MOONJUNE RECORDS EDITORIAL INFO:
Over the last five years DFA has become a household name for fans of progressive/fusion music. This young quartet from Italy has so far released two studio albums, to growing critical acclaim, and a token of their international acceptance was the invitation they received to perform at the prestigious North-East Art-Rock Festival (NEARfest) in Pennsylvania, in June 2000, sharing the bill with the most famous representatives of the genre. DFA is a band best experienced in a live context, as demonstrated by "Work In Progress Live". The repertoire consists of an equal mix of tracks from the latest album "Duty Free Area" and from their 1997 debut "Lavori In Corso". Sophisticated, complex music served by supreme musicianship - this is a live album to judge others by.
DFA is a progressive rock outfit that is keyboard heavy, rhythmically impeccable and massively entertaining. Imagine music that's harder than Kimock, better than Phish, faster than Floyd, and looser than Zappa. Best of all, they're Italian. The quartet wandered into the United States to perform for the first time in the summer of 2000 and it was captured for their CD, Work in Progress Live Ã¢Â€Âž a gem if I may so.
DFA's music is heavy on the keyboards with a multitude of layering of all the other instruments, which makes for a remarkable listening experience. The separation of each instrument is astounding for a live recording; it's difficult to notice if it's actually live or in the studio. If it wasn't for the dialogue and the crowd's response to the music you would never know the difference. I have to tip my hat to Giampaolo Righetti, the mixing and remastering had a profound effect on this recording. An extraordinary amount of time and effort went into this process, you can tell. The musicianship in this group is quite simply put, out of this world. Most of the music is instrumental. A few of the tracks offer vocals in their native tongue.
"Work In Progress Live" is exactly what it says it is...music that's in a constant state of building and changing. 'La Via' is their prog-rock masterpiece clocking in at over fifteen minutes, in fact there isn't a track under six minutes on the entire recording, which is status quo for any good progressive work. This a solid release from start to finish with absolutely no weaknesses whatsoever. Progressive rock doesn't get any better than this, and this live recording could easily set the standard for other groups that are looking to achieve the same results. I can't possibly imagine that a group this good could possibly get any better, but I am sure they will. They will most certainly become legends in no time if they maintain the standards and quality that they set when they play live. I haven't had the pleasure to hear one of their studio recordings yet, although I am sure that they are just as fantastic as what I heard on this disc. Keep your eyes on this group; they are paving a path that others will soon take.
MUSIC DISH, USA
***** (five stars)
ALL ABOUT JAZZ, ITALY
This young progressive rock/fusion band known as DFA, performs selections from its previous releases, "Duty Free Area" and "Lavori In Corso" with this live set recorded on June 17, 2000 during NEARfest. Simply put, this outfit instills a distinct sense of motion, thanks to a robust brew consisting of sustained momentum, pastoral interludes, and vicious soloing. Sure, some of these pieces may rekindle notions of early 70's style space rock, or perhaps the fabled British prog-rock Canterbury scene, however this quartet surges onward via a modernistic approach amid polyrhythmic fury and multihued silhouettes. Essentially, the musicians' bespeak a sense of ownership thanks to commanding control of their instruments and a tightly woven group sound, while incorporating jazzy riffs and cascading chord progressions into the grand scheme of things. Here, melody is utilized as a vehicle for the ensemble's ambient-electronic passages and sonorous tapestries of keys and guitar based developments. Thus, "DFA"'s emergence might be analogous to newfound gold within a sometimes stagnant progressive rock genre. Highly recommended! 4 stars.
ALL MUSIC GUIDE, USA
***** (five stars)
Possibly the BEST live album ever made? WOW! GREAT! No, SPECTACULAR!!!!! This is Progressive Rock at its finest. These guys have the chops to get the job done! Alone each solo with a masters intensity, together, the word 'Tight' mean anything! This is perhaps the finest live album I have ever heard! If not for the breaks and applause(Serious Applause!), you can not tell its a LIVE album! Its that Perfect! DFA ROCKS!!!!!!!!
ODD SKY, USA
Lurking along the line between progressive precision and fusion experimentalism, DFA are without doubt, masters of their respective instruments; you can only sit back and admire the marvel that is masters at work. There is a lot to admire here, and if your penchant is for extended improvisation, then you really ought to be getting a hold of this. Another top quality release from the enterprising and innovative MoonJune Records.
DFA's sound exists in the elusive vapor trail of fusion, that not so justly maligned school of jazz, but don't let the "Fusion" word throw you. This is a cogent band with more than just chops to get out of their system. Work In Progress Live is a bold showcase for the four-member band from Verona, Italy, giving each one a pivotal role in the structure creating a seamless blend of progressive rock interwoven with resonating vocals and enigmatic jazz. This Live recording is, in essence, a celebration of the soul supported by flawless grooves improvised with exceptional freedom and fluency. Generous rhythmic sweeps of free-flowing tandem and blistering runs ebb and flow from beginning to end. With the inclusion of several vocal selections, the hypnotic vitality and emotional connection with listeners is still compelling and strong. DFA engages the listener as if under the spell of a rich box of dark chocolates, yet never subjects the sampler to a diabetic coma. What's most interesting here is how the music reflects the times, as jazz fusion represents an opportunity for creativity, not just sales. Fans of the genre will need no prodding.
THE GLOBAL MUSE, USA
DFA specializes in a highly complex but richly melodic compound made of equal parts symphonic progressive rock and jazz fusion. Far from being the solo-happy wankfest it might appear to be from the description, the album is a testament to the band's strong ensemble work. The epic compositions, written by drummer Alberto De Grandis and keyboardist Alberto Bonomi, leave plenty of room for improvisation, but hew closely to tuneful outlines. Bonomi and guitarist Silvio Minella weave in and out of each other's virtuosity, creating a lush fabric of rich musical colors that never fails to engage. When either man solos, the break is equally impressive for its restraint as for its skill. De Grandis keeps the rhythm at a constant boil, with his jazzy cymbal work driving the sound as much as the kick drum; bassist Luca Baldassari holds steady, the pole off which the flags fly. "Trip on Metro," a piece that dates back to the group's early demos, shows a subtle Mahavishnu Orchestra influence, while "Pantera," "Caleidoscopio" and "Ragno" perfectly balance the blend of jazz rhythm, classical melody and rock firepower that is the hallmark of Italian progressive rock. Equally impressive and accessible, if this music is merely a work in progress, the final version will be drop-dead astonishing.
HIGH BIAS, USA
One of the best live CDs ever heard from a prog group and one of the top releases for 2001.
ZOLTAN'S PROGRESSIVE ROCK PAGE, USA
Kudos to Moonjune Records for releasing this magnificent live cd! Guitarist Silvio Minella possesses a shredder's heart and a jazzman's discernment, a precious combination. Likewise, Luca Baldassari's bass lines are solid, complex yet unobtrusive. While the keyboards have often been relegated to a textural position in fusion over the last decade, Alberto Bonomi isn't afraid to let his smooth washes and jagged lines step right out and sing. He has the good sense to choose appropriate tones and techniques that don't date the music before the band can even get going, while the drummer Alberto De Grandis is a fine master of surging, crashing rhythmic power.
ALL ABOUT JAZZ, USA
On "Work In Progress Live", DFA delivers a healthy dose of synthesized madness, completely insane time signature changes, and precision tested drumming. The musical prowess displayed on this incredible live album is far out of the reach of most popular bands nowadays, and even by progressive standards, these guys are standout musicians. The band flows freely from mellow vocal passages into gigantic jazz improvisational jam sessions and back again. This is an album that can be appreciated by musicians and non-musicians alike, but all should be prepared for something quite different from your everyday live album. Flawless musicianship and innovative arrangements are the rule. The degree of accuracy with which DFA plays often makes it difficult to believe that this is a live album. DFA. is truly a musician's band.
AMZ MUSIC ZINE, USA
DFA is relentless in its pursuit of the proggy truth. It hits you in the head, makes you wake up and take notice. Whenever I hear dadaesque riffs, whenever I don't know where the music is going to take me next, I think "this is original." Original this is and highly recommended for the prog fan.
BEYOND COLTRANE, USA
Not only one of the best quality live prog rock albums around, recorded at the USA Nearfest 2000, but the finest album this, mostly instrumental, Italian band has produced to date, the concert and the CD capturing them on red hot form as they work their way through six long tracks and sixty-six minutes of classic guitars-synths/keys dominated prog, and it is prog all the way, with the musicianship and band interplay at an astoundingly high level. The moods cover the range from string-synth moments of warmth through intricate time signatures to supercharged duelling and soloing from the two lead instrumentalists. Overall, an astoundingly good CD, the few Italian vocals not at all detracting from the enjoyment of the album as a whole.
CD SERVICES, SCOTLAND
DFA's "Work In Progress Live" will appeal to keyboard-driven prog fans. The synthscapes and complex 70's-voiced tapestries of keys are DFA. The compositions have a strong bass groove and bounce keeping a jazzy prog feel. Guitar work is solid but without flash or highly technical pyrotechnics. In fact, it is a sort of relaxed axe jam that overlays and augments the keyboard superstructure. Drums are just right and never detract nor jump out at you. Italian lyrics and vox adds an early PFM aura but with a softer, romanticism, or soft prog essence. DFA are hard to pin down and say, "like this group or that". DFA is just DFA.
DFA is an impressive band both technically and musically, and they steer through breakneck passages without losing the flow. The intricate, through-and-through arranged compositions demand an enormous skill and concentration, and the musicians are filled with enthusiasm and sheer joy of playing. At the same time, they are sufficiently relaxed not to make the quieter parts too convulsive,
something that happens too easily when the energy level is high. There are not many of today's bands who match DFA on technique and energy, and Work In Progress Live is sheer live fireworks.
TARKUS MAGAZINE, NORWAY
Breathtaking progressive rock fusion of the highest calibre with an original and inventive approach to music.
PHILIP JACKSON, SCOTLAND
DFA solos have a very organic way of growing out of the root chords of the melodies. They have chops to burn and emotional baggage to keep the fire going.
TONE CLUSTER, USA
DFA plays funky beats topped with creative improvisation. They play what they feel and the combination of metallic guitar, pyrotechnic keyboards, bass and drums leaves rockers feeling good!
O'S PLACE JAZZ NEWSLETTER, USA
This album is not for those who like their music rather straight forward, but should appeal to those who like a healthy dose of instrumental music coupled with complex arrangements.
'Work In Progress' is an album of fine progressive fusion that is complex and convoluted yet, at the same time, is highly melodic and easily assimilated.
NEW HORIZONS, UK
DFA swings, crackles and bumps, demonstrating that they can handle live music just as well as in studio. DFA preys on energy, with mostly instrumental album-length epic songs that roll on and on, ever heavenly upward, proving once again that all the really GOOD prog is European flavored. The synth/key work is especially vivacious with killer guitars and the brilliant, continuous bass/percussion rhythm that outlines entire songs, taking you back sometimes to the Yes' "Tales from the Topographic Ocean". A flawless performances pretty star struck, pretty amazing. The audience is up on their feet at the end of every sparkling track. This is the sort of cd that never dates itself. Listening to it over and over again and you're going to find new tunes, original subtle details that escaped your ears the first time.
MUSE'S MUSE, USA
A fabulous Dante journey to infinite. ***** (Five stars)
Their music builds tension with lots of ambient bits, and the proggy jazz fusion, a trademark of the band's sound. Killer guitar work and some great 70's keyboard sounds with a jazzy fusion ELP sound. Things get a bit freaky at times too indicating these guys can say the hell with control and get wild and crazy when they want to. An excellent progressive rock and fusion band.
AURAL INNOVATION, USA
What's even better...the sound of the album is impressively solid and huge, and the drummer Alberto De Grandis' razor-sharp talent sends the band into a spiraling attack just as quickly as into a jazzy improvisation, while his band mates challenge each other in a frenzied flurry of notes that spell "quality" at every step. Those who were at NEARFest that day better be grateful; they got to see and hear something that most people spend their entire lives waiting for.
What a brilliant album! Epic and sophisticated. With their complex progressive rock DFA unite old schooled 70's bands with modern sounds and jazz influences to a very own sound.
PROGRESSIVE ROCK PAGES, GERMANY
DFA's music really tends to burst out of your speakers, due to the fantastic songs, with lots of changing moods, surprising breaks and multiple changes in pace.
Phenomenal. The strong and steadily thumping bass pulses from the speakers like the blips of electronic light on a heart monitor, in this case indicating definite signs of new musical life. Streams of synthesizer and dancing keyboards quickly join in. Muscular guitar notes ring out above it all. The steady beat of drums then joins the sonic party, rounding things out and creating a cacophony of sound. A live masterpiece.
PROGRESSIVE EARS, USA
DFA is one of the bands with a major international projection among all today's progressive bands.
DFA plays a modern explosive symphonic fusion with incredibly tight playing, that draws on many elements to produce a dynamic sound that can be blistering symphonic one minute and quiet and spacey the next.3Ãš4While they can easily blow you away with their intense sound, their excellent compositional skills and sense of dynamics always keeps the music fresh with plenty of breathing room. DFA are one of the brightest stars shining in today's murky progressive scene. While great on their studio albums, this band is especially at home in the live element and this performance is certainly indicative of that. 5 stars.
THE GIANT PROGWEED, USA
Smoking live set recorded at Nearfest 2000. Anyone who was in attendance witnessed one of the hottest prog bands around. A complex blend of Gentle Giant influenced prog laced with long, long jazz rock heavy instrumental passages.
LASER'S EDGE, USA
Utterly fantastic mostly instrumental jazz/rock fusion from one of the current top bands out of Italy. Highly recommended!
CRANIUM MUSIC, NEW ZEALAND
A wonderful new promising 4 piece Italian band that combines classic prog with modern touches, ranging from symphonic, complex to jazzy interludes and adding some tasty spacey moments.
Damn good music, brilliantly executed!
A most impressive and well recorded live effort from this extraordinary Italian progressive/post-fusion quartet who wowed the audience at Nearfest 2000.
DOWNTOWN MUSIC GALLERY NEW YORK, USA
Top league progressive rock/fusion band. And Alberto De Grandis shows us what an incredibly damn good drummer he is!
MR. BLUES' TRAIN WORLD OF MUSIC, NORWAY
Their material is a mostly instrumental mixture of complex yet beautifully melodic progressive rock and hypnotic jazz rock/fusion, with Alan Holdsworth and U.K. influences. Their instrumentation is impressive but not overwhelming, and complex but not inaccessible
PLANET ITCHY, HOLLAND
An hour of truly breathtaking prog-fusion, jaw-droppingly delivered.
Cascades of complex and intricate musical puzzles, seemingly endless changes of themes, moods, tempos, time signatures, tonal and atonal moves, long and short, but always enjoyable and virtuoso solos, with a wonderful work by the chef in the kitchen with all those dishes-plates-cymbals and all amazingly diverse toys prepared by Alberto De Grandis with a scorching drumfire. Impressive. A live masterpiece. 5 1/2 stars
Great energy. Great music. Great album.
SOME PROGRESSIVE ROCK, NORWAY
Superb live album from DFA, one of the best progressive fusion bands heard in quite some time.
STONE PREMONITIONS, UK
DFA absolutely kicked ass with this live CD. The two stars are the keyboardist, Maestro Alberto Bonomi, who was all over the place, and the drummer, Alberto De Grandis, who pretty well ran a clinic on how to play. Often, while executing all this whirlwind activity on the drum set, he'd be singing at the same time, showing an almost ridiculous display of talent.
THE ORIGINAL IRISH BASTARD, CANADA
The group's four musicians are technically gifted and approach their instruments with an exciting inventiveness.
Ã‚ÂFuera de lo comÃ…Â“n! Extraordinary!
ESCENA ROCK, SPAIN
Sophisticated, complex music served by supreme musicianship - this is a live album to judge others by.
Clever and sophisticated progressive rock
ACID ATTACK, UK
A dramatic mixture of instrumental jazz-fusion-prog and melodic progrock. DFA give lots of space and breath to their compositions, especially regarding to the keyboards and the sensitive funky guitar playing. A great album !
Top notch fusion. These guys could cook with drummer ruling the band and keeping the tempo hot and alive through the entire set! A band you should all check out!
PROG EXPERIENCES, USA
D.F.A. puts on a 66 minute clinic on the classic Italian symphonic/fusion sound and the level of musicianship is high showing off in the complex nature of their compositions.
PROG & OTHERS, USA
An impressive live performance! Highly recommended!
FRAZZ RECOMMENDS, SWEDEN
DFA practices symphonic arrangements made by the keyboards, with the guitar contributing interesting moments of Jazz-Rock/Fusion with truly virtuous and complex rhythm section. Long songs, served up with psychedelic cascades of waves, integrating electronic storms into the sound or lay flowing swelling tones under the melody. There are no boredom thanks to the divinely gifted musicians, playing their instruments perfectly. The compositions give the excitement to extensive complex improvisations. A surely deterrence to newcomers into the absurd depth of progressive rock. Who has practice his ears and forming the claim of senses will be lucky with "Work In Progress". Far off every idea of today's rock and popmusic and we are lucky we still can hear this kind of music today.
Delicious blend of fusion and space progressive rock, wonderfully constructed compositions and arrangements. Highly captivating and an excellent album all the way through.
THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF PROGRESSIVE ROCK, CANADA
DFA is one of the brightest and more promising bands in the category of upcoming progressive rock acts. Check it out, they totally rock!
MORE THAN MUSIC, SWEDEN
Fully developed compositions that worked out in a magnificent way.
SOUND BASE, GERMANY
Excellent and indispensable, highly recommendable.
PROGRESSIVE ROCK & METAL WEBZINE, BRAZIL
DFA is a cumulus of intricate sonorities, sometimes complex and sometimes fluidly melodic, bordering spheres of progressive jazz-rock/fusion and symphonic rock. "Work In Progress Live" is an amazing mosaic of elegant harmonies and emotions.
REVISTA ROCK PROGRESIVO, CHILE
One of the trippiest new bands from Italy, in the vein of Banco, Gentle Giant and Ozric Tentacles..
SHOP 33, FRANCE
Classical, complex Progressive-Rock influenced by Gentle Giant, early Genesis and Yes, with jazz-rock/fusion elements. Outstanding keyboard playing and magnificent drumming. Not for short 3-minute-tracks lovers and commercial radio listeners!
ROLAND'S WELT, GERMANY
One of the best prog works heard in some time.
BATHTUBE OF ADVENTURES, UK
We are completely drawn away from the fact that this is a live performance! When we remember that, we get stupefied! A memorable show and a highly recommended CD to all progressive fans in the vein of Gentle Giant who don't mind the inclusion of some jazzy and trippy elements.
Truly original, engaging and emotional compositions.
Astonishingly high level music!
REAL MUSIC, GERMANY
A damn good, very high quality, mostly instrumental progressive rock album.
STRUTTER MAGAZINE, HOLLAND
A live CD with the studio quality sound. These guys know how to play live!
AIDING & ABETTING, USA
Work in Progress Live is a testament to the musical prowess that these four Italian virtuosos possess.
SEA OF TRANQUILLITY, USA
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3. Trip On MetrÃ³
4. La Via