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D.F.A. Lavori In Corso album cover
4.20 | 59 ratings | 8 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Work Machine (7:09)
2. Collage (7:06)
3. Pantera (8:48)
4. Pantera - La Sua Anima (4:04)
5. Trip On Metrò (6:33)
6. Space Ace Man (9:47)
7. La Via (16:19)

Total time 59:46

Line-up / Musicians

- Silvio Minella / guitars
- Alberto Bonomi / Hammond, Mellotron, synth, flute, vocals
- Luca Baldassari / bass
- Alberto De Grandis / drums, vocals

Releases information

Title translates as "Work in Progress"

Artwork: Consuelo Trevisan

CD Scolopendra ‎- SCL 001 (1996, Italy)
CD Mellow Records ‎- MMP 392 (2000, Italy)
2xCD MoonJune Records - MJR010 (2007, US) Bundled with "Duty Free Area" (2 albums on one CD) plus 3 bonus Live tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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D.F.A. Lavori In Corso ratings distribution

(59 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

D.F.A. Lavori In Corso reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I knew Duty Free Area (D.F.A.) for the first time through couple of songs aired at a progressive rock program in Jakarta's classic rock radio sometime in 2000. And I only have this CD, which I accidentally found in used CD market for a relatively cheap price (US$ 7). What a great deal! Well, actually I don't know why people sold this excellent album to a secondary market. So, my knowledge about the band is very limited. But from my experience with this "Lavori in Corso" I was impressed the first time I spun the CD. The music of the band gave me an impression of a blend of music from Gryphon, Island, PFM and King Crimson with some early Genesis style in some symphonic transition pieces. What truly amazed me is actually the musicianship demonstrated by each member of the band. Heavily dominated with the sound of keyboard, synthesizer and mellotron in most of rhythm section, however, the composition allows sufficient time for each instrument to perform the solo. From this standpoint, I can see clearly the virtuosity of each member of this four-piece band. Overall, the musical composition of this album is music-orientated that demonstrates marriages of sounds (and effects) produced by each instrument used. All songs are deceptively complex but the create excellent harmony.

The album opener "Work Machine (Industry)" (7:09), written by De Grandis and Bonomi, kicks off with a relatively complex arrangements dominated by repetitive keyboard sounds followed with Italian vocal. The music turns quieter in ambient spacey style followed with duo-vocal and returns back to original form with keyboard dominating the rhythm section as well as some short solo work. Stunning guitar solo is presented right after the middle of the track. It's an excellent opener.

"Collage" (7:06), witten by De Grandis and Bonomi, has a more upbeat tempo than the opening track and this time guitar provides excellent soft riffs and rhythm section. The music turns into softer volume and suddenly returns back in upbeat tempo with stunning guitar work. The guitar sound reminds me to Steve Hackett and Robert Fripp. The music sounds symphonic with keyboard onslaught and jaw-dropping drum work. The Hammond organ at the back gives a nuance of seventies music like ELP's. The combination of guitar and mellotron/keyboard work at the ending part of this track is truly awesome!

"Pantera" (8:48), written by Minella and Bonomi, represents the band's exploration to jazz-influenced music featuring swing style with flute solo. This gives a kind of break from previous two songs for a while because what it turns out the music returns back into complex arrangements when vocal enters. Again, I observe excellent harmony between guitar and Hammond organ. Oh man . I really love the relatively long guitar solo - followed with Hammond organ solo; they are so stunning! This song has a very tight composition with frequent abrupt changes in tempo and style. It's truly a progressive rock tune! A masterpiece!

"La Sua Anima" (4:04) starts off excellently with acoustic guitar work, exploratory in nature, featuring flute with no drum and bass. Keyboard fills the music in symphonic style accentuated with electric piano. Everything is performed in relatively slow tempo.

"Trip on Metro" (6:33), written by De Grandis, brings the music back into complex arrangements with some repetitive opening that reminds me to King Crimson. This instrumental piece gives keyboard and bass guitar present so obvious at the opening part with guitar plays as rhythm section. Guitar solo takes its opportunity to perform at approx minute 2:00 with Fripp style. There are frequent abrupt changes in tempo throughout the song with keyboard provides inventive work at background.

"Space Ace Man" (9:47), written by all members of the band, is a symphonic rock instrumental music which starts with guitar solo overlaid on top of long sustain keyboard sound. This song presents something different than previous tracks. Composed with symphonic approach the song still gives an impression of complex music. The style changes frequently through the passage of musical segments. As the title implies this track features spacey music.

"La Via" (16:19), written by Bonomi and De Grandis, serves like an epic as duration-wise is relatively long. It starts off with bass guitar notes and moves slowly with soft entrance of long sustain keyboard work; it gives an ambient style. Vocal enters in mellow style. Guitar gives its shot in between vocal and gradually moves the music in crescendo with an upbeat and complex arrangements, combined with keyboard solo. Overall style of this last track is mellow with symphonic rock elements and some spacey nuance.

I would recommend this album to those of you who enjoy relatively complex composition. This album is an excellent addition to any prog rock collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Satisfying and complex symphonic fusion from these Italians, endlessly inventive and would pair quite nicely with Gentle Giant, Return To Forever, Colosseum ll or U.K. Keyboard-based with organ and synths from Alberto Bonomi, but plenty of tasty hard rock in Silvio Minella's Les Paul and the vibrant drums of Alberto De Grandis. Though as tight as they are, Duty Free Area somehow retain a loose and free-flowing feel that one would expect from a trad jazz or Rhythm&Blues outfit, and have more consideration for the educated jam than many fusion ensembles. Most tracks are instrumental and over six minutes, though the drummer and keyboardist vocalize with limited success. Great stuff for instrumental lovers, particularly 'Work Machine', the 9-minute 'Pantera', agitated bop and Zappa-esque angles in 'Trip on Metro' and 'Space Ace Man', and the expansive 'La Via' at 16 minutes. Nothing groundbreaking but aces nonetheless, and suggested for fusionheads who can never have enough quality music.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is D.F.A.'s first full length album as their first recording "Trip On Metro" was really a six song demo tape. It was that demo tape that Alberto Piras (the singer for DEUS EX MACHINA) listened to and was impressed enough to produce this album, and also sign the band to his label. I can't tell you how much i've enjoyed this record. This is one of those recordings that I delight in listening to carefully in order to hear all the intricacies and complexities. I just tip my hat to the drummer, guitarist, bass player and the mellotron / synth / organ player. Bravo !

"Work Machine" opens with a strange sound before the angular guitar comes in right off the hop. Drums, bass, vocals and organ join in. The vocals by the way (despite some English song titles) are in Italian. Check out the gorgeous spacey section before 2 1/2 minutes. It still stays fairly laid back until 4 1/2 minutes. Guitar follows. This is so good ! It's dreamy again as guitar plays so tastefully. Great sound after 6 minutes as it sounds like ANGLAGARD playing. "Collage" opens with raw guitar and aggressive vocals. Organ and drums join the fray. It pretty much stops 1 1/2 minutes in before guitar and organ come back in style. It calms down again with some nice guitar. Full speed ahead 3 minutes in. Vocals follow. The organ is killer, especially after 5 minutes. Guitar grinds away and then tears it up with more great organ joining in. "Pantera" is light and jazzy to open with melloton coming in. Vocals and a powerful sound before 1 1/2 minutes. A guitar solo a minute later. They're really going at it 4 minutes in. It calms down to such a pleasant sound 5 1/2 minutes in as keys play on with distant sounding guitar melodies. It's building to a full sound 7 minutes in. Vocals are back before 8 minutes. Spacey synths to end it.

"La Sua Anima" is a mellow instrumental of gentle acoustic guitar and flute. Synths and mellotron 1 1/2 minutes in. "Trip On Metro" is uptempo and complex. Some nice bass before we get a guitar solo 2 minutes in. A collage of intricate sounds 3 minutes in. Angular guitar and some mellotron after 3 1/2 minutes. One of my favourites on here. "Space Ace Man" as the title suggests is spacey early with some great soaring guitar. Heavy drums 1 1/2 minutes in as spacey synths wash in. The guitar, bass and organ impress. The guitar lets loose 5 minutes in. It settles a little and then kicks back in. The guitar is lighting it up again before 6 minutes. A calm after 7 minutes and then the guitar returns before 8 1/2 minutes. Some good contrasts on this tune.

"La Via" is the 16 minute closer. It's pastoral with bass and synths to open. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in as the sound continues to be dreamy. That changes 3 minutes in as drums, guitar and organ crash the party. Check out the guitar and organ 5 minutes in. It's spacey again 6 1/2 minutes in before kicking back in a minute later. Vocals 8 1/2 minutes in with some amazing sounding guitar to follow. A calm 10 minutes in to the end with some almost spoken vocals 12 minutes in. I really like that final passage.

This band is criminally unknown if the number of ratings for their albums on this site is any indication. Please check this band out. As Finnforest mentions, their new one "4TH" will be near the top of the best of polls for 2008.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Of the 90's Italian prog revival wave, very few groups managed to really impress me in the long run; from Finisterre & Germinale to Malibran & Nodo Giordano, they all seemed to be after the elusive quest of finding themselves a niche, their own niche. Among the more complex-music (let's say less symphonic) groups, Deus Ex Machina and DFA were more convincing, though, especially the later. The quartet recorded their debut album during the summer of 96, in their native Verona and released it on the then-unavoidable Mellow Record. Apparently their first release (from 95) is "demo" where all titles are present on this album, but reworked and an added mammoth epic La Via added on this present and official debut, released on the inevitable Mellow records, produced by DEM's singer Alberto Piras. DFA is a standard prog quartet where it seems that Drummer De Grandis and keyboardist Bonomi are the most skilled at their respective instruments, especially the latter's Hammond and mellotron use.

Musically DFA hovers between Gentle Giant in most tracks and a demented guitar-included ELP (even a bit Atomic Rooster) in their more muscular riff-laden moments, due to Minella's crunchy hard rock guitar. In some ways, DFA's musical realm also hovers with the Japanese trio Ars Nova with solid guitars and good Italian vocals (no matter what David says, 4 out of 7 tracks are sung and correctly at that too) plus a very hard rock-type guitar ala Gary Moore or Pat Travers or other 70's hard rock guitar hero. Opening on a demented tempo that Bonomi holds together wit Minella's guitar, the GG-esque Work Machine is an impressive track does cool down for a 2-minute break, which is no way spacey, slowly building it back through synths and the whole shebang thereafter and returning to its normal opening state well before the end. Collage is indeed just that: a collection of musical bits glued together without much sense and appropriate chords (there is even one that's just left with blank as link), but it shows that the group had many ideas, too many too fit in so few songs. The much quieter (at first) and jazzier (in the intro anyway) Pantera is filled with mellotron and is a welcome change, especially later on in the track where Bonomi's Banks-like organ

Trip On The Metro (this was the name of their demo) is an insane and overloaded instrumental, where keyboard excesses abound and the complex guitar give it a GG feel, but it doesn't avoid some clichés and lengths. The inaptly-titled Space Ace Man is a guitar-dominated piece (the track is collectively written) that sounds like Satriani's revenge on PA, but Bonomi won't let that unpunished and his organ give a good answer. If I said inaptly-titled, it's because the supposedly spacey closing-section is not very much .. Space-like. La Via (the road) is the only track added from the band's demo, and it's the only track not really fitting with the rest of the album, the only one to sound more typically-Italian (the modern way), but it's nothing really dramatic a change either, since it's clearlu audible that the production and musicians are the same. I'd say that the songwriting makes the difference. more mature, I'd say. a good track to close a worthy debut album.

Among the dozens of modern Italian prog bands that started out quite well and in view of their first two albums, I'd say that that DFA stands out as well as early Germinale and to a lesser extent Finisterre, but it sticks certainly better a predefined musical direction (the others are hitting left right and centre without a real goal). It turns out that DFA would spend most of the next decade without a studio follow- up (only releasing an uninteresting live album in '01) to Duty Free Area, but finally end '08, their fourth album. Would it be worth the wait???

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars hmmm....rather closer to 4.5 stars!

Hailing from the city of Verona,D.F.A. (aka Dutu Free Area) were found by three friends in 1991.As time went by,they moved from rich musicianship to superb complicated structures with improvisated parts and released ''Trip on metro'' in 1995.which was enough for the prog community to keep an eye on them.''Lavori in corso'' was recorded in early 97' and presented a band with an amazing and mature musicianship....D.F.A. come like a cross between GENTLE GIANT,maybe YES along with mid-70's KING CRIMSON,delivering complicated arrangements filled with rich textures,complex parts and earth-shattering interplays.Things are not that simple of course,as there are numerous hints of Canetrbury/CAMEL-like prog with smooth jazzy arrangements and melodic passages,while the keyboard work (except the beautiful mellotron) might seem out of place sometimes,but the synths presented here are no more than an excellent atmospheric/electronic musical journey.Only compared to DEUS EX MACHINA's inventiveness and intensity,D.F.A. belong among the most-talented music group of the modern-era and ''Lavori in corso'' might end up as a classic through the years to come.Extremely highly recommended!

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Not since the celebrated Arti+Mestieri has there been such a worldwide buzz about an Italian jazz- rock/fusion outfit! Duty Free Area definitely provides some wondrous music that encompasses the complex realms of odd time signatures and some ultra-spacey symphonics when needed as a contrast to the swirling dervish instrumental pyrotechnics. They also sing in harmony which is a much heralded throwback to the Hatfield/Canterbury school of prog diversity. First the stellar line-up, which even though at first glance looks like your standard gt,k,b&dr, includes a fascinating lead guitarist Silvio Minella , possessor of magnificent tone and technique, keyboardist Alberto Bonomi who mostly wields a shivering Hammond organ, dabbling with mellotron when the symphonics kick in , synths for soloing and adds flute and vocals. Bassist Luca Baldassari not only keeps everything firmly anchored but knows how to step into the spotlight with some wicked wizardry. For this kind of challenging music to work, you need a drummer extraordinaire and Alberto de Grandis unquestionably delivers in spades, adding some vocals as well. As the bald headed referee blows his whistle, this debut album kicks off with "Work Machine", a tasty opening smorgasbord of styles, really a perfect introduction of the caliber of style and ability these signori can come up with. Hyper-effusive rhythms, cagey melodies, stops and starts, a sliver of dissonance ,some ambient electronics and playful Italian vocals set the tone immediately and hang on to your earphones! Heady stuff indeed! Listening to all the players communally and individually only heightens the awe, as it becomes apparent these guys can play with the best. "Collage" is another seriously thrusting escapade with some blistering solos from the axe- fiend, while the drums keep thundering, the bass trusting the groove and the keys thrashing around in crazed euphoria. Intense, a true mosaic of various styles and hence chaotic, this will undoubtedly please the techies out there! Try chasing after this bus, doggie! The galloping insanity and the eccentric wizardry continues with "Pantera", starting out as a sleek jazzy ditty where the flute rules and then veers into the vocal-led, guitar appointed stretch , where both the Hammond and the axe trade appropriate growls , blistering rapid runs that seem to emulate the velocity of the panther as it scurries about on the Serengeti. The restrained synth solo brings to mind the deft precision of first-rate fusion giving this track a stamp of supreme elegance, slowly ratcheting up the pace as it quickens. "La Sua Anima"is an almost welcome diversion from the fury, surprisingly featuring gentle acoustic strumming, idyllic flute embellishments and a gentle mellotron/synth backdrop, thus creating a dreamily effusive atmosphere that adds even more credence to their craft. The purely instrumental "Trip on the Metro" reverts to the manic fusion/fission style that combines wicked polyrhythmic tornadoes with loads of incendiary riffs at times recalling some recent KC dexterities, the hyper bass bopping frantically and a slithering classic and emotional guitar solo before zipping back into the eddy. One can only imagine the subway trip in its linear drive towards some mundane destination. Allegedly this was their demo in getting the debut album done and it certainly has the shine and the stamina to impress any audiophile. Lots of chops, a truly memorable ride! The nearly 10 minute "Space Age Man" is another wordless foray into intergalactic realms, the orbiting synth displaying cosmic skill, the fretboard still billowing lift-off steam, the bass rippling through various sonic barriers propelling the ship further into the universe. Drum meister DeGrandis powers the arrangement purposefully forward working together with the Hammond, raging in delight! There is a teaming resolve that exudes from the speakers proving that these lads know how to rip, no doubt! "La Via" is the remorseless 16 minute epic standout that closes the deal, a superlative escapade into the highway of life, a brooding introduction that spotlights a resolute bass groove , with soaring wisps of moody electronic washes, celestial vocal harmonies that rekindle hints of the classic PFM, Celeste, Il Volo etc.sound . The theme incrementally expands into some scintillating playing, synth and guitar playing in unison and veering off separately when prompted, the vocals now more assertive, the playing slipping into the more demanding rhythms, desperately searching out new contrasts and new sonic horizons. At the 6 minute mark, the huge mellotron-infused theme that defines this track, makes its first hesitant entrance into the fray, interrupted by occasional returns to the whirlwind mania. This massively haunting theme will eventually grow in insistence and passion. While undoubtedly the most symphonic track here, the brilliantly complex musicianship shines through, elevating this piece to intense heights. A playful mid-section brightly reintroduces the spine of this jewel, that simply languid theme, gleaming intensely and shimmering with unfettered majesty. Sucked right in, I am, surely one of the finest sympho-prog tracks from the recent RPI. The final 5 minutes are utter, unadulterated bliss with the flute spiraling upwards, forcing the pace as the choir-mellotron vortex rises slowly into the heavens. This impassioned mantra of emotion and sound is simply irresistible. 5 men at work pylons.
Review by andrea
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 Metrò" 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!

Latest members reviews

4 stars This, their (officially) second album is a revelation. D.F.A is a fusion band on it's right. A fusion between rock and jazz. A fusion between Jazz Rock/ Fusion and Rock Progressivo Italiano. A fusion between Rock Progressivo Italiano and Canterbury Scene. Although that latter fusion is not a ... (read more)

Report this review (#397047) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, February 9, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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