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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 July 2011
On the first day God created heaven and earth. What he did not create, so far as I know, is this fantastic collection of blues-rock-funk fusion tracks, courtesy of David Sylvian, Robert Fripp, and their team. (I should point out that I came to this album as a David Sylvian fan.)

Many of the tracks here open as brash, syncopated rockers, with guitars like rhythmic static. But then often the mood over time subtlety changes and new vistas open out. For here we have music hidden within an outer shell. The shell is the hard rock edge, whose lyrics no longer possess as much the literary or aesthetic merit of Sylvian's previous works; instead he sings now of more direct and down-to-earth matters, less suggestive of deeper realities. Those inner realities instead are made manifest - as far as they can be made manifest - within the track's inner instrumental workings, the composition of which develop in a fully-confident way the collaborative work learned by Sylvian from his mentor, Holger Czukay.

Take track three, `Firepower': After its initial warm-up, Fripp leads with a lyrical and warping guitar line. A sudden by subtle break commences a creative weave of immense beauty, gaining depth and power through incessant rhythm and by the sustained lines of Fripp's inspired guitar work. It's a complex weft, like a silken Turkish carpet, a recognisable work of art in its own right but containing within itself a million different universes.

Or take the track five, `20th Century Dreaming': Sylvian intones, "As the river runs, tumbles and turns, you know you shouldn't stay or play the game again. But it could be different this time. You may win", words exhibiting the yearning of millions. But the music's depth conveys their subtle tension as we sink helplessly deeper and deeper into the dream.

The odd man out on this collection is the final piece, composed by Fripp. It's a reflective piece, an edifice of immense beauty, but would perhaps have been better heard in a transcription for orchestra in the meditative style of Arvo Part.

This is an astounding album. The sound quality is top-notch and the percussion especially superb throughout.
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on 2 April 2015
As a long term fan of Sylvian and Fripp, I have fond memories of the concert they played in Bologna - Italy in June 1992 when I had the lucky chance to hear the songs contained in this album live. The music follows the direction set with Gone to earth and expands it in an uptempo way. If Gone to earth is contemplative and atmospheric, The first day is dynamic and pulsating. Each song is layered with skilled musicianship and every musician is a master of its instrument. Sylvian's voice stands glowing and evocative at centre-stage. Fripp's riffs are deceptively simple and fill the air with luminous sounds. Trey Gunn is an incredible musician with an incredible instrument. Jerry Marotta stands his ground as the rhythmic support for the other musicians creative flights. My favourite songs is Jean the birdman but all songs stand the test of time. Sylvian's music has moved to a different direction in the last years, however this album is a snapshot of a particularly creative and evocative period for Sylvian. Also recommended to every Fripp's fan.
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on 15 September 2013
I chose this rating because David Sylvian's Music is always ACE to me. I would recommend this Album to everyone I know.
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on 30 January 2015
Thank you, fine record .
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on 9 June 2013
As a Sylvian fan, that was my reason for buying this, and being a bit conservative musiacally, the presence of Robert Fripp made me pause before buying. Irrationally as it turns out, as this is a fine CD and well worth listening to. The wonderfull Darshan, all 17 minutes of it, is a real pleasure as it builds to a climax, ans Twentieth Century Dreaming, which gradually fades into a twilit mist, is equally good. I love jean the Birdman, the most obviously pop song on here, and Firepower is a rave. The only track I slightly avoid, is the last one, which sounded a bit like a China Crisis instrumental, but it is an interesting end to a great piece of music. Worth buying.
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on 12 November 2014
Wonderful collaboration between Sylvian and Fripp - and the tour they did after this was superb too and is captured on Damage. The only thing missing from this excellent album was the title track - a beautiful low key piano song that appeared as the encore on the tour and can be found on the Sylvian produced version of Damage. For those who can't get enough of Darshan there was an EP remix version that would make you happy.
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on 29 October 2006
This is absolutley wonderful stuff. Much much more than the sum of it's parts. Darshan is hypnotically beautiful and although it is quite long I would be happy for it to go on much longer. Brightness falls is a classic.
Fripp wanted Sylvian to be part of a re-envisaged King Crimson but the latter was not keen to step into those shoes so this became and improvisation based band with fantastic results.
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on 17 June 2001
We can only guess what was going through David Sylvian's mind when putting The First Day together in 1993. Probably something along the lines of 'it seemed like a good idea at the time'. After all, Brilliant Trees had been innovative and compelling; Songs from the Beehive was a tear-jerking collection of wickedly incisive poems set to folksy melodies; and Gone To Earth was simply a masterpiece of mind-bending songs and beautiful instrumentals. This time round, it's as if Sylvian thought he'd get back together with Robert Fripp 'for another go' but with a harder edge. The result is some great Fripp fretwork but lacklustre songs from Sylvian that often border on the boring. All credit to Fripp, the reason Gone To Earth had been so good was because so many other musicians had contributed, including the likes of Bill Nelson. Strip them all away, and you have a raunchy but ugly mess of experimentation as Sylvian tries to warble and rattle percussion instruments along to Fripp's evil but aimless riffing.
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on 3 November 2007
Love this cd! play it loud & you'll love it too.
Jean the birdman - great guitar work!
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on 11 May 2010
Quite an unusual album , rock orientated, also a bit ambient. I like it and would recommend it
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