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David Sylvian - David Sylvian & Robert Fripp: The First Day CD (album) cover


David Sylvian

Crossover Prog

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5 stars The First Day is a true masterpiece. If there is such a thing as a "perfect record", this album definitely belongs to it. The First Day is a collaboration between David Sylvian and Robert Fripp featuring a would-be KC-member Trey Gunn on bass. Sylvian's voice and quirky guitar and Fripp's playing are the perfect match. It is quite difficult to single out any song because all of them are very good. However, Firepower in my opinion is the best with Sylvian's lyrics and mind-blowing Fripp's solo. My other favourites are Darshan (Road to Graceland), God's Monkey and Bringing Down the Light which is a beautiful purely Frippertronics/Soundscapes piece. If you like it, you must buy Damage as well, which is a live version of this album and equally excellent.
Report this review (#33193)
Posted Monday, November 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars An indication what King Crimson could sound like if Sir Bob would employ a first class vocalist (sorry Adrian) with exceptional composition skills atop... The music is somewhat easier to grasp than recent KC releases but in some way also deeper and far more emotional. Fripp gets plenty of space to unleash some great solos and build vast soundscapes, while Gunn and Marotta provide a solid and moving backbeat. Sylvian's voice throughout is a joy to behold, as one would expect. There is not much in the way of odd time signatures or chord changes, which pushes the music on this album more towards heavy funk or funky heavy metal if you will, culminating in the superb 'Darshan': if there ever was a crossover track between dance music and prog then this 18 minute workout is it - o yes, prog you can dance to! Essential for all KC and Sylvian fans, and for everyone who likes to shake a leg now and then while at the same time listening to intelligent music. Who knows, even the wife might like this one. (Close to a five star rating really!)
Report this review (#40751)
Posted Thursday, July 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars two genius together, what do you expect from them? A great record obviously! it's a really pity that it's the only studio album by Sylvian-Fripp(perhaps for the terrible character of Fripp?!) because maybe some other big things shall be happened! Reccomended for all the people who likes music pop, rock, experimental or something like this.. Thanks again friends ! Five Stars & more!
Report this review (#44427)
Posted Saturday, August 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a good album, not a great one. If you want to hear a great one, check out the live album Damage. Fripp, Sylvian along with Crimson members Trey Gunn and drummer extradinaire Pat Mastelleto along with loop meister Michael Brook do these songs the way they should be done. It's astounding and as far above this album as can be imagined.
Report this review (#46788)
Posted Thursday, September 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars A complex record, standing in the fine line in-between prog and true art-rock-avant-garde, a son of the early nineties but without an obvious link to the eighties... i mean a jewel in the sand, large passages, a lot of mood, the magnificent pressence of Mr. Fripp, strange sounds, distorted ideas... phew, a lot of things to be explained but better heard. The record of course has the vocal imprint of his master creator, that strange and solid musical vision, but enlarged by the mind-driven textures of Fripp.

A feast, starting with GOD'S MONKEY a retro-pop/rock approach with mixed harmonies, delightful, followed by the BOWIEish JEAN THE BIRDMAN, with a lot of guitar attack, and what to say about FIREPOWER, wow!!! a great cut of "standards" using some certain jam idea from the middle on... from here, BRIGHTNESS FALLS and 20TH CENTURY DREAMING evokes the previous song structures with magnificent texture work, begging for more, leaving the cherry of the pie to DARSHAN, a 17 plus minute song of rhythm and soul, with some funk approaches and outstanding theatricallity, finishing with the most beautiful ENOish ambient song BRINGING DOWN THE LIGHT. In a few words, a magic journey from start to end, a great excersise of music creation and ego collaboration. peace

Report this review (#63813)
Posted Sunday, January 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. I love the cover with these two very talented guys... laughing. What a combination though, the master guitarist Robert Fripp and the singer song writer with the low ranged vocals David Sylvian. Trey Gunn the present KING CRIMSON bass player adds his talents here as well.

The record opens with "God's Monkey" that features some cool percussion and some great Frippian guitar melodies. David's vocals aren't as deep and warm as in some of his solo records,maybe because these songs are more uptempo he's singing in a different range. "Jean The Birdman" is an example of this, a catchy song with fast paced vocals. "Firepower" is my favourite song here, it's a lot heavier, and the guitar is more upfront. The vocals are processed and the guitar melodies are beautiful. "Brightness Falls" has some good riffs and a Frippian guitar solo 2 minutes in and later on as well.

"20th Century Dreaming" has Fripp playing some unique guitar lines and about the last 8 minutes or so we have a spacey atmosphere with drums creating a hypnotic beat. "Darshan" has this dance like beat throughout thanks to the percussion, while Fripp is playing his melodies and David is just saying "darshan" for about the first five minutes until adding more lyrics to the beat after that. This is over 17 minutes long. "Bringing Down The Light" is Mr.Fripp doing his Frippian spacey soundscapes for 8 1/2 minutes.

This is a good album that is worth checking out. My only minor complaint is on the longer songs that just play the same beat and melody far too long, it reminds me of some of the psychedelic bands that jam on and on, only not nearly as good.

Report this review (#101362)
Posted Friday, December 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars King Crimson in ambient mode?

Having known David Sylvian's musical roots were in glam rock kind of music, I was actually not interested at all with his solo albums. But with glamorous line-up this album offers, featuring prog heads like Robert Fripp, Trey Gunn and drummer whom usually supported Peter Gabriel solo, Jerry Marota, who is not interested? That's why I gave it a try with listening to this album. Robert Fripp is vary famous with his ambient approach in music. This is very clear through his contribution on King Crimson's "Three of A Perfect Pair" album where he played his guitar so smooth and it sounded like a keyboard.

This album kicks off with a funky music "God's Monkey" (4:58) with some ambient flavors. My memory brings me back to the days when in early 80s new wave dominated music industry, there was an artist name called JOHNY WARMAN. Any of you know him? I got two albums of him and his music could be categorized as prog new wave because basically the root is new wave but the approach is totally prog. I like his two albums. Famous musicians like John Giblin, Jerry Marota contributed to the albums as well. This "The First Day" album in a way is pretty similar with that album but it's lighter. The plus point here is that I can hear the guitar solo by Robert Fripp like in King Crimson. The third track "Firepower" proves to be a perfect mix of King Crimson and prog new wave like those Johny Warman's albums in the early 80's. Yes, the rhythm section sounds boring (maybe?) because it contains repetitive chords but . the guitar solo by Fripp is something that I do really enjoy. This track is quite long but I like the guitar solo ala Robert Fripp.

"20th Century Dreaming (A Shaman's Song)" (11:50) is definitely a King Crimson track with upbeat opening part containing drum, Crimson-like guitar work followed with vocal line. Yeah, this is it man ..!!! If you love King Crimson (Discipline album onwards) definitely you would love this track to the bone! The distorted guitar solo by Robert Fripp (and Trey Gunn?) is truly stunning. Don't miss this track! In fact, I personally believe that this track plus "Firepower" are the best from this album. Both of them are excellent! You may want to observe how the guitar solo is performed at minute 3:00 onwards . wow man .!!! I love it!

Overall, I would say that this album has a very good composition. Melody is not the main thing here but the appearance of guitar solo accompanied with repetitive chords in relatively long duration is the main characteristic of this album. By the way, the vocal quality is also excellent. Yes, absolutely there are two outstanding tracks like I mention above, but in total score this album fall under three (3) stars category. It's recommended for King Crimson fans and those who love ambient music. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#132879)
Posted Sunday, August 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars David Sylvian is co-founder of synthy-pop band Japan in past. So he wasn't very interesting for me by himself, but that album is recorded with collaboration with Robert Fripp and would-be King Crimson member Trey Gunn. So, I purchased it. And I am happy with that!

For sure, the music on the album is different from King Crimson, or Japan ( band) music. It is unusual mix of electronics, ambient, Fripp heavy guitar and Trey Gunn's cold pulsation. Both together it sounds a bit similar to Eno-Byrn "My Life In the Bush of Ghosts" album ( especially on "God's Monkey"). In moments sound is similar to Bowie Berlin trilogy. Any way, they use some african rhythmics and unusual bass pulsation.

Sylvian voice isn't strong or specific, but ( as in case with Bowie) sounds good in combination with that kind of music. There are plenty of Fripp guitar,Gunn bass and Sylvian ambient keyboards. Songs are different and quite energetic. So, listening is really pleasant and interesting.

Report this review (#248354)
Posted Friday, November 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "The First Day" is the debut collaborative full-length studio album by UK experimental pop/rock artists David Sylvian (Japan and solo) and Robert Fripp (King Crimson). The album was released through Virgin Records in July 1993.

The music on the album mix David Sylvian´s experimental, atmosperic and ambient pop/rock with Robert Fripp´s experimental guitar playing and on paper that sounds pretty intriguing. Some parts of the album fully meet my expectations while other parts of the album don´t impress me much. The first 5 tracks are decent experimental pop/rock songs with both rock styled and more ambient sections. I´m actually reminded a bit of the most rock styled songs on the nineties albums by Depeche Mode. The guitar playing is much more experimental than Martin Gore´s ditto though and gives the album it´s progressive sound. After a good opening to the album the last two tracks unfortunately drag the album down considerably. The 17:17 minute long "Darshan" is extremely repetitive and to my ears quite a drag. While it´s a bit more enjoyable and pleasant than "Darshan", the 8:31 minutes long and ambient "Bringing Down the Light" doesn´t offer much of interest to me either. I usually enjoy David Sylvian´s pleasant and warm voice and his sophisticated delivery but while his performance here is relavitely strong it never reaches the heights of his best performances. His performance on "The First Day" lacks the intimacy that I so greatly enjoy on his best albums.

The musicianship and sound quality are generally excellent although the drums do have a distinct early nineties sound that is probably an aquired taste.

Overall I found "The First Day" to be a decent album but not much more than that. Especially the last 25 minutes of the album drag my rating down and a 3 star (60%) rating is warranted. Interesting but flawed.

Report this review (#250278)
Posted Friday, November 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars David Sylvian's pairing with Robert Fripp was a great move for his music. While Sylvian's solo albums are nice, none of the albums I've heard had any element of power to them. Here, right off of the heels of "The Construction Of Light", Fripp plays with an energy we havent heard from him since the seventies.

The songs are mostly a mix of Sylvian's rhythmic adventures and Fripp's (and Gunn's) wild soloing. Theresult is the ballsiest music you can find from Sylvian. The first five tracks are all excellent. From God's Monkey through 20th Century Dreaming we get some fine wordplay from Sylvian, some outrageous guitar work from Fripp, and cool rhythms from Gunn & drummer Jerry Marotta. My only complaint on these tracks is that Firepower, as good a song as it is, and 20th Century Dreaming meander a bit too long at the end.

The last two track are something of a letdown. Darshan, at 17 minutes, is way too long. The song itself is basically a hip-hop style rhythm, with some Frippery over the top. The lyrics are minimal, and the song goes absolutely nowhere. And Bringing Down The Light is just another track of Fripp's ambient noodling.

But five great tracks out of seven adds up to a good four star album.

Report this review (#481507)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The perfect combination of 2 original composers/performers; from different backgrounds (King Crimson; you know / /Japan; an early 80's electro-pop band) ; who had already played together, here and there; in some Sylvians´s, way out; by then, of Japan, solo projects. With Robert Fripp as invited guest solely. (David Sylvians´s Alchemy /An Index of Possibilities-1985 and David Sylvian; Gone To Earth-1986; mainly); So; Fripp only as collaborator; as he has done in 100's of projects; alongside the Crimson projects, his solo albums, and his DGM biz label participation; among other things. But the connection was made and notoriously, beyond mere musical bases. So both; like alchemy; and all the index of possibilities in language and structure; came out in 1993 with these completely original proposal for us audiophiles. Really! ; one of the best things about Robert Fripp, is his always, self-demanding creative process, to outdo and try, even in his own guitar playing approach, different outlooks, different perspectives (with not always; as rule; great; results but DARING always, at least), to which I am so fond of; in every genre, in every artist. David Sylvian, of course by the time, had setted some standards in his own musical language and genre. Both artists by their own right, have aquired a personal-musical language, and both offer the best of each, as a single entity, that will travel the route, but would not spare expenses, to try different ones along the way. Accompanying them in this endeavor; we find out an all star band- close to them and others. Trey Gunn; former Crimson member who also co-writes some songs here . Jerry Marotta: well known drummer in this prog-circle and other circles. Marc Anderson: percussions;.. David Bottrill: wiz-kid in all kinds of engineering "treatments". And close to Sylvian, back then, Ingrid Chavez: choruses/vocals, among other collaborators. Now; how all this sounds around the basically written Sylvian/Fripp compositions?.. to put it simply: Formidable;.. like told; the best of both worlds brought to one perfect result. 4.5**** PA Stars; why not 5? Just because personally; I think; "Jean the Birdman" is quiet weak; in comparisson to the rest of his sisters; as "Firepower", "Darshan","20th Century Dreaming (A Shaman's Song)" and "Gods´s Monkey" (great name!). Add up to that bunch; the beautiful 8 minute closing "Frippertronics" piece "Bringing Down the Light". So,besides the song mentioned above; I will think of it as "flawless"; but then; that is me!;....... Climb the ladder, Gods´s monkey!....4.5-near to perfect PA-Stars.
Report this review (#974618)
Posted Sunday, June 9, 2013 | Review Permalink

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