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This contains most of the same material as the studio album "The First Day", but this live collection is far more satisfying. It's more balanced, with their perfectly-constructed songs follow on from each other more smoothly. Not to mention that the limp dance crossover "Darshan" is chopped down to a more tasteful length! It ends up being the definitive record of the collaboration between these arty musos.
It's topped and tailed with two atmospheric new tracks of the type that Sylvian does best, "Damage" and "The First Day" - intimate vocal performances backed with gentle electronics. The grinding metal soundscapes of the studio album have a lot more energy to them in live performance. Some of the solo rambling is also cut back and made a bit more varied, for example on "Firepower". This is helped by the subtle but rocking rhythm section of Fripp's King Crimson collaborators, Trey Gunn on bass and Pat Mastelotto on drums. Also in the set are some tracks from "Gone to Earth" on which Fripp originally played. The best of these is "Wave", where Fripp's beautifully smooth slide-guitar just sings over some remarkable chord changes.
December 5, 2003