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D.F.A. - Lavori In Corso CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.21 | 46 ratings

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5 stars D.F.A. (Duty Free Area) were formed in Verona in the mid nineties on the initiative of Alberto De Grandis (drums, percussion, lead vocals). The other members of the band are Silvio Minella (electric and acoustic guitar), Alberto Bonomi (organ, synthesizers, mellotron, flute, vocals) and Luca Baldassari (bass). Their sources of inspiration range from Gentle Giant to Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, from classical and folk to jazz rock... Nonetheless the result is always brilliant and fresh and all their albums are absolutely worth listen to. Their debut album, "Lavori in corso" (Work in Progress) was released in 1996 for the independent label Scalopendra Records and it's an excellent starting point to explore the creativity of these musicians...

The opener "Work Machine" is about the need to break through from the monotonous routine of a busy work-life and starts in a mechanical and frenzy way... "I work more and more / I'm not allowed to have a break / I can never see the sun / Hot or cold it doesn't make any difference / I'm not allowed to feel pain... I want to go away / I can't keep on living in this way...". Then rhythm calms down, the thread of thoughts has no gears and fantasy can be like an engine with the strength of thousand arms... The mood becomes dreamy and when rhythm takes off again it is more relaxed. The human brain can be like a factory producing feelings and sensations, a perfect work machine... "Now I know that I'm beginning there / I'm opening empty spaces into reality... I'm flying over reality... I'm out thanks to my work machine...".

"Collage" is another track dealing with an escape from reality. It's a complex one with many sudden changes of mood and rhythm. Artificial realities can be dangerous and dreams can turn into nightmares... "I'm crying, I don't know why / But among my tears appears a collage of imagines / Reflected in my eyes...". An invading eye of ice, an enormous biting mouth, an howling wolf... Strange imagines take turns. It's hard to react when you are confused and you feel ridiculous but if you manage to overcome the obstacles and get out of it you'll be a new man... "I want to react / I have to destroy this biting collage... Please leave me alone, I'm just tired... / But a new day will come... Now I'm a new man ready to fly!".

Next track "Pantera" (Panther) begins with a light and swinging atmosphere, then the mood becomes darker... "Silent, mysterious / She waits for her prey in the dark / To feed her soul... Riding her instinct like in a blizzard / She will tear you apart / To feed her soul...". Every now and again the music flashes echoes of "black magic women" and "deep red" colours... But on the next track, "Pantera ? La sua anima" (Panther ? Her soul) tension melts giving way to a delicate instrumental featuring acoustic guitar and flute. Perhaps the soul of the panther is not so evil...

On "Trip On Metrņ" rhythm takes off again. It's a complex instrumental track where the musicians showcase all their excellent musicianship. Frantic jazz rock passages and soaring melodic parts draw a perfectly balanced and beautiful musical fresco.

"Space Ace Man" is another long instrumental full of surprises. It could be the perfect soundtrack for a science fiction film since it's like a ride into a dark open space where fiery guitar solos alternate with organ blows driving you toward far stars and unknown planets...

The long epic "La via" (The road) is about an introspective journey, a long metaphorical walk in search for the sunlight... It begins slowly, bass lines lead the way into the dark... "I see a pale sun at the end of the road / I go cautiously forward... I pick up every little sign / And my colour will shine more lively...". Tension rises, rhythm goes up... "It's time to close my eyes / To gather the pieces of my identity... But as soon as I open my eyes / I can't find what I was looking for / The road is fragmented / I can see only narrow paths leading into the mist... There's no clear line between good and evil / Between right and wrong...". Rhythm calms down now, the mood becomes dark and gloomy while tired steps keep marching on before a sudden change, a desperate acceleration evoking the wish of running... "I run, I'm running but I can't move / I don't know where I can find a way out from the tunnel of this reality...". Hopes and disappointments, light and dark run one after each other... "Everything is flat, black and white / There's no road anymore / But if I make a step / I can see it again / But it shatters into indecision / Until I choose to go toward the sun / That will light me...". A perfect conclusion for an excellent album!

andrea | 5/5 |


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