denigrated by the facilitation of intricate complexities within viable song-forms. History dictates that prog-icons such as King Crimson, Yes, early Genesis, ELP, Jethro Tull, PFM and Gentle Giant helped set the paradigm for a movement that floundered during the ‘80s, especially after Britain’s fertile Canterbury Scene took its final course. Many prog-rockers and jazz-fusion artists have sacrificed compositional attributes for gyrating technical gymnastics, where melody and structure becomes tainted or perhaps diluted. Fast forward to the 1995 where the Verona, Italy based band “D.F.A. (Duty Free Area),” issues a demo of works accentuating a novel approach to the tried and true. With enviable technical abilities, the band merely touches upon previously applied paradigms set forth by Gentle Giant, King Crimson, National Health and other bands of note. Simply put, they helped refine and replenish the roads frequently traveled while enjoying a cult-like status along the way.
Keen ears and those in the know, assisted with the band’s natural progression, spawning DFA’s critically-acclaimed 1996 debut, Lavori In Corso, followed in 1999 by the equally exciting Duty Free Area. And while the respective band-members do not rely on recurring income to function as a unit (they have day-jobs), the music and group-initiated methodology is an artistic one at that. With less than three dozen live dates under their belt, the musicians are not pressurized into corporate record company antics and demands. D.F.A.’s guitars/keys and synth extrapolations are tightly organized within a richly harmonic mode of attack. Sure, knotty time signatures and airy, over-the-top vocals reside as a prime component. No strikingly new concepts are put across. However, it’s all about focus, camaraderie and the lack of (negative) external influences or dictums. Again, they don’t do this for economic survival. Their plight is steeped within excellence in execution and love for an art-form that has been either elevated to lofty heights or submerged to lowly depths.
Throughout this double cd set, check out keyboardist (and occasional vocalist) Alberto Bonomi’s fluid phrasings that engender multihued tonalities. He also looms as an accelerator when supporting or collaborating with guitarist Silvio Minela’s largely-soaring, jazz-fusion style lines. They combine linear themes, blazing crescendos and sweetly melodic opuses into a sound and scope that morphs red-zone activity with a sense of endearment. Meanwhile bassist Luca Baldassari and drummer/lead vocalist Alberto De Grandis kick matters into overdrive while tempering the variable flows to coincide with the soloists’ vast expressionism and artful improvisational dialogues. More importantly, the group’s compositional fortitude bears an uncanny commingling of Mahavishnu Orchestra type intensity with the softly woven sensibilities of melodic rock.
In 2001 MoonJune Records released Work In Progress Live, signifying a musical statement, recorded June 17th 2000 at the beloved USA NearFest progressive-rock gala. Naturally, the recording of this performance sparked additional interest from the international prog community. Glowing enthusiastic reviews judiciously followed the album’s release. Now, MoonJune has provided a gift of sorts with the remastering (also including bonus tracks) of the unit’s first two studio efforts. Supply, demand and availability necessitate the reasoning behind this release. And while D.F.A.’s musical aura does not communicate a trendsetting revelation, it parallels science – where cerebral disciplines generally attain a fruitful coexistence with creativity and a sense of purpose. Enjoy these wonderful sounds…