Label: Moonjune Records
Label Website: www.moonjune.com
Release Date: 2008
Band Website: http://dutyfreearea.it
a good many homes there is much rejoicing as fans of Italian prog-fusion celebrate the release of the new D.F.A. CD entitled appropriately
enough 4th. What can you say about these guys? Over the time they’ve been together they have set a very high musical standard, gaining
them accolades from around the world. And this new release is no slouch. A good many of you will already be familiar with D.F.A.’s
busy, jazz-influenced progressive rock style and this time around they sound and perform in an even more confident manner. They’ve
also managed to keep the members together. D.F.A. still consists of Luca Baldassari (bass), Silvio Minella (guitar), Alberto De Grandis
(drums) and Alberto Bonomi (keyboards). On 4th they do enlist a few guests; Zoltan Szabo (cello), Maria Vicentini (violin, viola)
and a vocal group called Andhira consisting of Elena Nulchis, Christina Lanzi and Egidiana Carta. Their vocals are performed on the
albums closing track “La Ballata de S’isposa ‘
D.F.A.’s music continues to mature and this time around I hear less of the spacey-ness and a little more of a smooth-jazz-fusion feel. This is true of parts of the first track “Baltasaurus (14:19) and definitely true of the second track “Flying Trip” (7:15). The music is more restrained, almost relaxing, and yet still contains a driving almost funky rhythm. It does seem the band is less interested in showing off in terms of instrumental pyrotechnics and more enthused about playing melodically in a combo fashion. The songs still shift in terms of time and tempo and patterns, but just seem a little more restrained and confident. That said they can still light the fire when they want to as is evidenced by “Vietato Generalizzare” (6:40) which is the track most reminiscent of their earlier work. There are always a couple tracks with vocals and they show up here on the last two tracks of the CD. Each of the six compositions, the longest being almost 19-minutes tends to be built of many parts, and so the music tends to move around quite a bit, going from ensemble playing to many individual solo parts. The addition of strings on tracks 4 & 6 adds a real nice touch providing yet another dimension to the music.
Truth is if you are a fan of D.F.A., this is very likely already in your library. But for those still unfamiliar with their work, 4th would be a fine place to start investigating the band. It is perhaps not as traditionally proggy as some of their earlier efforts, but it makes up for that with some of the band’s most accomplished writing and performing. But don’t worry there are still plenty of progressive styled embellishments and compositional structure throughout the disc that dove-tail quite nicely with the band’s jazz-fusion style. This is a quality piece of music.