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Escher 10:08 Caleidoscopio 9:16 Trip On Metro 6:36 La Via 15:25 Pantera 8:10 Ragno 11:12 Line-up: Alberto De Grandia - drums, vocals Alberto Bonomi - keyboards vocals Silvio Minello - guitars Luca Baldassari - bass All compositions written by De Grandia & Bonomi, except: 3 (by De Grandia) & 5 (by Bonomi). Recorded live by Mike Potter, Orion Sound Studios Mobile on June 17 during NEARFest 2000 (USA). Mixed and remastered by Giampaolo Righetti at "Tobacco Road Studio", Italy, in April / May 2001.
Prologue. The first promo package Leonardo Pavcovic at NYC's "MoonJune Records" sent me contained the album by a band I have never heard before. The only significant, in my view, detail I've found in DFA's first live album digipack is that "Work In Progress" contains the tracks from both studio albums this young Italian outfit had time to release (on their native label "Mellow").
The Album. First of all, it must be said that a lot of contemporary progressive bands don't play live at all. So while I appreciate all the bands of our genre that manage to do live shows, DFA's live performance is just great by all means. In fact, "Work In Progress" consists of three slightly different among themselves parts that, probably, represent all sides of the band's highly original and complex music. Two of the tracks - Caleidoscopio and La Via - feature vocal parts, though, there are just a few of them there. All the other tracks are purely instrumental, though one of them - Escher - musically differs from all the album's compositions in general. DFA have, probably, decided to open their show on NEARFest-2000 with not too complex a piece so as not to intoxicate the audience with cascades (waterfalls!) of complex and intricate musical puzzles that all the following compositions are filled with (it's impossible to comprehend this music wholly on the first listen). Back to the three parts that I mentioned above, while the opening instrumental Escher sounds in the spirit of the symphonic 'branch' of Progressive's contemporary Space-Rock sub-genre, all the other tracks on the album, including both those with some vocals, represent a blend of Classic Symphonic Progressive and Jazz-Fusion (in the 'progressive' meaning of the term) with just a few yet more than noticeable heavy-weight 'makeweights' from the third 'progressive whale' Prog-Metal. Both La Via and Caleidoscopio differ from three instrumentals Trip On Metro, Pantera, and Ragno only because of the presence of a few vocal parts in each of them, while the instrumental palettes of all these five compositions are of a complex yet united, DFA's very own stylistic conception. Compositionally, such structural constructions of the works as DFA use are, on the whole, typical for serious, profound artists of the genre. Each track on the album, beginning with the second, is complete with a wide-variety of progressive ingredients or, to put it differently, these young Italians have a full arsenal of them, ready for each composition. So prepare yourself to seemingly endless changes of themes, moods, tempos, time signatures, tonal and atonal moves, long and short, but always enjoyable and virtuosic solos from the keyboard, guitar and bass players and interplays between them, bombastic and slightly mellow arrangements, etc, over and over. Of course, a wonderful work by the chef in the kitchen with all those dishes-plates-cymbals and all amazingly diverse dishes prepared by him with a scorching drumfire are in the same picture. And an overall picture of the "Work In Progress" live album by DFA is more than impressive.
Summary. It could have a very simple conclusion - about the masterpiece "Work In Progress" - if only the contents of the first track didn't eat a half of my rating star. As you noticed, I have nothing to do with the factual process of rating the albums I review on the site. I just put in the rating all the stars that remain after the album entity's own parasitic elements (if it has ones, though it can happen to anyone) have devoured some of them.
VM. August 11, 2001
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