Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
David Sylvian - Damage - Live (with Robert Fripp) CD (album) cover


David Sylvian

Crossover Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
5 stars I'm astonished not to find any review of Damage because I think it goes further in achievement than The First Day, which I would give "only" 4 stars. Jean the Birdman is the only tune from the studio album not present here, but The First Day, which silently closes Damage, is not on the eponymous CD. Damage also includes some of the most beautiful songs by Sylvian, whose singing is at its best here. For a live album, the songs are mostly shorter than in studio, but tenser, whether calm or violent. The guitar of Michael Brooks is "infinitely" welcomed (he played support act in Paris and probably during this tour (?). Fripp's sounds are deliciously all-pervading, sharp and shrilling. The whole CD reflects very well the extraordinary atmosphere of the November 1993 Paris concert. The audience was all ears and intense. Try to get the black and silver box edition containing a golden CD and 2 booklets. Five of a perfect duo. P.S. for all collaborators: Who will write reviews about Ame Son (some 30 years ago, I used to own an LP called Catalyse of this French band; Third Ear Band (I remember they did Polansky's Macbeth soundtrack); Incredible String Band; Kraftwerk; Go (Yamashta- Winwood-Shrieve)...
Report this review (#33194)
Posted Sunday, February 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Dan Bobrowski
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars DAVID SYLVIAN Damage - Live (with Robert Fripp)

The heading is a misnomer. This is not simply a David Sylvian album, NO, it's much much more. You get enough Robert Fripp, Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto to give the impression that something more is going on. I love Sylvian's solo albums, but this collaboration is distinctive and powerful, eschewing his mainly ambient melancholy for cKrimsonian might and crashing bravado. Oh, how I wish this had been a King Crimson reformation. Three or four studio discs, a live disc and then quit. OUT with Adrian Belew's poppy and oh- so-American vocals and IN with the master of suave, sexual and languid whispers of David Sylvian. Additionally, Michael Brook's infinite guitar is the perfect understatement to Fripp buzz saw sustain. Musically delicious.

Most of the disc offers The First Day in a live format, but the tunes are more enticing and raw played before an audience. The mood seems electric, pulsing with Mastelotto's kick drum. Trey Gunn's touch guitar keeps the whole endeavour grounded, but he occassionaly reaches skyward and offers snippets of melody and fills the spaces with a deft flurry of notes. The band covers a few of Sylvian's solo material, but remember, Fripp has guested on quite a few. His presence is more central to the music on this recording.

This is, basically, a must have for any Crimson/Sylvian afficionado. Modern music played extremely well and hitting on all cylinders. It don't get any better than this.

Report this review (#33195)
Posted Friday, March 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Why is this worth a 5 star rating. I´ve had it since day 1, and still I put in on very often. Its the essence of Sylvian combined with the wildness of Fripp It keeps the slowness - sleepy feeling of the Sylvian/Japan moods but it still reveels the "shiva" the "beast" off fripp.

If you allready know "GONE TO EARTH" where they, as far as I know make there first recordings together, you will expect something special And they meet your expectations 110%.

Its soft, its hard, its beautifull. Adding Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto just makes it even better.

I love KING CRIMSON, but i can play this more often, its just fantastic. !

Report this review (#33196)
Posted Thursday, April 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars David Sylvian has such a beautifull voice, that you want to sing with him every word. I hate sound of his guitar. It is really dull, with some kind of »dry torsion«, if I visualized it good enough! With first song, he really shows how perfect his voice is. It makes me not to care what is in background, his voice is enough. Similair feeling I got while listening No-Man's singer, Tim Bowness. Second tune is still good, with brilliant Robert Fripp making soundscapes, and more than heaven-like solo. Brightness Falls goes grunge, it is fine but... Drummer is boring to me here! Bill Bruford would turn this song in masterpiece. Again Fripp gives colour to this song. Every Colour You Are is such an excellent and inspirative song. It has wonderfull melody, both guitars are fine here, and even drumer is effective. Vocals are emotional, and interact good with guitars. Firepower is chaotic song, with some grunge and funky elements, but than again, where it looks like it has nowhere to go forward, Robert Fripp saves it, and makes it better. A Shaman Song is the same thing; at this point this album goes boring to me... Wave is an easy song with most guitars played by Robert, and good singing of David. Riverman is another good song, here I begin to feel that David's guitar is only good at making background effects, and not as a leading instrument. Darshan is horrible, long lasting jam that goes nowhere, my least favourite track. Blinding Light of Heaven is good rock track, but I feel that interaction between drums and guitars fails everywhere on album. Drumkit sounds not so fine to me. And the last song is where David shows how words from his mouth sound: beautifull! P.S: Is it Mastelotto playing drums?! Well, I dont like him here, but an extraordinary drumer.
Report this review (#129037)
Posted Tuesday, July 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a very gifted and fruitful combination of musicians and there is one firm, unfaltering fact, Robert Fripp can spot talent and fine musical chemistry a light year away. Fripp is always at the top of his form; his playing is impossible to mistake. Trey Gunn is so solid in his performance on the stick; together with Pat Mastelotto's incredible percussion, the whole musical experience has a powerful and rich rhythm and bass foundation, and a whole lot more. Michael Brook, the father of one of the incarnations of the infinite guitar plays like he was born with it in his arms. David Sylvian's performance is just an unqualified great!

This is undoubtedly a solid progressive rock masterpiece. The lyric style of David Sylvian is in no way trite or aimless. Admittedly, it's not a fast turn-on for most; more like an acquired taste. But once you're hooked, that's it; much as single malt Scotch whiskey and many of the other finer things. Since the lyrics are likely to be a lightening rod for controversy, it's worth briefly exploring the question: What are good lyrics? I can't really say, but I know'em when I hear'em. Nevertheless, it can be said that some songs can stand on their own as poetry; they provoke thoughts and emotion in unique and moving ways. Ballads tell stories that are easy to relate to by virtue of the immediacy or direct manner in which they can be interpreted. Others are more abstract, but not automatically of less value. Examples are word associations, like Crimson's ".ice cream, cigarettes, Brylcreem, Cadillac.", and word chains like " floor wax museum."; even repetition of the same phrase or words or with different vocal inflections can form impressions that evoke emotional responses. On the whole, a song is greater than the sum of the prose, music, and performance. Judging lyrics isolated from the other two would definitely be a mistake.

David Sylvian is a special vocalist and writer. His words are impressionistic yet descriptive, specific about feelings and yet somewhat obscured. This collection of lyrics should be looked upon as nothing less than phrased as a dream that's hard to wake from. His singing style is distinctive; with a strong use of vibrato, it could be said to be his trade mark. Like a seed from the distant past that survived a long trip through time, then planted among this fertile musical talent, germinated here in the present. Sylvian's style is neither dark, nor cheerful and bright. It is in control, mellow, but naked and raw. It's a perfect fit to the ambiance of Damage, created by a uniquely stellar group of musicians. It's been said that Damage brings forth reminiscences of King Crimson, and why shouldn't it. This is a stunningly remarkable musical treat. One should note that this a live recording, but the enthusiasm of the remarkably well-behaved audience only confirms the opening statement and in no-way distracts from the performance. - so says God's Monkey. Dig it!

Report this review (#141087)
Posted Saturday, September 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wouldn't it figure that a CD ordered by mail called Damage would arrive with a crack in it's case?

Anyway, the band for this concert is basically modern King Crimson (Fripp, Gunn, and Mastoletto) without Belew. With Michael Brook (worked with Jon Hassel and Brian Eno) thrown in for good measure playing "Infinite guitar". If you don't like Belew's style of vocals (I do, waatari ney, dude), David's vocal style might be just the thing you're looking for.

My first encounter with Sylvian was The First Day (also with Fripp, Gunn, and Marotta). This came out the same year and shares five of tunes on that studio album. The live versions are most certainly a little livelier than the studio ones.

I have to say the other David Sylvian albums I've tried just aren't quite as enjoyable, but they'll stay in my collection. This one's the best I've tried.

Report this review (#171979)
Posted Thursday, May 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Very interesting album. Robert Fripp, Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto ( let say KC trio) collaborated with David Sylvian and Michael Brook!

In fact, it is alternative King Crimson version with Sylvian on vocal and rich in dark ambient synthesizer sound. This live album mainly contains songs from previous studio album "The First Days", in which Fripp and Gunn participated as well.

But this live version is more energetic, with longer solos, much more interesting album.

Again, if Fripp and Gunn guitars sound in moments remind you KC music, deep electronic sounds from Sylvian synthesizers, slow rhythm , soft drums and total "teasing" sound is really different from any KC version.

Music is not only interesting, but and really good. Some songs are more "Sylvianish", with slow tempo and some Bowie intonations. Another are more Crimsonian, driven by Fripp guitar with Gunn-Mastelotto characteristic rhythm section.

Strongly recommended to all KC fans ,Fripp fans, Trey Gunn fans and everyone,who is interested in most original of progressive rock from 90-s.

Report this review (#248368)
Posted Friday, November 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars I guess you could call this a stepping stone to KING CRIMSON's comeback album ("Thrak") released 2 years after this.The trio of Fripp, Mastelotto and Gunn who play on this live album would be the core of that "Thrak" record, but instead of Sylvian on vocals we would get Belew. While I think this ("Damage") a really good album I do find it frustrating because there are some killer tracks on here but also songs I just don't like, making this a mixed bag for me.This was recorded live in London, England in December of 1993.

"God's Monkey" is a song I didn't like from the studio album ("The First Day") and it's not much better here except for the atmosphere and guitar after 5 minutes. "Brightness Falls" is also one I dislike until it settles after 4 minutes with atmosphere. "Every Color You Are" is a great sounding tune. It's dark as a beat with reserved vocals comes in. "Jean The Birdman" is catchy with some energy. It's okay. "Firepower" sounds best when the vocals stop around 3 minutes. Love the atmosphere and guitar.

"Damage" opens with atmosphere and laid back keys as fragile vocals join in. It reminds me of NO-MAN. "Gone To Earth" kicks in with vocals right away. "20th Century Dreaming (A Shaman's Song)" sounds really good when the vocals stop before 3 minutes, but even when they return I really like the rest of the song. "Wave" has a relaxing beat as guitar then vocals join in. A good tune. "Riverman" is another highlight for me. It's laid back with vocals. "Blinding Light Of Heaven" is catchy and it kicks in pretty good. "The First Day" is a cool song with atmosphere and reserved vocals.

This is an album that KING CRIMSON fans should really check out. Most like this one a lot. I wish I was as enthusiastic.

Report this review (#433918)
Posted Thursday, April 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars You would think that by paring down the songs, playing them with a live ferocity, and trading Rick Marotta (the Ringo Starr of the prog world) with Pat Mastelotto, and adding Michael Brook, you would greatly improve the quality over the studio version. Well, yes and no.

The songs did sound better live. Robert. Fripp really did seem to be enjoying this group (that's possibly why Fripp, Trey Gunn and Mastelotto joined Adrian Belew to form the next King Crimson a few years later). And without the too long endings, the songs are more enjoyable.

The reason I give this album the same rating as the studio album is first, Mastelotto appears to be hanging back throughout the album. We know he could play more adventurous beats. Perhaps he didn't want to show up Marotta. Second, the mix is disappointing. Trey Gunn in particular gets buried most of the time. As a bass player, and a fan of Gunn, it brings the album down.

But still, Fripp plays some wild Frippery here, and even the hip-hop styled Darshan is made listenable.

Report this review (#486001)
Posted Monday, July 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars It dawned on David Sylvian (Japan) and Robert Fripp (King Crimson) that a creative partnership might be nice: 1993's excellent "The First Day" was the fruit. Putting together a high-quality touring band, they went on the road and "Damage" tells the tale. As well as live treatments of a big chunk of the studio album, several songs from Sylvian's "Gone To Earth" are included (Fripp collaborated on that under-rated 1986 album too). There is even a song from the (also under-rated) almost-Japan "Rain Tree Crow" (1991). Throughout, the musical energy ebbs and flows around Sylvian's languid voice; guitar textures are woven by Fripp and Michael Brook, while the rhythm section of Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto are limber and powerful (Fripp would work with them extensively in the later KC ProjeKcts). Despite the aching melancholy that characterises much of Sylvian's singing, this is not a grey album at all, more a day of many seasons.
Report this review (#965208)
Posted Saturday, May 25, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars The label Eclectic-Prog suits perfectly. Now that I am getting aquainted with the tag; and the recent music bands which turn out to be under this genre. By chance. Anyway this introduction serves the purpose to distance this David Sylvian effort as merely "crossover" in its strict sense. Even better/worse; the other guy (Robert Fripp) simply cannot be tagged down. Considering his vast amount of collaborations with any kind of bands; known and not; prog and not. At least 100 other than Crimson & solo projects. I follow the guy closely; I have to admit! This is one of the best live collaborations (dates) among these guys. Accompanied by close to both musicians (Trey Gunn, Pat Matellotto). Most!.. underline most;.. not all of course; front-men/women vocalist in this style of music (with all its sub-cats) and in general; suffer of what I call "The "Dylan- Syndrome" they get this weird idea that just because they sing in a band whatever f...k they sing is relevant to audiences and the rest of the world. Well Dylan did; and had an ugly by divine intervention "my thoughts are poetry because I AM the singer!!!of a Prog/Rock/?/band.!!!"...Not David Sylvian (founder of the 80´s proto-prog band "Japan" and apparently "early unclaimed Eclectic-Prog pioneer").. Styles come and go but; when you have nurtered, your naturally born wisdom with words; beyond music academies, more with real life "academies"; raw, dirty, real life! (like Dylan did, actually), you discover and construct your own-language, your mean of expression, and poetry, like Mr. Sylvian does, pure and deep poetry. There are things that simply cannot be taught at school; any school.... A great combination between already written songs ("The First Day" with Fripp) some personal prior "solo" work songs, some from earlier collaborations also with Fripp "Gone to Earth"; and the unmistakable- "Frippertronics" here and there. ..But above all; and best if you like surprises; when required Fripp shows a Hard/Rock guitar approach (like in the studio effort.) he normally does not show (opposite to the Crimson Metal one and his "normal" one). What makes also; this work very relevant; is the perfectly woven "live" performance of great and real intelligent songs. So Eclectic-Prog followers you should ALSO, appreciate this work, I guess. I did entirely! Just because, the whole thing is a perfect combination of songs played amazingly up-front "live"in a ****4.5 "my kind" of live album-Stars............. Every Colour You Are!
Report this review (#974619)
Posted Sunday, June 9, 2013 | Review Permalink

DAVID SYLVIAN Damage - Live (with Robert Fripp) ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of DAVID SYLVIAN Damage - Live (with Robert Fripp)

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives