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D.F.A. - 4th CD (album) cover

4TH

D.F.A.

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.20 | 82 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I am severely tempted in anointing an unprecedented 5 stars to the third album (called Fourth, as there was a live one in the interval) to Italian supergroup DFA, simply blown by the sheer quality of their sympho-jazz fusion. I have a manic tendency to gush effusively and adorn a cosmos-load of shiny asteroids on anything prog but I won't harden now, quite to the contrary. Lavori in Corso and the self-titled Duty Free Area are monster recordings of a quartet in full mastery of their craft and this work is bolted down with confident authority. "Baltasaurus" is a whopping 14 minute exercise in exquisite groove moods, rippling fast and quirky, shuffled along by some inspired drumming from composer Alberto de Grandis , bubbling synths that emit a jazzier aroma of Ozric Tentacles in the way the Luca Baldassari bass just carves the path effortlessly. Guitarist Silvio Minella can rock with the best, a raunchier version of John Goodsall of Brand X fame, laying down some fiery furrows, blistering leads and unexpected flair. Finally, keyboardist Alberto Bonomi uses his vast array to decorate the sonic temple, Hammond organ being his prime tool for colorations. At times, there seems to be a blend of Focus and Mahavishnu Orchestra in which the pace can be heavily jam-oriented but always within a tight symphonic packaging. The flute makes a convenient appearance on the dreamy "Flying Trip", a rustling slice of guitar aerobatics within the sunlit keyboard-driven expanse, the Fender Rhodes electric piano doing some massive collateral damage in the process. I know I mentioned it somewhere in a review before but the e-piano is my newfound "chérie", just loves that fuzzy tone. Bonomi tantalizes with a spirited piano solo before redirecting the arrangement into the earlier glory, giving this such a shimmering luster. "Vietato Generalizzare" (Forbidden to Generalize) gets swiftly into the playful romp mode, extremely complex and polygonal, with all players hungrily adding their grain of salt to the pot. Fans of technical prog will not be disappointed nor temporally defused from the interminable volcanic flow, a standard- setting musical philosophy that has been there since the debut album. Frightfully succulent stuff this but let's agree that the club bunny ladies will find here little to enjoy, being astronomically far removed from Lady Gaga! This is not eating, drinking, loving or chilling (hate that word!) music, DFA demand a captive ear and a receptive mind to truly appreciate their creative expressions. The sweeping "Mosoq Runa" is the monster epic, clocking in over 18 minutes and stamping this album with overt prog credentials, garlanded by luxuriant symphonics (cellos and violins) and a serene flute passages, while the e-piano drips resoundingly. The composition morphs into an upbeat Hammond splurge, where Minella can really stretch out and have his fingers fly convincingly over the fretboard. Again the confidence level is soothingly arrogant, where poise, emotion and adventure all gather in subdued acquiescence, each performer letting his musical persona shine through. Bonomi unleashes a grand organ solo that would make Auger, Emerson, Stewart or Lord blush with sympathy. Drummer DeGrandis showcases his skin bashing technique eloquently, propelling the groove ever further, constantly abetted by Baldassari's under towed bass. Minella's axe style is so refreshing, not falling into the senseless noodling that some frustrated rockers copy in order to be "accepted" into the jazz pantheon, preferring a rowdier palette of effects that are way closer to the prog guitar prototype (as if that was somehow shameful! Go figure!). Elegant piano and the strings tuck this one in nicely, a definite highpoint for me and an immediate RPI classic. I think I just came?.oops arrived, I mean! "The Mirror" is not a remake of the Spooky Tooth classic (hahahaha) but an airy vocal from our drum man that skirts distant territories (a bit like Maneige perhaps), a slight Arabic desert feel that recalls some Saharan safari amid the sun-baked sand dunes (say that one real fast!) and some flavorful guitar whirlwinds (like a rougher Santana , get it?). This is breezy, cool and visionary jazz-rock, no hint of any blurry mirage, as the piano traces the itinerary with conviction. The mid-section Hammond explosion is a terminal velocity highlight that begs to be heard, overpowering and sophisticated, the quality of the musicianship astounding. DeGrandis is closer to Wyatt, Marshall and Pyle on the closing, drums aglow. The final track seems only to reassure the listener that all is well in Prog land with a triumvirate of female singers that garnish the selection with some deft Sardinian folk, another undeniable trait that consecrates this as RPI and not just jazz-fusion (a tag I disagree with in this instance). A deliriously euphoric album that will keep my DFA album rating tradition intact. Ridiculously good music . 5 Taxless Mirrors
tszirmay | 5/5 |

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