D.F.A. (Duty Free Area) is an Italian band that embodies the passion of the early progrock era with the slickness of modern fusion recordings.
Fans of King Crimson, PFM and early Genesis will be thrilled to discover that the old sentiment of unbridled innovation lives on.
D.F.A.: Kaleidoscope (double CD on Moonjune Records)
This release combines two albums by the band in one package with bonus tracks for a total of 132 minutes of passionate progressive rock.
D.F.A. is: Silvio Minella (on guitars), Alberto Bonomi (on organ, keyboards, synthesizers, flute and vocals), Luca Baldassari (on bass), and Albert de Grandis (on drums, percussion, and lead vocals).
The first disc is a reissue of D.F.A.ís Lavori in Corso album from 1996.
Intricacy and fluid sound fuse to produce an energetic dose of rock overwhelmed by progressive sensibilities. The instruments remarkably flow together to generate a cohesive delight.
The percussion is nimble and strident. Complex rhythms are created and maintained with inventive divergences to emphasize the attendant melodies. Forceful passages are driven to ecstatic heights by this drumming.
The keyboards are slippery and grandiose, sliding from sweet elucidation into snarling outcries of fervor. The euphoric manipulation of these ivories generate and maintain magnificent opuses throughout the tuneage, goading the melodies to soar like sublime creatures of the air.
The bass rumbles with smoldering definition, establishing a solid undercurrent of molten support.
The guitar blazes with jazz-fusion passion, describing searing riffs that stand out like a flaming scarecrow in a twilight pasture. Instances of acoustic guitar are engaging and fit nicely with the airy flute expressions.
The vocals are masculine and demonstrative in a manner that is hardly obtrusive but still commanding.
This music is dynamic and entrancing. Complexity of performance and compositional integrity alloy to produce songs of epic proportion. The bandís sonic passion is impossible to avoid or dismiss.
The second disc is a reissue of the bandís Duty Free Area album from 1999.
The ardor of the above album is maintained with this outing, perhaps even pushed to greater altitudes of grandeur.
The guitar shines as it produces frenzied riffs that scorch the paint from walls miles away. Sparkling chords are bestowed with monstrous beauty and set free to stupefy everyone.
The keyboards deliver a host of bewitching melodies that ride breezes of divine instigation. A mixture of electronics and conventional keyboards serve to blur the lines between futurist rock and nostalgic jazz. One minute, the keys are weaving a hypnotic tapestry of noble pulchritude, the next they are glittering with childlike innocence--only to plunge into a fiery delivery of blinding rapture.
The drumming is authoritative without being pushy about it. Strident rhythms are offered with seeming ease, compelling in their enthusiasm and alluring in their constant evolutionary status.
The bass remains sultry and tenacious.
The vocals convey a zeal that is infectious.
These compositions display an Escher-like character: mesmerizing beginnings that dazzle with their predilection to take unexpected but ambrosial turns on the road to sonic bliss. The manner in which the instrument meld together to form a unique presence is awe inspiring.
Both discs feature bonus tracks (a total of 22 minutes) recorded live at Festa in Russo, Italy on September 5, 2003.
D.F.A.: 4th (CD on Moonjune Records)
This release from 2008 offers 64 minutes of dazzling progrock.
The band line-up is the same as above, with guests: Zoltan Szabo (on cello), Maria Vicentini (on violin and viola), and Elena Nulchis, Cristina Lanzi and Egidiana Carta (on vocals).
With the exception of two tracks which feature vocals, the band has devoted their efforts to instrumental compositions on this release. The music is a superb dose of fiery passion tempered with liquid progressions that inevitably lead to more exuberant sonic ecstasy.
The guitar shines with feverish riffs that cavort with fanciful luster. Euphoric pinnacles are reached with steadfast determination, sustained with ardor and crafted with nimble-fingered ingenuity. Notes like these defy gravity and inertia, expanding consciousness with the dedication of a zealot and imparting delight in their wake.
The keyboards deliver lilting passages of crystalline beauty mixed with recurrent tastes of emphatic wonder. The chords cascade with fluid definition, rushing across the surface of an icy plain, adopting slippery tendencies with each sweep. The timbre of the melodies is often shrill, and these piercing notes clearly assist in the musicís efforts to reach celestial puissance.
The percussion throbs with authority and frenzied intricacy. Rhythms are established that can be exhausting to behold, waves of urgent tempos that propel everything to dizzying heights.
The basslines function like geological honey, expertly buffering sonic strata while cementing melodic layers into an ambrosial whole with their molten fury.
A 19 minute epic tune utilizes flute passages to instill a dreamy serenity, ably assisted by pastoral keyboards. The melodies eventually rise from this calm and erupt with pulse-pounding vigor.
These compositions are dazzling in the power they convey. Complexity dominates each track, developing bewitching melodies that undergo constant escalation, all aimed for a brilliant target that embodies mind-numbing bliss.
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