Personnel: David Sylvian (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Trey Gunn (vocals, Chapman stick); Ingrid Chavez (vocals); Robert Fripp (guitar, Frippertronics); Jerry Marotta (drums, percussion); Marc Anderson (percussion); David Bottrill (programming).
Recorded at Dreamland Studios, Woodstock, New York and Kingsway Studios, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Personnel: David Sylvian (vocals, guitar, keyboards, tapes); Robert Fripp (guitar); Ingrid Chavez, Trey Gunn (vocals); Jerry Marotta (drums, percussion); Marc Anderson (percussion); David Bottrill (programming).
Audio Mixers: David Bottrill; David Sylvian.
Recording information: Dreamland Studios, Woodstock, NY; Kingsway Studios, New Orleans.
Photographer: Kevin Westenberg.
The pooling of Sylvian's silken vocals--not to mention his multi-instrumental talents--with the fiery dexterity of Fripp gave all indications of a marriage made in progressive heaven. THE FIRST DAY takes some time to gel, but it's worth the wait. Fripp lays down some of his most scorching licks in ages, running through a broad synopsis of his guitar phrasings--burning RED-era blast-offs, contrapuntal DISCIPLINE-era inclinations, and stormy tides of distortion, tension, and release--sometimes all in the space of a single track (witness the 17-minute progressive funk of "Darshan").
Furthermore, Sylvian and Fripp chose to cover a wide range of styles--from the aforementioned "Darshan" to intergalactic space music ("Bringing Down the Light") and aggressive, Rain Tree Crow-inspired exotic-pop ("God's Monkey"). Supporting the dynamics of the duo are drummer Jerry Marotta, doing his best Bruford imitation, filling vacant holes within the sonic perimeter and spinning out diametrically opposed time signatures at will; stick bassist Trey Gunn, providing a solid, if cushiony, bottom end; and synth programmer David Bottrill. THE FIRST DAY could very well take its place amongst Sylvian and Fripp's best work, and, like a fine wine, the album only improves with age.
Rolling Stone (11/25/93, p.114) - 3.5 Stars - Good Plus - "...There's a place where art rock becomes effortless and not pretentious, and David Sylvian and Robert Fripp seem to have located it on THE FIRST DAY..."
Alternative Press (11/93, p.85) - "...[THE FIRST DAY] is the best work either of these two outstanding artists have done in years..."
Down Beat (1/94, p.43) - 4 1/2 Stars - Very Good Plus - "...THE FIRST DAY rocks hard and mean, offering sustained Fripp lead guitar in a context rarely heard since the mid-'70s King Crimson incarnation...the most successful use of dance music Fripp or Sylvian has achieved...."