Exposé Online banner

D.F.A. — 4th
(Moonjune MJR021, 2008, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, 2017-07-13:

4th Cover art

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.


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.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 36 , 2008 releases

Related artist(s): D.F.A.

More info

Latest news

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Frágil - Avenida Larco – Peru’s entry into the symphonic rock genre came in 1981, when Frágil (named for some obscure British prog album) made their recorded debut, now reissued by Rock Symphony. Stylistically,...  (2000) » Read more

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Playing the Piano / Out of Noise – Some thirty-five years ago Japanese rock music was still an unknown subject, the only exception being percussionist Stomu Yamash’ta. Then came the Yellow Magic Orchestra, which marked the beginning...  (2010) » Read more

Akritas - Akritas – One of the few Greek progressive bands that were on a fairly big label, Akritas (the English spelling) was in spirit probably closest to the rich and fertile wave of the 70s Italian scene. Close to...  (1995) » Read more

Cast - Beyond Reality – Cast has released some of the more interesting neo-progressive music in the past few years. In many ways, Beyond Reality is similar to last year's Endless Sings. The strong Trick of the Tail era...  (1997) » Read more

Outrageous Cherry - The Book of Spectral Projections & Supernatural Equinox – Since its founding in the early 90s, Outrageous Cherry has been working on their own method of updating 60s psychedelia for a later generation. Matthew Smith’s songwriting often captures the...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues