(All Album Reviews by davis)
It was an exciting time for birth. Let us return to the 6th month of the first year of a new century & millennium: June 17, 2000. 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. Thus begins the recording of the first NEARfest (and North American as well) performance of DFA, a progressive-fusion quartet from Verona, Italy. Not only was it their first gig in the United States, but they were generally considered the equivalent of rookie-of-the-year (at NEARfest 2000). This CD is the documentation of their performance.
Interestingly their music can, and often does, vacillate between sounding unpleasantly discordant and pleasingly mellow. If you like that affect, you’ll like this record. However, if it is like watching a soothing nature show, only to be interrupted by bursts of hectic commercials, then it can be annoying. Or perhaps you rather enjoy the chaos, only to be restless during the quieter moments. DFA deserves credit for being talented enough to pull off both sides of that coin within the same song. You just might be reading this because you’re a fan of progressive rock, so you may well prefer long songs instead of short ones. This disc has the former. They vary from the shortest, “Trip on Metro” at 6:36, to the longest, 15 minutes and 25 seconds of “La Via.”
Also, there are many bands whose lyrics are sung in languages other than English. If that’s OK with you, then you might enjoy hearing the occasional singing of Italian lyrics by drummer Alberto De Grandis and keyboardist Alberto Bonomi, while guitarist Silvio Minella and electric bassist Luca Baldassari contribute their talented musicianship, without vocals.
If any of this sounds interesting, check out their stuff. If it doesn’t, you might want to try it anyway, just to be sure.