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

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Hawkwind - Golden Void 1969-1979 – Hey look, it's another Hawkwind compilation! I hope they got paid for this one. For your information, the band is as unhappy as the fans about the crop of Hawkwind reissue albums that pop up,...  (1999) » Read more

Remy Stroomer - Different Shades of Dust – Young composer Remy Stroomer from the Netherlands admires Klaus Schulze and that can be heard in “Following Differences,” the first track. He chooses the same repeat in tones as Schulze does. His...  (2005) » Read more

Tombstone Valentine - Hidden World – Could this be a flashback to 1972 Berlin? Nope, it's actually 90s Indiana. But this two-woman, three-man combo certainly have that classic, droney Krautrock sound down pat. It could be the analog...  (1999) » Read more

Knight Area - Under a New Sign – Considering this Holland export’s inauspicious debut at NEARfest, I was a bit reluctant to investigate the group’s latest recording – I was underwhelmed with what I perceived as the...  (2008) » Read more

Moongarden - Brainstorm of Emptiness – Genesis and Van der Graaf Generator were very popular in Italy in the mid-70s. While nowadays you can't sell out a 1,000 seater at Progfest in the USA, bands such as these were hot sellers in...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues