D.F.A. — 4th
(Moonjune MJR021, 2008, CD)
by Peter Thelen, 2008-10-01:
It may have been close to ten years since DFA’s last studio album, but this band has certainly not lost their edge; in fact, if anything the intensity and passion in this new set makes up for all the lost time. Still a quartet of guitars, bass, drums, and multi-keyboards, the furious energy of the first few cuts – including a sidelong opener, sound like they are channeling the spirit of National Health and Zappa’s Grand Wazoo band through the jazz-rock prism of Arti e Mestieri with a bit of Mahavishnu in the mix. No holds barred, this is a burning cauldron of melodic instrumental fusion, though retaining much of the feeling and beauty of progressive rock that made so many classic Italian bands of that genre so special (think Arti, Perigeo, Area, Etna, and so many others). On the fourth cut, “Mosoq Runa” – another sidelong piece – they introduce some guest string players who add a whole new dimension to the sound, along with keyboardist Alberto Bonomi’s tasty orchestrations. The final two cuts add the dimension of vocals to this already rich blend of melodic elements – first from drummer Alberto de Grandis on “The Mirror,” and then on the closing cut from the three-piece female vocal unit Andhira. This is, quite simply put, DFA’s most satisfying and superb effort to date. Highly recommended.
by Mike McLatchey, 2017-07-13:
As previously mentioned, the great DFA's career was cut short due to tragedy; musically speaking the band's last effort was as amazing as its first. I've mentioned elsewhere on a number of occasions that as many great new Italians bands there are giving tribute to their influences in the 70s, one thing often missed is that many newer bands tend to fill empty seats with musicians who grew up on rock and metal when so many of the chairs in the 70s were filled by musicians who knew jazz and could make the band sound really swing and groove. While DFA isn't technically doing the same thing because of their wider palette of influences, they're still a great example of what it's like when a band is attempting progressive rock with a group of players who know how to swing with the rhythm instead of chopping through it all with rock beats, and that actually tends to liken DFA a bit closer to the Canterbury bands of the 70s. However, the tricky rhythm changes, the dexterous unison lines and start/stop twists, all features of fusion and progressive rock, are still part of the style here, they're just so fluidly run through that there's no groove lost no matter how complicated it is. The chemistry of this band by this album was just thoroughly unstoppable, it was as if they could do anything they wanted and it's really noticeable how the collective musicianship had grown by this point. In a genre where the swansong of a band usually comes after the sound had been watered down due to commercial influences, DFA's career ended on an uncommonly high note. It's rare that you get to see this kind of farflung musical ambition with such instrumental maturity and taste.
Related artist(s): D.F.A.
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more