DIGITALLY REMASTERED FIRST TWO D.F.A.’s CULT ALBUMS WITH 3 LIVE BONUS TRACKS. 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 resources, set forth by Giant, 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 1997 debut, Lavori In Corso, followed 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. 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. Throughout this 2-CD set, check out keyboardist 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/primary composer/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. Now, Moonjune has provided a gift of sorts with the remastering and packaging (also including bonus tracks) of the unit’s first two studio efforts. And while D.F.A’.s musical aura does not communicate a trend-setting revelation, it parallels science - where cerebral disciplines generally attain a fruitful coexistence with creativity and a sense of purpose. – GLENNASTARITA, Downbeat/Jazzreview/AllABoutJazz contributor
For fans of Gentle Giant, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Gong, Bruford, Focus, UK, Allan Holdsworth, National Health, Return To Forever, Flower Kings, Porcupine Tree, Ozric Tentacles.